They say the world is going to the dogs.
Dogs would not bomb (or drone) everybody else into oblivion — just a little fight here and there to establish the biting order. And taxes would be nothing to fight about - just one milk bone a day contributed to the poorest dog you know. That would make you top dog in my book.
Even more important than taxes are tails. My theory is that humans are always fighting each other because they have no tails. If every human had a tail this would be a different world. Tails are indispensable for testing the wind, so to speak. Beyond that, of course, humans can’t read tails as dogs do. But how hard can it be to learn that a wagging one shows that the wagger is in a friendly mood, but a tail held sharply over the back (except the ones that grow that way) — not so much.
Besides that, dogs who wag their tails on first meeting are telling the truth — they have no intention of fighting. You can never tell about humans, no matter what they’re saying. They can say all the friendliest things in the world, and sign the most peaceable papers together, and then go out and throw bombs at everybody the next morning. When a dog wags his tail, you can trust him.
Of course, you have to make allowances for humans. They are virtually impossible to understand. What’s this about sitting for hours — literally hours — with a large white paper, folded at the middle, in front of your face? Several papers together actually, with black marks on them. Now I happen to know that Mom will use any excuse not to move a muscle, which is why I keep her busy letting me in and out and throwing my Squeaky for me. I do it for her own good. But when I have occasionally, also for her own good, tried to paw down that “paper,” she gets angry at me and that is not good, especially around suppertime.
Worse yet, sometimes she even goes and makes black marks herself on a smaller paper with a little stick. Now I like little sticks when they are called bones, but this is no bone. Mom, this is all really primitive. The big paper, the little paper with the stick — nobody does that any more.
Use your computer, for heaven’s sake.
Mom may have Windows, but I have my Window. I do not know what a dog would do without a Window. It is where I worship the Unknown, and I spend hours a day looking out of it. The view includes the Narrows and, closer yet, a field and several lawns. I get to be present for family activities, like comings and goings, cars driving up the lane, children playing - and everything is so barkable!
Nothing is more exciting than the garbage truck backing up the road and these strangers emerging to dump the contents of large trash cans from all over the neighborhood into it. It’s a ritual I never tire of, and an enduring mystery. Especially when I happen to know that Mom’s trash contains precious riches that I am never allowed to investigate. No matter how hard I try.
Life is unfair.
I do enjoy watching television with Mom occasionally. I like commercials best of all. My absolute favorite is the little dog in the Travelers’ Insurance Red Umbrella one, who constantly worries about the safety of his bone and tries to deal with it by burying it, and then putting it in the safe deposit box, whatever that is. I don’t have that problem myself. Mom has several chairs she calls “upholstered,” and you wouldn’t believe how handy they are for burying things.
Not meaty bones, I’m sorry to say (Mom doesn’t believe in meaty bones), but those milkbones I was talking about. They are very boring at first, and only get more interesting after you forget you have buried them in the back of one of those chairs for a week or two. (Mom tells me that meaty bones are even more interesting after a night or two in an upholstered chair, which is why she never gives me any.)
So life is good, but I do have one little complaint which I despair of solving permanently., and that is, my cold nose. In the winter it is like going around with an ice cube hanging off my face. It is very difficult to doze off that way. All winter I have to sleep with my nose stuck between two pillows, or into a rolled up blanket, which severely limits my options. I have been trying to get the idea across to Mom that a nose mitten would be a handy little accessory, but so far she doesn’t seem to have figured it out.
Oh well, she’s OK, as humans go. And we have managed to reach an agreement about the barking. I get to bark about 10 times and then she tells me to stop and I stop.(Often.) That way I get to look like a diligent dog without tiring myself.
I’m clever that way. Most dogs are.
So stop saying that about the world going to the dogs, as if it were a bad thing.
Instead, pray that it happens.
Maude McDaniel is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears in the Times-News on alternate Sundays.
They say the world is going to the dogs.
- Maude McDaniel - Living
- Very first memories of a very long life
July gotcha down? Maybe these will help
•In a hospital's Intensive Care Unit, patients always died in the same bed on Sunday morning, at about 11:00 a.m., regardless of their medical condition. This puzzled the doctors and some even thought it had something to do with the super natural. No one could solve the mystery as to why the deaths occurred around 11 a.m. Sunday, so a worldwide team of experts was assembled to investigate the cause of the incidents. The next Sunday morning, a few minutes before 11 a.m. all of the doctors and nurses nervously waited outside the ward to see for themselves what the terrible phenomenon was all about. Some were holding wooden crosses, prayer books, and other holy objects to ward off the evil spirits. Just when the clock struck 11, Pookie Johnson, the part-time Sunday sweeper, entered the ward and unplugged the life support system so he could use the vacuum cleaner.
Hiccup cure you may find hard to swallow
Let’s give a cheer for one of the things in the human experience that the scientific researchers haven’t fully figured out yet: how to cure hiccups! Somehow it kind of restores your faith in the world, doesn’t it?
But don’t think they haven’t tried.
She learned to laugh with relatives’ help
Sometimes there are people in our lives whom we have never credited with all the influence they had on us when we were growing up.And now it is too late to thank them personally. I am about 50 years past due on this one (or two) but maybe somehow, somewhere they will get a hint of it — and — smile. Fondly, I think..
Signs of aging and what comes with it
It’s been awhile since I last informed you of new signs of old age, and meanwhile none of us have gotten any younger. (I’m working on it, I’m working on it.) I find one of the best things I can do to stay young is to read the obituaries. It reminds you that you are still alive and there are times in one’s life when that can be a serious concern. Of course, the trick is to avoid reading the obituaries for people you know, first checking the pictures for familiar faces. But for the folks you never met, they are remarkably invigorating, especially if they were older than you are. It gives you a goal in life — and we all need goals, right?
Torn between failing in two different fields
Which do I like better, singing or writing?
That's a tough question to answer.
Singing's got it all over writing as far as when I started (at about 5 in the church choir) but writing is certainly a close second. I have somewhere a collection of poems that I wrote from about eight on and I have the feeling that they are lost for a reason! As I remember, they were pretty awful, not at all the kind of effort an aspiring writer would be proud to quote 75 years later!
Bad habits are hard to eliminate — but try
Somebody mentioned smoking on these pages recently, so I thought I'd put in my own two cents on the subject. I started smoking in college, during exam week. The problem was that I was too busy during the rest of the year ever to stop and study for my courses — at least that is what I told myself — because I worked almost every night on the college newspaper. So when exam time kicked in, I threw some all-nighters for study. And the best way to stay awake all night (especially if you don't regularly smoke) is to, well, smoke.
Trivial questions you don’t have to answer
Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.
Rusty writes about the nature of doghood
I am a dog.
Therefore I bark.
I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?
Free-range reminiscing and occasional nostalgia
When I was in grade school, (many more years ago than when either of you were in grade school) my daily winter (fall, spring) routine included walking to school across a railroad track.
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