Valley News – Over Easy: Familiarity breeds with dogs
As a retired journalist, I’m always on the lookout for trends, and recently my flair for the news led me to this one: Dogs improve their game.
As I walk around, mainly in western Lebanon, I see more and more high-end dogs. Maple Street, the main pedestrian thoroughfare, is a real Easter dog parade.
I’ve always enjoyed pooches of all stripes, but dogs today are more likely to be purebred or representative of interesting combinations, such as a Pug and a Pekingese, resulting in a puginese. The other day I saw a dog so beautiful that I had to ask him. The owner told me it was a labradoodle, part Lab, part doodle. No, do that poodle, of course. I believe the genes of the lab made it user-friendly, the poodle part being sure of its beauty. The dog paused to let me stroke it, the same way royalty might shake a commoner’s hand – then walked away royally.
In my own neighborhood, I’m on good terms with a border collie, a few standard poodles, an adorable Bichon Frize, a lab or two, and an athletic mixed breed that deserves a new designation, the American Tennis Ball Retriever. I retain their names to protect their privacy.
I don’t take their friendship lightly. This is especially true for the border collie, as you can tell they are always at work, ready for action if a flock of lost sheep passes by. In the meantime, he professionally takes care of cars, squirrels and other surveillance duties. I’m glad he can give me even 30 seconds late.
The poodles spring like Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh sagas. The bichon, whom I have known since she was a puppy, keeps me in her good graces forever because I slipped her some steak tips about 10 years ago. A decade later, she’s waiting for the next serving. No one can live in a prolonged state of hope like a dog.
In my wanderings, I met an impressive Portuguese water dog and a Newfoundland who made me stop and exclaim: “Now it’s a dog! ”The American Kennel Club describes Newfies thus:“ The massive Newfoundland is a surprisingly large and powerful working dog, with heavy bones and a dignified bearing. ”His head looked larger than the dog. mine (I didn’t try to put a cap on it), which impressed me as I’m lucky to have a considerable noggin.
I also met many small dogs, such as pugs and terriers. I used to have a prejudice against diminutive races, but the bichon made me rethink my anti-little little mind.
I cannot stress enough the change from when I was young when dogs were considered essential. Strayers were not unknown and the term “mangy mutt” was common. I don’t think the City of Providence pound, RI, charged anything for one. This may have been the source of our angry beagle named Snoopy who made his way through our family and then made the mistake of going after my dad. My parents said Snoopy was sent to “the farm” which I believed even though there were few farms in Rhode Island and I can’t imagine he was well suited to farming activities.
I am not surprised that the dogs of today are held in high regard. The long months of isolation from COVID-19 have left us hungry for affection, and no one is more loyal, forgiving, and yes, loving, than a dog. They haven’t abandoned us after all of our recent misconduct, which is amazing. A dog never ghosts you. A dog will always respond to you by text.
You come home from work or the store and it’s like you’ve walked across the Sahara without bottled water or sunscreen to be with them again.
You offer a walk around the block and it’s as good as a trip to Paris, Maui, the Taj Mahal.
A ride to the landfill? No one has ever had a better idea, ever. Beethoven’s tail Ode to Joy.
There is a saying that you should try to be the man (or woman) your dog thinks you are. It’s only half. You might not know it, but a well-treated dog secretly nominates you for the Nobel Peace Prize or a MacArthur Engineering Fellowship. When the dogs in the dog park bark, they are bragging about their owners. They question each other about the wonders that we are, us humans.
Maybe I am exaggerating these good qualities. But dogs too, constantly, which makes us perfect companions.
Dan Mackie lives in western Lebanon.
He can be reached at dan.mackie @