I have just finished reading the most marvelous book: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Set in Seattle, it tells one family's story through narration by the dog. It was poignant and beautifully written.
Here is one paragraph that particularly appealed to me:
"To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am, I am. That is something to aspire to. When I am a person, that is how I will live my life."
My all-time favorite author, Robert Heinlein, once quoted the ancient Romans in a similar vein. Dum vivmus, vivamus -- While we live, let us live!
(All dog lovers should read this book!)