I think this week, we should all bow our heads and say a word of profound, humble thanks to our partner on this journey, euphemistically called, human history.
Thirty thousand years ago or so, dogs decided to give these two-legged things a try.
And the rest, literally, is history.
In 456 BC, Greece was at war with Persia, and the city of Corinth was next on the menu of one of those scary warrior kings in those last-stand movies. The Persians had a brilliant yet beyond evil plan: So that there would be no warning of their attack, they killed all the guard dogs.
All except Soter.
He escaped, warned the Corinthians, and saved the city.
In 1978, we discovered there was a bee mixed-use community in the chimney of our new house in San Diego. We heard buzzing, and four or five times a day, a lone bee would wander into the living room, looking lost and slightly embarrassed.
As my mother was reaching for the Yellow Pages, we discovered something else.
Our dog, Fluffy, would stand in front of the fireplace and catch each and every errant insect — in his mouth. Then he’d eat them.
In 1815 Napoleon was on a ship headed for Elba, the site of his first exile. It might have also been his last.
He fell overboard.
A fisherman’s dog jumped in and pulled the little general to safety, and he was free to conquer the world again.
In 1987 I went to bed, leaving my spouse and a few lit candles. A little later I felt Petey get into bed.
After that I felt our chow, Harry, jump into bed with us — which he never did. Then he burrowed in between us like we were a hot dog bun and he was a Hebrew National.
By this time I was pretty awake and opened my eyes. I saw flickering like from a fire.
By this time I had run into the living room and realized the candles didn’t get extinguished and the top of our coffee table was, as the firefighters say, “involved.”
So, standing about 7 feet away, with the couch between me and what to me looked like the burning of the library of Alexandria, I blew it out.
I blew it out. Like a boss. Like Superman does every once in a while.
From the website Lovetoknow.com:
Ivan Pavlov “is credited with accidentally discovering an important principle of animal behavior called classical conditioning. In the experiment he performed in the 1890s, Pavlov used several dogs to test the salivary response when presented with food. During the course of the experiments, he realized that the dogs were beginning to salivate in response to a stimulus that was unrelated to the food, such as a buzzer or a metronome. The dogs were learning that the noise predicted food was about to come, and this principle is used widely in both animal training and behavior modification as well as human behavior modification.”
Whenever I even think about eating, every dog I’ve ever known salivates so much, they should be hollow.
You want to know something else, Gentle Reader?Every dog I’ve ever known, and I have had dogs my whole life, is nothing but giant hearts wrapped in a dog suit.
They are finer than we can even comprehend. There’s no reason why this noble creature should even give us the time of day, but they do and in so doing enrich every corner of our lives.
Thanks to every puppy, everywhere (because all dogs are puppies).
And thanks for your time.
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