Talk about health-care reform to Cosmo and he'll tilt his head, yawn and walk away just as quickly as he would if you opted to discuss the assassination of Trotsky or the defenestration of Prague. But if you say the words "tennis ball" or "squirrel," he will be utterly fascinated.
And that's what I love about dogs. They just don't care about such things, and they encourage you not to care either -- at least while you're with them. You can't say the same thing about children, because they grow up and inherit the society we leave behind. Being a good parent requires caring about politics. Dogs, meanwhile, keep their innocent doggy goodness from kennel to grave, obviating the need to explain to them why tax cuts are awesome.
Dogs give us any number of amusements and comforts, but their greatest gift is to remind us that love and loyalty exist outside the ephemeral pieties of contemporary life. This is true for free marketers and Fabian socialists alike.
Cosmo the Wonderdog is no stranger to mystery. Allegedly half-Australian cattle dog, half Labrador, the truth is that we don't know what he is. I simply say he's a rich ethnic cocktail in the American tradition.
We suspect he was abused as a puppy, because when we first got him, Cosmo saw me roll up a magazine to kill a bug and immediately ran out of the room in fear. To this day, if he sees a rolled up newspaper or magazine, he has the same response. And to this day, I routinely daydream about finding the jerk who hit my dog.
The spinal tap required shaving a patch of fur from the back of Coz's head; now he looks a bit like a furry Trappist monk. The results were good in that he doesn't have a brain tumor and has no obvious infections, but we still don't know what's wrong with him.
So how did a hard-core right-winger like me end up taking my dog to the neurologist? Because my dog needed one.