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Bailey's best friend and first owner. Lives with Bailey from age 8 to freshman in college. Also owner of Bear about 20 years later. He is a round chrarcter who is mentioned in every chapter.

First incarnation of our protagonist. He is a wild, feral dog who lives with his siblings Hungry, Sister, and Fast in the Den before being taken to a kennel by Senora.

Police officer who trained Ellie to Find, Search, and Show. He was her first handler until he retired becasue of injury.





He is the fourth and final reincarnation of our main character. He is a Black Lab who was first named Bear. However, he manages to make it back to "his boy," Ethan and is renamed Buddy

She was the owner of Toby's kennel. She is his first owner and is the first person to show him what love is. She is a flat chrarcter who only appears in the first chapter.

Third reincarnation of our protagonist. She is a German Shepherd who works with the police as a search and rescue dog.




Wife of Albert and Ellie's second owner after Jakob gets shot one day while on the job. She began as a flat character, but ened up being round.

Second incarnation of our protagonist. He is a Golden Retreiver who was born into a dog kennel, escaped, picked up on the side of the road, then rescued by Ethan's mom.

 Kind girl who lives near the Farm. Ethan's high school sweetheart, ex-girlfriend, and future wife. She is a flat round chrarcter who appears in the middle and end of the book




The story begins with Toby being born here. This is where Toby, his mom, brothers, and sister all lived as feral puppies before being rescued by Senora.


Ethan's family farm in northern Michigan where they would stay in the summer. It's home to Ethan's Grandparents and Bailey when he's away at college. It's also home to Ethan once his grandparents pass away.



Ethan's house is located in a suburban area and Bailey lived most of his life. There he has his own doghouse for when Ethan was at school.


This is where Ellie worked with Jakob and Maya and learned how to be a search and rescue dog. She spent her life here saving and comforting people.


Here Toby and his family lived with Senora until they were put down by animal control.



Toby, the feral dog, tells about his life in the Kennel with Senora, Mom, Hungry, Brother, and Fast. In this life, he learns all tha basic dog skills on how to survive.

Ellie, the German Shephard, tells about how she saved many people lives both physically and mentally. In this life, she learns all about obedience and how to be there for her owners.

This heartwarming tale of a dog and his owner is told in first person point of view from 3 different reincarnations of our Protagonist: Toby, Bailey, Ellie, and Buddy/Bear.

Point of View

Bailey, the Golden Retriever, tells about his life with Ethan both at home and on the Farm. He explains how Ethan makes him feel complete and learns the importance of family.

Buddy/Bear, the Black Lab, tells about his life as an abandoned dog who moves from house to house. In this life, he learns to fend for himself, but also what love really is.

The life of a dog seems short and sweet: Birth, life with a family, death. However, in A Dog's Purpose, a dog brakes this pattern: he lives his, dies, and to his surprise comes back again as another dog! Throughout his many lives, he learns many lessons as he tries to find one thing: His purpose.


To begin the book, our main character was found as a wild dog who was being raised by his mother in a place called The Den. After being caught by a woman, Senora, he received his first name, Toby. He is then taken to his new home, the Yard. He enjoys living there until a fighting dog, Spike, come. Senora takes good care of the animals in the Yard; however, is reported to animal control for poor living conditions. After a vicious fight with Spike, Toby is declared "Unadoptable" by animal control and is put down along with many others in his new family.


Toby was then reincarnated into a Golden Retriever who was being raised by an unnamed man. He was surprised and confused about this new life: he still had all his memories from his past life. After trying to figure out where Senora was, the little puppy found a way to escape from the unnamed man before being picked up off the side of the road by a truck driver. The truck driver went out for a drink that night, but never returned for the poor pup who suffered from heat exhaustion in his truck. As he began to think his new, short life was over, a woman saw him in the truck, broke him free, and nursed him back to health. She then took him home to her son, Ethan. He fell in love with him at first sight and decided to name him Bailey. From the day Mom rescued Bailey from almost dying of heatstroke with Ethan was 8, to the day he moved off to college, they were inseparable. Bailey helped Ethan get through hard times in life. When one of his neighbors caused an accident in which he permanently injured his leg, he got lost in the woods, his parents got a divorce, and when Hannah, his girlfriend, broke up with him, Bailey was always at his side. However, not long after Ethan left for college, Bailey's health slowly declined and Mom, Grandma, and Grandpa have no choice but to put him down.


Bailey then woke up in a familiar atmosphere yet again, but this time things felt different: he was a girl and Ethan was gone. He was reincarnated as a German Shepherd puppy and was picked by a kind police officer, Jakob, who named her Ellie. She was trained by Jakob to play a "game" called "Find Wally." Ellie didn't understand what she was doing, but it made Jakob happy which made her think of Ethan so she continued doing it. In reality, Ellie was taught to be a search and rescue dog for the local police department, and she was good at what she did. She worked with Jakob until he was wounded on the job and forced into retirement. She then worked with trainee Maya saving people until one day an accident forced Ellie into earley retirement as well. After retiring, Ellie became a therapy dog and went to schools with kids. Later in life, Ellie died and she felt as if her life of saving people had allowed her to fulfill her purpose and would be able to finally rest peacefully. "This had to be why, when I left Ethan, I was reborn as Ellie - everything that I had done, everything that I had ever learned, had been leading up to being a good dog who saved people... Now that I had fulfilled my purpose, I felt sure I was at the end, that there would be no rebirth after this, and I was at peace with that." (Cameron 255, 256)


Ellie was then shocked to see she had come back as male Black Lab. He was adopted by a woman, Wendi, who named him to bear. However, because of her landlord, she is unable to keep him and gives him up to her mother. Her mother was dating a man who was an alcoholic. He instantly hated the dog's presence in the house and released him into the middle of the woods. Bear remembers these woods and realized he was not far from the Farm. Using his past search and rescue skills, Bear was able to find the Farm and Ethan. He noticed that Ethan was different now; there was a deep feeling of sadness and regret radiating off of him. At first Ethan tried to give Bear up, but instead changed his mind and decided to keep him and name him Buddy. After getting lost one day, Buddy was able to reunite Ethan and his ex-girlfriend, Hannah. They get married and live happily together until Ethan has a stroke one day and spent his last few moments with Buddy. It is then he realizes what his purpose was. "I understood it now, why I had lived so many times. I had to learn a lot of important skills and lessons, so that when the time came I could rescue Ethan, not from the pond but from the sinking despair of his own life." (Cameron 314)




This is a reoccuring theme between our protagonist and his many owners. They all showed each other love and how powerful of a bond there is between a human and their pets.

Unconditional Love



This is showed throughout the whole book as our protagonist spent his many lives trying to find what his purpose was.

This is shown with Toby, Mother and his siblings in the Den, Bailey, Ethan, Mom, and Dad in the beginning of the book, and Ethan and Hannah at the end of the book.


Personally, I loved reading the book, "A Dog's Purpose." When I first heard about the book I thought it would be confusing to keep straight the different lives of the dog, but W. Bruce Cameron did an excellent job making it easy to follow. Camerons's writing style was both serious and humorous. It made me laugh, cry, and smile from the first to last page turn. As a lover of dogs, I was afraid of reading the book, because let's face it: the dog always dies. However, in this book even though the dog may have died in one life he was able to live again and still remember all the people from his past life that he cared about. I loved they way the author made the dog not understand what was going on at certain points such as holidays, school, and football games. It made me think about how confused my pet must be when we take her places. I enjoyed that the author added some humor by showing the cat and dog rivalry throughout the book. "Smokey strolled in, leaping languidly onto the counter. I gave him a glum look, he was a bad cat, a bad, bad cat." (Cameron 101) I'm also a fan of love stories, which was included between main characters Ethan and Hannah. As much as I loved to book, there are a few negatives about it as well. I think he could've done a better job telling what happened to Ethan that made him so depressed after Bailey died. He tells more about Hannah's life and how she got married, had children, and her husband's death, but nothing about what happened to Ethan. All he says is, "There was a sadness in the boy, a deep hurt that was new to him and far more substantial than the pain that had settled in his leg." (Cameron 301) The ending seemed to come way too fast as well; the author seemed to skip right through important events in Hannah and Ethan's lives in the last few chapters. Other than that it was a great read and I highly suggest it to any dog lover.