Monday, October 13, 2008


The world of dogs has always been politically charged. There is competition in the ring and every step it takes to get there. As a result, dog lovers are not strangers to controversy and speculation.

Although most dog lovers hope national events don’t impact their way of life, that isn’t always true. Right now, it seems like dogs are in the news almost every day and it also seems like there is more and more confusion about which way dog lovers should turn.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

One of the great things about having dogs is their way of calming us in times of confusion. Maybe it’s because they don’t speak our language (or, maybe, it’s because they do and we still haven’t scientifically proven what true “language” really is) but they really don’t seem to get very excited about who is running for political
office, which bank is hitting the skids or what the price of oil is today. They don’t even seem to care which laws are being dreamed up to mutilate their bodies without their consent (neuter/spay) or take away their freedoms (local and state ordinances controlling how they are allowed to live). They don’t even care about veterinary care. It’s the ones who love them (us) who care about that.

Dogs do care about being fed and groomed (sometimes) and they like to have a dry place to sleep. If they’re lucky enough to make a friend or two along the way, and those friends happen to be human, well, they like that, too.

All this is well and good if we only care about keeping things on a basic, mediocre, almost Ritalin-kind of level. If people don’t want any excitement, or real challenge in their lives, hey, there’s nothing like a few more laws to tighten the handcuffs of creative thinking and fun. Safety, after all, is the objective … isn’t it? For years, “safety” has been the cry behind dog laws, traffic laws, smoking laws, drinking laws, you name it. “Safety” has been the banner of something none of us ever even heard until just a few years ago, when all those laws were passed in the name of “Homeland Security.”

With no disrespect, however, dog lovers might not be the only ones who found it slightly odd when all kinds of public figures suddenly made “security” the measure of what new rules they would accept in life as if it were some kind of fad, and the latest craze. Other animal lovers found it strange, too.

After a lifetime of raising animals, writing stories about animals and designing collectible merchandise for the people who love them, I really do believe that animal lovers are the keepers of the highest emotions in our world.

Does it matter what laws are passed? Of course, it matters; especially when they are passed by people, who “think” they understand love, and sentiment, and trust, and joy … but really can’t prove it, like real dog lovers can.

Does it matter if we are reduced to mediocrity in the name of “security and safety”? I believe it matters very much, especially when new rules such as banks holding deposits might affect the feed bill that week, or the vet, or the mortgage.

Dogs still don’t take care of themselves, and, no matter how much force or power the organizations pushing for rules that cut into our dog-loving lifestyle might think they have … it’s unlikely that dogs ever will. Truth be told, all one has to see is how very little it matters to the general public that a Vice Presidential candidate is out there shooting elk from a helicopter … to realize, once and for all, that PETA, HSUS and other groups like them really don’t have the clout they pretend they do. Oh, they can bully dog lovers with laws. They’re good at that. But, only to the extent that we let them. And, remember … there has never been a law that couldn’t be thrown out.

Politics? Politics begin with our very first breath of life, when we decide we want to live and we’ll fight to keep it that way. Politics continues through childhood, as we play and compete with each other and find our way through the maze of everyday living. Just like it is with a litter of puppies, “politics” is a natural thing.

For those of us who take on the responsibility of a kennel or even the care of one dog, there are more complicated things to deal with. We must handle banking, record-keeping, buying supplies, licensing, taxes and all kinds of expenses – and, most important of all, we must figure out how to make the money, the trade-offs and the other deals to pay for it all. Is it a business? Sure sounds like a business to me, which brings us right back to politics, banking, and all the other fears in the press right now.

There are those people who run around the house, hearing experts on the radio, watching the news on TV, and seeing headlines in the newspapers covering their floors. Does this make them well-informed about politics? That’s something for the scientists to figure out. But, even if they don’t, could dogs have the answer? Can they keep us sane in a world gone mad?

The only thing we know for sure is that our dogs probably aren’t any more nervous today than they were a week, or a month, or a year ago. Wouldn’t it be great if we felt that way, too?

If they could talk, dogs might have a lot to tell us right now. After all, who has more access to the news than a house dog? Some of them might be very serious. But, others – maybe the mischievous and naughty ones we love best – might flip up their tails, roll their eyes and laugh in that doggy way we all know so well.

There are many dogs that run around the house, hearing experts on the radio, watching the news on TV, and seeing headlines in the newspapers covering the floor. Does this make them well-informed about politics? That's something for scientists and philosophers to figure out. But, even if it doesn't, do our dogs have the answer about coping with life, and can they keep us sane in a world gone mad?"
Submitted by Ron Hevener's Publicist
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At 6:59 PM, Blogger Diane said...

I loved what you said about "I really do believe that animal lovers are the keepers of the highest emotions in our world."

So very, very true.


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