Study Guide

A Dog's Purpose Family

By W. Bruce Cameron

Family

Whether it is a dog, a cat, or a Burmese python, a pet is part of the family. Pets appear in family photos and home movies, and they sign holiday cards with their paws (or their forked tongues dipped in ink). Welcoming a pet to the family can feel like the birth of a new sibling, and when pets die, it's a very sad occasion. You might mourn the death of a dog more than the passing of a mean uncle.

In A Dog's Purpose, one of the dog's purposes is to be an integral part of the family. For our main pooch, that can mean bringing people together and building the family from the ground up.

Questions About Family

  1. The dog is reborn multiple times to different doggy families. How is each doggy family similar or different? How does the dog relate to his furry relatives? In what ways are his relationships with human families different?
  2. What different types of families (and family drama) does the dog encounter during his life? Which families are the happiest?
  3. Why is it so important that the dog find a family for Ethan at the end?

Chew on This

The humans who treat the dog as if he's a part of the family are the ones the dog is most attached to. Dogs need families, too.

The dog helps to build multiple families during his lives. He brings Ethan and his grandparents closer together. He (as a she) helps bring Maya and Al together in marriage. And he gets Hannah and Ethan together in the end. He's quite the matchmaker.

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