PAUL’S TAKE #204: DOGGING IT


  “BACK IN MY DAY…”

               THOSE WORDS, ESPECIALLY WHEN COMING FROM PERSONS OF A CERTAIN AGE, CAUSE US TO GIRD UP FOR THE PREDICTABLE AND INTERMINABLE RANT ABOUT HOW THE WORLD HAS CHANGED AND IS RUNNING OFF ITS TRACKS, THE INEVITABLE CONCLUSION BEING THAT THE SPEAKER WILL NOT MIND AT ALL WHEN HIS OR HER TIME COMES TO CHECK OUT.

               WE HEARD THIS FROM OUR GRANDPARENTS, BUT HAVE YOU NOTICED IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES EVEN YOUNGER PEOPLE COMMONLY REFERENCE THINGS BEING BETTER “BACK IN THE DAY,” THE CONCLUSION BEING THINGS HAVE SERIOUSLY CHANGED FOR THE WORSE.

               I UNDERSTAND.BIG PICTURE, ESPECIALLY GIVEN THE DEEP DIVISIONS IN OUR COUNTRY, THERE ARE THOSE WHO SERIOUSLY WORRY ABOUT THE VERY FUTURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY, WHICH MIGHT NOT EVEN MATTER BECAUSE THERE ARE EVEN MORE SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT THE SURVIVAL OF OUR VERY PLANET. I’M WORRIED ABOUT BOTH.

               ON A SMALLER SCALE, I’M CONCERNED ABOUT WHERE THE DIGITAL AGE IS TAKING US.EVERY DAY STUFF.

FOR INSTANCE, I APPRECIATE ONLINE SHOPPING, ALLOWING ME TO HAVE THE SAME SHIRT I SAW TIGER WOODS WEAR IN SUNDAY’S TV GOLF TOURNAMENT DELIVERED TO MY FRONT PORCH TWO DAYS LATER.BUT, AS THE PERHAPS THE ONLY MAN ALIVE WHO ACTUALLY LIKES TO SHOP, I’M SAD ABOUT THE PREDICTED DEMISE OF BRICK-AND-MORTAR RETAIL. GOING TO THE DEPARTMENT STORE OR THE BOOK STORE, BEING OUT WITH OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE SHOPPING, LIVING LIFE AND DOING THE SAME, MAY SOON BE A THING OF THE PAST.

EVERYONE A VOICE OVER ALL THOSE YEARS – NASTY LETTERS TO THE EDITOR WERE BAD ENOUGH!

DON’T GET ME WRONG, EVEN IF I AM A PERSON OF A CERTAIN AGE AND DON’T LIKE THE DIRECTIONS CERTAIN THINGS ARE HEADED, I’M NOT READY TO CONCLUDE THE GOOD OLD DAYS WERE BETTER THAN TODAY, NOR AM I CLOSE TO TOSSING IN THE TOWEL. IN FACT, LIFE IS ABOUT TO BECOME MUCH BETTER.

WE’RE GETTING A NEW DOG.

WE LOST OUR BELOVED “EMMY” A YEAR AND A HALF AGO. IN THE TIME SINCE, WE’VE COME TO ENJOY NOT HAVING TO CARE FOR A DOG – FINDING A PLACE TO PUT HER WHEN WE TRAVEL, TAKING HER OUTSIDE, THE WALKS, THE MESSES, AND ALL OF THAT. IN FACT, WE’VE COME TO LIKE THE FREEDOM OF STAYING AWAY FROM THE HOUSE FOR LONG PERIODS WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY FOR LEAVING A FAMILY MEMBER HOME ALONE FOR SO LONG.  

BUT WE’VE ALSO REALIZED HOW MUCH MORE, AS DOG PEOPLE, WE’VE MISSED HAVING ONE.

THE AMERICAN HUMORIST JAMES THURBER ONCE WROTE THAT “WHEN FIRST MAN BROUGHT THE FIRST DOG TO HIS CAVE…THERE BEGAN AN ASSOCIATION BY WHICH MAN HAS ENORMOUSLY PROFITED.” THAT WAS 18-THOUSAND YEARS AGO OR MORE, AND TODAY, SEVERAL SCIENCE-BACKED STUDIES, CONFIRM THE MANY BENEFITS OF OWNING A DOG

IT’S BEEN PROVED DOGS MAKE US LAUGH, THEY KEEP US HEALTHY, MORE SOCIAL AND MORE ACTIVE. DOGS ARE ACTUALLY KNOWN TO SAVE LIVES, GIVE US A SENSE OF PURPOSE AND RESPONSIBILITY, MAKE US MORE CONFIDENT.THEY HAVE TAUGHT US LOYALTY, AND YOUR DOG, GUARANTEED, WILL BE THE HAPPIEST ONE IN THE HOUSE EVERY TIME YOU ARRIVE HOME. I MIGHT ADD – WITH NO SCIENTIFIC PROOF – DOG KISSES JUST MAKE IT FLAT-OUT EASIER TO GET THROUGH A TOUGH DAY.

OUR NEW DOG WAS BORN THREE WEEKS AGO, WHICH MEANS THAT IN A LITTLE MORE THAN A MONTH, WE WILL WELCOME “ARNIE” TO OUR HOME, MY OTHER HALF, KINDLY CONSENTING TO NAMING OUR NEWEST FAMILY MEMBER AFTER A FAVORITE SPORTS ICON, THE LATE ARNOLD PALMER. WE’VE BEEN LAYING IN DOG SUPPLIES IN ANTICIPATION, AND CAN’T WAIT FOR HIS ARRIVAL.

AND SO, WE’LL SOON BE ABLE TO MORE EASILY HANDLE ALL OF LIFE’S WORRIES, LARGE AND SMALL, BE IT THE SURVIVAL OF THE PLANET AND OF BOOKSTORES, OR THE IRREPARABLE DAMAGE CAUSED BY SOCIAL MEDIA, WITH A LOVING, NEW FAMILY MEMBER AT OUR SIDE. HE’LL MAKE THAT PART OF OUR LIVES, ANYWAY, JUST AS GOOD AS…BACK IN THE DAY!

WE’VE FOUND IT’S TRUE AS SOMEONE ONCE WROTE – BEFORE YOU GET A DOG YOU CAN’T IMAGINE WHAT LIVING WITH ONE WOULD BE LIKE, AFTERWARD YOU CAN’T IMAGINE LIVING ANY OTHER WAY.

PERHAPS IT WAS ANIMAL WELFARE ADVOCATE AND ACTRESS DORIS DAY WHO PUT IT BEST.“WHEN YOU ARE DEEPLY TROUBLED,” SHE WROTE, THERE ARE THINGS YOU GET FROM THE SILENT, DEVOTED COMPANIONSHIP OF A DOG THAT YOU CAN GET FROM NO OTHER SOURCE.”

I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL ARNIE GETS HERE.

I’M PAUL LINNMAN AND THAT’S MY TAKE.