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The Last Windrow: Dog-dom musings

My farm dog never knew what a collar was. He never had a kennel. He never traveled more than a mile from home and he never, ever came in the house. Things have changed in dog-dom.

My farm dog never knew what a collar was. He never had a kennel. He never traveled more than a mile from home and he never, ever came in the house. Things have changed in dog-dom.

I recently was involved in a region-wide festival where the community welcomed in folks from around the Midwest and Canada. The festival saw a great turnout of mostly rural types or urban types who wanted to be or once were considered rural. One of the things I found interesting in that group was how many of them brought their dogs with them. Dogs!

I would have never given a thought to taking my old farm dog, Sparky, to such a festival. We wouldn't have made it out of the parking lot before he would have bitten someone. Sparky didn't have much of a sense of humor and anyone or anything that seemed the remotest threat, he bit.

That came in handy when Sparky went into action with a herd of rampaging Hampshire hogs controlling a runaway Hereford bull, but humans were another matter.

Is having a dog along on your vacation or taking a dog to work a new phenomenon? When did that start to become the thing to do? Our farm family would no more have thought of tossing Sparky in the car for a trip to the lake than we would have of diving off a shear cliff. We knew that to put Sparky in a car would not have been a good thing.

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Having to walk a dog before dawn or after dark, pick up poop with a little shovel and put it in a bag, put out food and water on a regular basis and pick dog hair off my just pressed pants seems a bit much to me.

But, I saw folks at the festival doing that on a regular basis. And, those folks didn't seem much bothered by the chore. I actually saw one couple put up a doggie day-tent for their pooch so it would have its own playpen!

The dogs I have owned over the years have been mostly working or sporting types. They earned their dog bones by either saving my hide by keeping a raging bull away from my body or by flushing wild pheasants from a South Dakota cattail swamp and retrieving said birds to me without me ever getting my boots wet. They earned their stripes, but I never gave a thought to taking one on a regular vacation.

Evidently we humans need more companionship than we have in the past. We need something to hop on our lap at night and lap us in the face. If husbands ever tried something like that, well, I won't go into that. But, you get the idea. Humans now seem to need something other than another human to feel needed and whole.

I have no problem with folks treating dogs like another human. I have no problem with some dogs living better than some of our lower income citizens. It's OK to love a dog and enjoy its company.

I just think something is out of balance when the dog is eating a better meal than me at suppertime and being talked to in a kinder voice than I hear from most other humans with whom I come into contact.

And, you won't find me walking behind a little purebred pooch with a little shovel and plastic bag in my hand. I never did that with Sparky. He would have bit me.

See you next time. Okay?

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