Even people who have known me for many years are sometimes surprised to learn how fond I am of dogs. It must be my curmudgeonly persona that misleads them. It’s humans who annoy me. The truth is, it’s dogs who should be surprised that I am fond of people.
I have always loved the bit of Indian lore that claimed in the olden days, God decided to create a divide between humans and all the other animals. He did this by creating a chasm between them. But at the last possible second, the dog leapt across in order to take his place with man.
Although I have always liked dogs, my mother didn’t approve of having them in the house, so I only came to have one fairly late in life. Both the dearly departed Sammy and the current master of the domain, Duke, have been Malteses. That’s my wife’s doing. Left to my own devices, I would have happily settled for mutts. I have nothing against the breed, but there is something slightly off-putting about living with animals whose pedigrees are so far superior to my own.
Something I’ve noticed is that dogs often bring out a rich store of wit and wisdom in people. While nobody seems to know who first said, “The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue,” it was Will Rogers who remarked, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went,” and Robert Benchley who observed, “A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”