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Talking politics during a poker game I observed that our greatest leaders, including presidents, were dog owners who had multiple pets or farm animals.


March 15, 2021

Col. Sam Harper, Dogsport Reconnaissance


All but one of us had served and that guy raised an eyebrow. Hank laughed and poked him remembering that Phil didn’t own much of anything. Phil was a little odd but always brought plenty to the table and didn’t mind losing.



We took a break to stretch and get coffee. Benny can remember every hand and he said Trump never served and didn’t own any animals. We batted that around as we filled cups and pretty much agreed that “nobody is perfect” and let it go at that.



We poured, stirred and went back to the table but the next day I did a little digging on pets owned by world leaders. Got that but couldn’t get any stats on overall pet ownership in America. I thought that would be easy but then we can’t even get a real census now so how accurate could an animal tally be?


As a former “spotter” I did notice a couple of interesting things. When I was a kid, even most city folks had pets. Must be latent instinct. Keeps us in touch with our roots and our psyche. Hold that thought because regular families produced a lot of presidents in the 1900s when we were still rural and few people went to Harvard...


Not being in touch with the earth and animals has changed us and that changes who we elect. Instead of owning a milk cow, goat, a horse for the kids or a huntin’ dog here’s what I found...



Freshwater fish are the most common pet with almost 140 million nationwide in 2018, followed by the aforementioned cats and dogs. That was a top-ranked site for reliable references. … we need that because libraries are closing faster than a barn door in a blizzard.


That site also had an interesting chart of pet ownership by ethnicity. 22% of Blacks, 27% of Asians and on the high end of animal owners, 40% of Hispanics and 61% of ‘white non-Hispanics’ as compiled in 2011. With the recent upsurge of immigrants those numbers could have changed.


Back to great leaders. I have known more than a few but in case you didn’t get to serve, here’s some you should remember.


As you walk up the steps to the building housing the U.S. Supreme Court you can see near the top there’s a row of the world's law givers. Each of them is facing the one in the middle. That is Moses and he is holding the Ten Commandments.



Then, in the courtroom on the wall, right above where the judges sit, is a display of the Ten Commandments. I also recall seeing Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings and Monuments in Washington, DC.


I should quantify that by saying it applies to the ones the rioters haven’t torn down.


James Madison, the fourth president, known as "The Father of Our Constitution" made the following statement: "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."


Another great leader was Patrick Henry. You will remember him (I hope) as a famous patriot and a Founding Father of our country. He said: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ."


Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a preacher whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777. In fact, 52 of the 55 founders of the United States Constitution were members of orthodox churches in the colonies.


You remember Thomas Jefferson…if you are lucky enough to be of an age where they taught about America. I read somewhere that Jefferson worried that the Courts would overstep their authority and instead of interpreting the law would begin making law an oligarchy...the rule of few over many.


He either had a crystal ball or 20/20 insight.


I can think of a lot of great leaders. Napoleon, Caesar, MacArthur, Eisenhower... Some of them led, some guided through religious doctrines. To a lot of people Billy Graham is right up there with The Dalai Lama.


My daughter reminded me that we have some infamous leaders in the dog world. She sent me something from Newsday that listed Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus and other “animal rights” advocates.


I like the movies and music but I wouldn’t follow them to the nearest watering hole if I was lost in the desert.

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