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Opinion Editorial: The Family Dog – Who’s Really in Charge?

The really big question is, does the family own the dog, or does the dog own family? 
opinion editorial

When I was a kid our family had a dog named Luke – something of a stoic Biblical character. He was the family pet – along with two white rats. My brother John brought him home. Neither Luke nor us had a choice in the matter.

Luke the dog was smarter than all of us kids combined. We never walked him. We’d hook him to the clothesline and he had the run of the whole back yard. He was almost independent. 

We were seven badly behaved wild kids living in a 700 square foot, two-bedroom house in north Toronto. Luke spent his nights in the damp, dark cellar (basement), along with the broken toys, bicycles, dirty laundry and homemade grape jam our Mom made.

Luke had an old iron frame bed he slept on – as long as none of our friends were hiding down there. In those cases, Luke got the floor – the runaway kid got the iron frame bed.

If the door was left open a crack, Luke would run away and only returned when there was nothing more to do. Our Mom said she would do the same thing if she had the chance.

My children brought home dogs. Both still have dogs. The last dog they brought home was Bob the Dog, an independent, aloof and small black dog; not as tough as he thought he was. He was a cross between a poodle and a New York City Gangster. Bob had attitude. You knew pretty quickly what Bob didn’t like.

Bob could go to a power pole, sniff around it, growl and tear the ground up with his claws. He could rip up enough dirt that the next dog to stop at the power pole would think a Black Bear had been there. 

He liked Sunny Southern Alberta. Bob hated Northern Alberta. He got lucky and retired to Lethbridge, for the climate. It was good for his arthritic hip that he got as a result of fighting a Doberman.

The really big question is, does the family own the dog, or does the dog own family? 

The answer: “Who picks up after whom?”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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