Dog Or Cat Or Whatever

Herb’s blog, Herbdate 22124-695:

I’ve grown up around critters. Mostly cats and dogs and cows. As a parent, I’ve been exposed to more variation. When my son was growing up he had snakes and turtles and an iguana and rats and I don’t know what all. Another child had a rabbit. Another one a dog and the other one two cats. I’ve forgotten the birds and the litter of puppies. There is almost as much to be learned from watching animals as there is from people. It’s funny, too, how God has created an uncountable variety of kinds of things both flora and fauna but in each “kind” of creation, every individual is unique.

Animals have personalities. But while they are all individuals, each “kind,” each species has traits that are in common and that define them. I can’t say that I am a dog person or a cat person. They both have traits that I like and dislike. I did like and love them all, which is one of the many reasons I don’t want any more pets after these last two are gone. They break your heart when they die. * sniff * And I do believe children should have pets and be around animals when they are growing up because one of the things it does is teaches them (I’m not so naive as to say “responsibility” here because I know from experience that the typical, eternal promise, “I’ll make sure and feed him and clean up after him” is only, especially at first, accomplished by constant nagging) how to be compassionate to something smaller and more vulnerable than themselves. How to care for and love and treat something that relies on their kindness and affection. Of course, there are hundreds of caveats to this principle but this isn’t the real topic of this post. I sat down to share an email I received in 1999. Yes, youngsters, there was an internet back in those days.

This email was called “Some Good Advice” and is a list of things you can learn from a dog.

This Is Some Good Advice

If a dog were the teacher, you would learn stuff like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be
pure ecstasy.

When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing
and pout…run right back and make friends.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.


  1. My parents did not allow us to keep furry pets. We did have a couple of goldfish. My brother and I cared for a few salamanders for a year. Later, dad relented and allowed my sister to have a cat.

  2. This was such a nice post. We have three dogs -aka The Sillies. I can feel the endorphins flow when I look at those pups. The dog in the post has given great advice for sure!

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