Too many of us die without knowing transcendent joy, in part because we pursue one form or another of materialism. We seek meaning in possessions, in pursuit of cosmic justice for earthly grievances, in the acquisition of power over others. but one day Death reveals that life is wasted in these cold passions, because zealotry of any kind precludes love except of the thing that is idolized.
On the other hand, dogs eat with gusto, play with exuberance, work happily when given the opportunity, surrender themselves to the wonder and the mystery of their world, and love extravagantly. Envy infects the human heart; if we envy, next we covet, and what we covet becomes the object of our all-consuming avarice. If we live without envy, with the humility and the joyful gratitude of dogs – nachos! ball! cuddle time! – we will be ready even for Death when he comes for us, content that we have made good use of the gift of life.
~ Dean Koontz
a big little life (a memoir of his Golden Retriever – very sweet and happy reading)