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What would Charlie and Rufus have said if they’d written a book?

His name was Charlie. Before him was Rufus. They were blond cocker spaniels.
I’ve been wondering about them: What they would have said if they had written their own books.
Yes, I know, dogs can’t write books. But a dog named Bailey did, at least through the mind of his human friend, W. Bruce Cameron. The name of Bailey’s book is A Dog’s Purpose.
“A Dog’s Purpose is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives,” a blurb on the book says. “More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?”
Well, I can tell you why Charlie and Rufus were here. They were here to make us laugh, to make us feel better when we’d had a bad day, to provide entertainment for friends and neighbors, to protect us. The protection part was way down on the list, but both of them knew how to bark when they sensed danger.
Charlie and Rufus were alike in many ways. They were both a bit ditsy. One day, Rufus rolled over for a belly-scratching session and tumbled right off a wall to the driveway three feet below. Unlike cats, dogs don’t always land on their feet.
Rufus was prone to seizures and took medicine by mouth every day to prevent them — except on the occasion when he surreptitiously hid the pill under his tongue and spit it out later.
Charlie barked at rocks. Don’t ask me why. He just didn’t like some rocks. But he loved tennis balls, and he would run as fast as he could, apparently racing an imaginary opponent, trying to capture a thrown ball. During one chase, he sailed off a six-foot-high embankment and threw his back out. He was laid up for days.
“But I don’t regret any stupid things I did,” he would have said in his book.
Rufus probably had one regret. It was the time he chased a goose that had invaded his territory, and the bird bit him on the nose. But other than that — and perhaps the time he attacked a fish hook — he had no regrets. Dogs are like that. They live and they don’t look back.
So what would Charlie and Rufus have said to us human beings?
First, they would’ve encouraged us to lighten up and enjoy life. We all make mistakes, but we don’t honor our Maker by wallowing in guilt. If you mess up, put your tail between your legs and ask for forgiveness. And then go on with your head high.
Be loyal to your friends. You don’t have to use words. Just be there when someone needs a pal.
Do not judge. You don’t know what others have been through.
Finally, serve others. It may be in small ways, but each of us can serve. And that, dear human beings, is the purpose of life.

Phil Hudgins’ column is published in many newspapers around the Southeast.