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Dogs have answers for big questions

Biff America

Despite the challenges weather and waste imposed, the three of us were engaged in a rather deep discussion.

I’ve noticed at the dog park, the habits of the owners in dealing with their pet’s dross are reflective of their (the human’s) personalities. Me being fastidious with a Catholic upbringing, I practice a quick pickup and deposit. As soon as my hound drops, I’m Johnny on the spot with the conveniently provided mut-mitt-despoz-a-scoop. Only seconds after the bomb hits the ground, I’m on it and it’s in the bag.

At this point some dog owners hold the load in case their pet is up for a double header; not me. Once I’ve made my pickup, I head to the nearest trash bin. sometimes I even carry Wet-Wipes.



I was making just such a delivery last week when Missy and Chris stopped me – both were holding.

Missy’s dogs, much like their owner, are athletic, suspicious, well groomed and slightly aggressive. When she approached me, one bared its teeth. With little or no fanfare she said, “Chris and I have a question. Using only one word, tell us what you have learned in the last 20 years.”



This was a little too heady for the dog park, so I stalled. “I don’t want to answer first” was my response. “What did Chris say?”

Chris has one of those high-strung, overachieving Frisbee dogs. It’s part Jack Russell, part gymnast on speed. It does one thing, but does it extremely well. Her hound will sprint the length of the field, leap in a graceful explosion, snatch the disc from mid-air, and return it for another go. As long as the Frisbee flies, the cur’s content. Once the disc is grounded, the dog’s a whining nuisance.

“Chris said, Balance,” answered Missy. “She’d like to have more moderation in her life between work, play and relationships.”



“How about you, Missy?” I asked.

“Surrender.” I’ve learned that sometime you must accept, forgive and forgo judgments and anger.

“OK,” I said, “in one word, what I’ve learned in the last 20 years is Love. There is no issue or conflict that won’t be better solved or resolved with love.”

Just after I said that, my little dog Robby jumped up on me leaving mud stains on my pants. I scolded him by saying, “You little b…, if you do that again, I’m selling you to a science laboratory.”

Missy seemed to consider the exchange between Robby and me and said, “You don’t seem like the loving type.”

I have to admit she had something there, but I felt she was throwing stones from her glass house.

“You’re right,” I said. “I could be more compassionate, but you are one of least surrendering people I know.”

Her dogs looked at me and snarled. “I’m working on it,” she said.

We both looked at Chris. As if reading our mind, she said, “I know, I’m not very balanced, but I’m getting better.”

What was obvious was that even with the perspective of two decades – self- awareness is more easily achieved than personal change.

In the meantime our hounds frolicked, fought and sniffed each other. They were oblivious to the rain, and their owners’ quests for self-improvement. Now, granted they are less intelligent and developmentally inferior creatures. That said, they are smart enough to not work, sleep most of the day, and get us to pick up their poop. They also seem to know something that we humans do not. We are all perfect in our imperfections.

The title of the self-help book reads “I’m OK, You’re OK.” But the plain truth is I’m not OK, and you’re not OK, but that’s OK. Ask anyone what they’d like to change about themselves, you won’t hear anyone say, “Nothing, I’m just right.” We’re all too fat, old, poor, stupid, wrinkled, horny, etc. If you want to find a perfect being, consider your best friend drinking from the toilet. They sometimes smell, often are stubborn, they eat garbage, roll in filth, and rather than shake hands or hug they sniff each other’s butts.

Yet if they could talk, and were asked what they’d like to change about themselves, they’d probably say, “My owner’s insecurities.”

Biff America can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA and KYSL radio, and read in this and other fine newspapers.


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