Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

February 29, 2004


Dog stories stimulate readers to share their own dog stories


            Dog lovers are wonderful people. They never bark at me, criticizing what I have said. They simply respond by sharing their own dog stories and ideas with me. I have an idea that boys who have a dog growing up seldom become delinquents. Dogs are also wonderful companions for older people, especially those who are single.

            Dogs can teach us valuable lessons about life. My friend Ann Davis shared this list of dog lessons with me:

            l. If you stare at someone long enough, eventually you will get what you want.

            2. Do not go out with ID.

            3. Be direct with people; let them know exactly how you feel by piddling on their shoes.

            4. Be aware of when to hold your tongue, and when to use it.

            5. Leave room in your schedule for a good nap.

            6. Always give people a friendly greeting. A cold nose in the face is effective.

            7. When you do something wrong, always take responsibility (as soon as you are dragged out from under the bed).

            8. If it is not wet and sloppy, it is not a real kiss.

            Dog stories are like Alabama-Auburn jokes; you can change them to fit your audience. My friend from Auburn days, Bill Neville, made me aware of this. He shared one of his “lawyer” dog stories that can be adapted to fit different vocational groups. 

            Bill heard a lawyer from Atlanta named John Marshall (that was his real name) tell the story about a dog named “Lawyer.” He was one of the finest, well-trained bird dogs he had ever seen. No other dog could match Lawyer’s skills.

            Some Canadian hunters, however, ruined old Lawyer. They promoted him and started calling him “Judge.” After that he would no longer do anything but sit on his (three-letter bottom) and bark at the lawyers. Bill says he has heard that story more than once in a gathering of lawyers. I can imagine those who are judges enjoy the story too.

            My friend John W. Harris shared his favorite dog story with me, and it is a good one. The only problem is that I cannot print it here; I can tell you it was first published in The Reader’s Digest in 1998. It was written by Gary Paulsen. The story is about a dog named “Ike,” taken from a book titled My Life in Dog Years. I will try to summarize the story.

            Paulsen grew up in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and when he was 12, found Ike, a beautiful Labrador retriever, in the woods. They became fast friends. Paulsen loved hunting and fishing even more with Ike now his constant companion.

            For some unknown reason, Paulsen could not get Ike to go home with him, even though he obviously enjoyed his company in the woods. Ike would go no further than the bridge, then trot off into the woods. Paulsen would meet him daily at the bridge as they began their escapades in the woods.

            One day Ike did not show up. Paulsen never saw him again. His disappearance remained a mystery to the young man. Eventually Paulsen grew up and moved on.

            Many years later he came home. One day he met an old man, a veteran who had lost both legs in the Korean War. It turns out that Ike was his dog. The old man told of Ike’s faithfulness. “He stayed by my side as long as he lived, and I still miss that dog,” the old man said.

            Now at last, Paulsen understood Ike’s disappearance. He had another job, taking care of the disabled man when he returned from the war. The story ends with Paulsen explaining that he had once known Ike. “He was my friend,” he said.

            John Harris is right. Ike’s story touches the heart. I can see why John likes it. It is a story I wish I had written.

            I will close with a few delightful quotes about dogs that I hope you will enjoy:

            “Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.” – Franklin P. Jones.

            Will Rogers said: “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

            Robert Benchley said: “A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”

            “Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate.” – Sigmund Frued.

            “I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.” – Rita Rudner.  

            “No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation.” – Fran Lebowitz.

            Ben Williams said, “There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”

            Ann Landers said, “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”

            Robert A. Heinlein: “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

            Joe Weinstein: “My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That’s almost $21.00 in dog money.”

            Anonymous gets credit for these two:

            “If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise.”

            “The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.”

            The best quote of all is this one by Josh Billings: “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”  + + + +