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Gavin Discovers the Secret to Happiness

by Albert Ramos

Illustrated by Miguel Rivero
Edited by Venerable Thubten Chodron

Sravasti Abbey

Sravasti Abbey just published its first children’s book by Albert Ramos, a long-time Dharma student practicing behind bars. The book is about a puppy named Gavin who discovers the secret to happiness through his friendship with Bodhi, a wise, older dog with a serious illness.

After they finished their snack, Gavin, Bodhi, and Julie gathered in the living room to curl up on some comfy pillows. Quinn uploaded one of Bodhi’s all-time favorite movies, The Fast and the Furriest. Bodhi couldn’t believe that Gavin had never even heard of the movie, especially since it had won the Golden Fire Hydrant award at the Academy of Doggie Awards.

While relaxing in front of the television, Gavin said, “Bodhi, I didn’t know you had cancer. You’re always so happy and look out for everyone. I would be so scared if I had cancer.” After saying this, he felt embarrassed like he wasn’t being considerate of Bodhi. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that,” he apologized.

“It’s okay; I completely understand why you’d be scared to have cancer. The chemotherapy slows me down from time to time. Also, I’m not a young pup like you anymore.”

“Do you ever get scared?” Gavin asked, “I don’t mean to be nosey but you’re my friend and I’m concerned. Plus, I look up to you.”

Bodhi shared a warm smile, “Of course I get scared. It’s normal to be scared in a situation like this. But I can’t allow my spirit or my attitude to be controlled by anything negative. We have a choice, Gavin. Our attitude is a choice we make. We are here for one another and we should help each other whether the sea is calm or a storm is gathering on the horizon. There are animals and people around the world going through far more tough times than you or I. Let’s be mindful of this.

“We have the choice to live every day like it’s the best day of the year. You may not realize it, but you are being here for me in my storm, and I am thankful to you.”