INSIGHTS

Man’s best friend? There ought to be a law against them

DOGS, FANCIFUL fiction notwithstanding, are not man’s best friend.

They are nothing of the kind. They will bite the hand that feeds them, tie sleeping as burglars burgle, ravagers ravage and kids toss toilet paper in the family oaks.

Dogs on a leash do not want to walk; they want to drag -and those canines that run free are a danger to all of humankind, especially widows and orphans, whom fiction also treats more favorably than most.

It has been computed that if all dogs alive today were piled on top of each other it would be a good thing. They would stretch, if pointed end to end, from just south of Waxahachie to a hermit’s shack 12.5 miles from Bora Bora. That’s assuming they’d stand still. They, of course, would do no such thing. They would sniff, snivel, growl, grovel, bay, bark, tinkle and trot. But mostly, they would mess.

Dogs make jogging across the neighbors’ yards even more dangerous than messing with the neighbors’ wives or daughters. They ruin Nikes and Adidas like the plague, and once soiled, the go-fasters will never be the same.

Dogs are a detriment to society. They force Aggies into Dog Care 101 classes when they could be studying something useful like nuclear fusion; besides, dogs probably cause cance

Dogs, which can learn to beg for food quicker than they can swallow the morsels given them, are inherently incapable of remembering the simplest commands, such as “Down,” “Stay” or “Shut Up.” While they can dig up yellow jasmine faster than a weekend gardener can plant it, dogs cannot hurry inside on a cold, rainy night even though you are shivering and turning blu

That dogs are dangerous to life and limb cannot be argued. It’s a proven fact. There are an estimated 3.9 billion dogs (not counting the strays in the alley behind your house) in the world at any given moment. But at the same time-especially if it’s around dusk -about 10 times that number of bats fly out of only one of the thousands of caverns in the world -Carlsbad. A bunch of bats beats it out of other caves, too, but the final census isn’t in on them ye

Only rarely – perhaps once among every 43.2 million persons -does someone get bitten by a bat. Few people in this world, however, have failed to escape the fangs of a snarling Fido.

Dogs are not cute. They do, however, often resemble their masters, especially those people who have pugs (ugly and wrinkled), poodles (K Mart permanents that didn’t take) and Pomeranians (old and monied). While it might be biologically impossible for one to have sired or dammed the other, the odds suggest that biologists are wrong and that more Aggies should have taken Dog Care 404. Or Anthropology 101

Common sense, Freud and the act of being human in the United States tell us that each person needs some distance between himself or herself and those around him or her. Dogs refuse to make the distinction and are happiest only when they are (a) blowing their dirty breath in your nice, clean face, (b) jumping on the last pair of nylons that your messy chest of drawers contains or (c) leaping at you, knocking the precious jug out of your hands at one minute past nine, after the hurried trip to the nearest Centennial.

On the other hand, dogs will not come within a 20-foot-pole’s distance of you after they have (a) bolted out of the yard in chase of the nearest cat or smaller dog, (b) gotten comfortable in the mud of the neighbor’s prize-winning flower bed or (c) decided that your picking up the leash means that they are going to see the vet instead of out on the banks of White Rock Lake to chase turtles.

Dogs.

There ought to be a law against them. But for thousands of voters, there could have been one passed in a session of the Legislature a year or two ago. Voters in one of Tarrant County’s legislative districts could have elected Art Brender, a temperate, God-fearing family man whose only obvious flaw is that in his youth he took up the political philosophies of The Texas Observer and never saw fit to turn them loose

As he campaigned, seeking the SPCA vote as he sought those of all others,

came to an Arlington home. The woman of the house was in the front yard, politely listening to how he was going to remold the district and the state in the tradition of Mom, the church and apple pie.

(Liberal Democrats, like dogs of fanciful fiction, most often perceive themselves as man’s best friend and only rarely while campaigning do they bring up such distasteful conservative things as food stamps, busing and -horror of political horrors -prayer in public schools.)

Brender, an attorney who is versed in the law and blessed in total recall, still shudders at that chance meeting.

“Her back was to the house,” Brender says. “But there sitting in the window was this bulldog. It was little, but big, if you get what I mean. And as I told her of the wonders that I could wrought in Austin, that dog was pushing out the screen and coming through the window

“Just as I was assuring her that I knew The Pledge of Allegiance backwards and could hum all four verses of Onward Christian Soldiers, that mean bully hit the ground running. He was, quite literally, a mean son of a bitch

What saved Brender’s leg was an inch-thick computerized printout of the registered voters he was trying to contact.

“It’s got a chunk torn out of it that’s just about the size of my skinny leg,” he said, pointing to the framed and tattered document mounted on his office wall.

What was the dog’s owner doing as Brender’s valuable voter list was being attacked and his limbs jeopardized? “She kept saying, ’Oh, Junior, Oh, Junior. Don’t go wandering off.’”

Brender, who vividly recalls seeing his mid-thirtyish life passing before his bulldog-filled eyes, says that his last thoughts were of whether he really wanted to go to Austin that badly. He did, but, unfortunately, Brender did not get to the Capitol. He was lucky, though, that he escaped the correct observation of an 18th-century French writer who observed that, “The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs.”

Alphonse de Lamartine, who died in 1869 (from neither a dog nor a bat bite), was wrong in one respect. He, like Will Rogers, never met my dogs.

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