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All dogs should have a purpose
The Back Forty
By Roger Pond

A recent visit to our grandchildren’s second grade class reminded me of the importance of animals to kids. I quickly learned that few things are more meaningful to a second grader than his or her pets.

I asked the class, “How many of you have a dog?” Everyone’s hand went up.

Then I asked, “Does anyone have a dog that does funny things?” All of the hands went up again.

I quizzed one little girl, “What does your dog do that’s funny?”

“Sometimes in the morning my dog licks dew off the grass,” she told me.

“My dog twirls around on her hind legs,” another said. “Then she knocks me down and licks my face.”

“Is that fun?!” I asked incredulously.

“Yeah!” she laughed.

A third little girl said, “If you say ‘McDonald’s’ my dog will lick your face. That’s because she likes McDonald’s hamburgers.”

All of this brought back memories of the many dogs I’ve owned. Some were funny, and others were just plain weird.

All of my dogs had a purpose, though. I’ve always thought a dog has to have a purpose if it’s ever going to amount to anything.

A dog has to be big enough to bite a cow, dumb enough to chase rabbits, or ugly enough to scare burglars.

I’ve owned dogs that would climb into cars, jump on guests, and howl at the moon; but they were always sorry for the things they did.

I can’t stand dogs that aren’t sorry: The ones that dare you drag them off the bed, or jump out of the pickup when you tell them to. A truly sorry dog will make you throw him out.

Our cocker spaniel, Molly, would be sorry if she did anything bad, but she doesn’t. Molly is so small she really can’t hurt anything, and she will hunt quail or chase ground squirrels with the best of them.

About the only thing Molly won’t do is sing. The only dog I’ve seen that could sing was a toy poodle named “Susie.”

Susie belonged to some friends who were near retirement age, and that dog was a major part of their life. Susie could do all sorts of tricks (such as jumping on the bed), but singing was probably her best.

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself. The friend’s wife would say, “Sing, Susie! Sing!”

Then the wife would throw her head back and say, “Owoo-owooh! Owoo-owooh! Owooh!”

Pretty soon Susie would stop jumping on the bed. Then, she would throw her head back and sing, “Owoo-owooh! Owooh!” It was the darnedest thing you ever saw.

I’ve seen a lot of funny things in my life; but how a fuzzy, little dog could teach a woman to sing has always been a puzzle to me.

This farm news was published in the April 19, 2006 issue of Farm World.

4/19/2006