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My military training was in spotting significant stuff so perception counts and Dr. Lee’s column on dogs as a gift from God got my attention.


December 27, 2021

Col. Sam Harper, Dogsport Reconnaissance


I “see” how unique the canine species is. Hell, I could do a 20-page dissertation on what dogs do on the field and therapy dogs for psychological healing but I’ll stand down.



Actually, I “marveled” over it (smiling because my daughter uses that word like a mantra) but it fit like old combat boots. The dog is a pretty special creature. Nothing nowhere like it. No other animal (and few people) dedicates itself to another species to the extent dogs do.


Don’t try to think around this. Already done that. I’m trained to see things from all angles, to analyze what I see and especially what I don’t see. So here’s the deal.


Dogs are born knowing why they’re here. They make us laugh. They let us show emotion and not be embarrassed. If you let them, dogs teach kids of all ages about responsibility. Example. Tell the kids to pick up their room and maybe they will. But give them the “job” of feeding the dog and the first time they forget, withhold their lunch. Let your youngster know how the dog feels to be hungry.


Kids learn by experience, not by lectures… same with dogs.


Guide dogs are intensively trained because a human life depends on it. How would you handle having responsibility for the life of someone you love? As a parent you do but wait, this isn’t just for a trip to the playground or to school. Guide dogs do it all day, every day. That is downright extraordinary!



Yeah, I know, dogs don’t worry (so they say) but then they say dogs live in the moment, that they can’t see ahead. Who are “they”? If dogs couldn’t see ahead, they’d walk off a cliff. Okay, not the best example. I’ll try again, something closer to home.


A dog might chew up your slippers without thinking about it but he sure knows he shouldn’t have done it after the fact. You know I’m right. Even before you see the evidence, he realizes when you start looking for those slippers that he might be in trouble. Or if a puppy, he’s oblivious to having done anything wrong and happily helps you find them. My old hound did that when he was a pup. I tried to keep a straight face but when he showed me where he had buried the pipe in my underwear, well, I had to laugh.


One of my buddies said his dog was so smart that he happily “found” one of the slippers he had chewed up and left in the back of the closet. The dog was so darned proud of himself, that Carl didn’t have the heart to punish him.


He’s a pretty savvy guy so he picked up the slipper and moaned and groaned over it like he was crying. The dog never bothered anything else with Carl’s scent on it.


Dogs and kids. There’s some inherent bonding going on there. Even if they are a little unsure, kids gravitate to a dog. Sure, you can pay them to feed or walk the dog but kids should learn to work for praise and love. Dogs do… Fact is, my old hound taught my nephews to not be whiny. He also taught them to howl just because it feels good… I miss the hell out of him.



One more thing... Look down, or across the room. Hopefully your best bud is snoozing at your feet or, in the easy chair he's not supposed to be in. That dog asks nothing from you but he appreciates a scratch on that one place on his back he can’t reach. The point is he will never abandon you. What does that say about people who just dump their dog at a “shelter”?


I’m just about done here so when you get up from the computer, look down at your best friend and make his day. “Good boy” will do it… He don’t ask for much. EST 2002 © Dec 2021



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