John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 8-20-12 |

John Mattingly: Socratic Rancher 8-20-12

No one has ever mistaken me for a dog lover.

Not that I dislike dogs. It’s more that I wouldn’t run a mile to get a dog out of trouble, nor would I go to the dog pound and rescue a dog. But I wouldn’t turn away a dog who happened onto the farm. Most of the dogs I’ve kept over the years either wandered onto the farm and were fed, or were found alongside the road, abandoned and hungry. If you feed a hungry dog, the dog will love you for a long time.

So, basically, I enjoy and appreciate dogs, but do not revere them, or go to extremes when it comes to certain dog situations. For example, I probably would not do as one of my friends did when he spent $20,000 on a surgery for a dog. Nor would I feed a dog a steady diet of cooked steak.

There are people, however, who really go all-out for dogs. I know of a man who goes to the pound and picks out the most troubled dog in current captivity, and works with that dog until it becomes a dog who can do well with a certain person, and then he seeks out that person and works at making a match. That is really a dedicated dog lover.

We can’t forget Leona Helmsley, who left two million to her Maltese pooch, and various other dog lovers who have bequeathed substantial canine estates.

Another person I know, had a dog for 12 years, and when the dog died, she continued to buy dog food and put it in the dog’s bowl every night. In the morning, she emptied the bowl and refilled it again the next night. Finally, she realized the folly of feeding a dog who wasn’t there anymore, but she continued to buy dog food, which piled up in the garage. After several months of this, she almost rented a storage locker for the all the dog food bags she had piled up, but fortunately, a dash of reason overwhelmed her sentiments, and she donated to the dog food the local canine shelter.

There was a man who had his dog embalmed and presented in an open casket funeral, at which 50-some people came to say goodbye to the dog, but when the man died, only eighteen people showed up.

We can’t forget Leona Helmsley, who left two million to her Maltese pooch, and various other dog lovers who have bequeathed substantial canine estates. But perhaps the most extraordinary display of dog fanaticism goes to the folks who had their favorite dog cloned. With foresight, the folks saved DNA from their dog, and when he passed away, they engaged canine cloners in Japan. It’s illegal to clone dogs in the U.S., perhaps because of the absurdity of it on so many levels, including the fact that there are already over 60 million dogs in the U.S., and by some estimates more homeless dogs than homeless humans. The folks who had their dog cloned paid $115,000 for the operation, and the cloned puppy apparently absorbed much of the knowledge that had been previously gained by the deceased donor dog, and went on to live a happy life.

I hope I don’t offend decent, dog-fearing Americans when I say, “There might be a reason why d-o-g is g-o-d spelled backwards.” ❖

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