A Dog’s Purpose – the movie and our experience with Reincarnation

This morning, a friend sent me the trailer for the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” that’s going to be released on January 27th. I’d seen it before, but its theme of reincarnation really struck a deep chord with me this morning. Click on the video below to watch it to start off.

I first had an experience with human reincarnation during a violent storm on the North Sea off the coast of Germany in 1991, and maybe some day I’ll tell you about that. Shortly after watching the trailer, though, I came across this photo of my Kayla, and the look in her eyes made me decide to tell you about our personal experience with canine reincarnation.

Kayla looking into my soul

My belief about reincarnation is pretty simple. First, reincarnation is earned – not every soul comes back. If you have a strong spirit, and if you leave the Earth better than when you arrived, you get to come back and try to get better yet.

Like all of the dogs who have become members of my family over the past 25 years, Kayla was a rescue. How she came to me in 2000 is a long story, but what was intended to be a brief fostering of a registered wolf-hybrid from Florida became instead my first “foster fail” 🙂

Kayla and Murray
Kayla was the most completely beautiful dog, inside and out, that I’d ever met. While her bad-boy brother Kodi got most of the attention because of his postcard-husky looks, some dog-lovers noticed that special something in Kayla and got to meet her. Kayla loved everybody, and had a particular soft spot for one of her cats, Latimer.

Kayla at the Carcross cabin

When Kodi vanished in 2003, Kayla took the loss very hard. The sparkle left her eyes, and she had no real interest in doing anything. Seeing her so deeply depressed made the situation even more difficult, and I soon began the search for another husky who needed me. That’s when Monty came into our lives. He and Kayla had wonderful lives together for nearly a decade.

In 2013, 6 weeks before her 13th birthday, Kayla had to leave us. The message on one of the cards of condolences we received following Kayla’s death would hold an even more special meaning in the not-too-distant future.

Kayla's gone
Cathy and I knew that Monty needed a partner, and we began the search. It was almost a year before we saw something in the eyes of a puppy in Canmore, Alberta. It was a look that made us know that she was the puppy who wanted to adopt us, and we obliged. Soon, the puppy who we named Bella was enjoying Yukon adventures with her new family.

My dogs Bella and Monty canoeing in the Yukon

By the time she was a year old, we knew why the new puppy had looked at us the way she did. Kayla had come back to us. I can’t even describe it properly, I expect, but there was something in her eyes, as well as her behaviours, that has never stopped convincing us that Kayla’s reincarnation had happened. It’s easy to shrug this off as people’s need to fill the void left by a death, but Bella is unique, despite the fact that I’ve had many dogs die over the years.

I mentioned at the beginning that my belief is that If you have a strong spirit, and if you leave the Earth better than when you arrived, you get to come back and try to get better yet. Unfortunately for us, we believe that by the time his life on Earth ended this last time around, Monty had Life perfected, and so he won’t be coming back again. We often say that there will never be another Monty. And that makes me very sad – the world needs more Montys. He and I were deeply connected, and as he perfected his life, he made me better. Now, 10 months after Monty’s death, talking about him still often makes my eyes wet.

Monty in the White Pass
Bella continues to mature beautifully, and as Kayla did, she loves everybody, and loves life. Her comical little side-kick Tucker is her particular joy, but even our puppy-fostering that’s about to end (we have one left of the 8), as overwhelming as it was, hasn’t stopped her from being a great mommy-dog to these little souls.

So, there you have it. Will I go to see “A Dog’s Purpose”? Maybe, but given my reaction to the trailer, it won’t be in any public venue 🙂


A Dog’s Purpose – the movie and our experience with Reincarnation — 8 Comments

  1. Wonderful words and photos. Dogs are such wonderful companions. I am glad that i got to meet Monty. I hope that you can foster many more.

  2. My husband has been a longtime follower of your northern stories & photos. Former Yellowknife residents (& avid Yukon/Alaska tourists) retired to Vancouver, it’s a wonderful nostalgic way to keep in touch with our roots. Dog lovers both, he has kept me up to date on your dog fostering, for which we thank you! My mom was a civilian employee of the US army during construction of the Alaska/Alcan highway during WW2 & we recently found some of her photos from that period of her life. One of these days, (perhaps summer 2017) we will bring them to you, hopefully you can find a place for them in an archive honouring that time. Thanks for all that you do!

    • I’m really pleased that you and your husband are enjoying what I do here, Patricia. I hope that we can get together, either here or when I’m in Vancouver in May/June. I’ll pop you an email about the possibilities.