For the love of a good dog

Any of you who have ever read any of my blogs know how much I love dogs. I have just finished a short back and forth with my middle child, my daughter Cadie, who is a cat person. She took a bit of offense at my statement that I have never seen a cat that wasn’t looking at me with this thought in mind, “If I just weighed 35 more pounds, I would kill you and eat you.” Cadie reminded me of our cat that lived in our home for 19 years with the very unique name of “Kitty”. Now, I will admit that Kitty mostly acted like a life stuffed animal, but she still was a testament to how much I love my daughters, Holly and Cadie rather than any affection I have for cats. Besides that, feral cats kill more quail than any creature other than hawks.


I am a dog person, and always have been. I have often said that I aspired to be the person my dog thought that I was. I also noticed that when everyone else in my home might be angry with me over an unpopular decision, my dog never changed her devotion to me. My wife, Martha, has often asked me how I went about choosing a dog. I always told her that I let the puppy choose me. Whenever I have looked to purchase a puppy, I like to sit on the ground, and allow the entire litter to play around me. They will climb over and under my legs, run to and fro, but after a while, one particular puppy will lock his or her eyes on you, and say, “You belong to me.” And, that will be my puppy. It’s all in the eyes, and the eyes will never lie to you.


I just finished reading a very interesting article by Tom Davis on Gundogs, which confirmed a few of the things that I have stated above. The following are just a few of his comments:

  1. When we gaze into our dog’s eyes, we tap into a well of trust and understanding.
  2. Well, get this. According to a study in Japan, when people gaze adoringly into the eyes of their dogs, they experience increased levels of the “feel good” hormone oxytocin.—and when dogs gaze adoringly into the eyes of their owners, they experience the same thing.
  3. In other words, that powerful emotional connection we feel when we gaze into the eyes of our dogs is no flight of fancy, no figment of our imagination. It is a real, measurable biochemically based response.


I know these facts to be the truth. Have you ever had a young dog just completely destroy something such as her dog bed? We have an expression in the south called “shame-faced”. When I have fixed my look of unhappiness on a misbehaving or destructive puppy, she will hang her head and look away from me as if to say, “I’m so sorry about this Daddy, and I will not do it again.” Of course, I also believe that the eyes are mirrors into a human’s soul. When I first turned the hiring of employees for Riverview over to Cader IV, I advised him to look at a prospective employee’s eyes as well as reading their resumes and listening to what they had to say. I told him that if there was no shine or brightness in his eyes, there was a good chance that he did not have what it takes to work here. In my 40+ years of hiring, I never hired a dull-eyed employee who turned out to be worth what the cost of the gunpowder to blow him away would be.


And finally, I would like to share a quote by Lance Conrad that I read the other day, which really caught my attention. He said, “If you would see a man’s heart, knock him down. Then observe how he rises. If you would see his soul, do it a thousand more times.” That, my friends is a profound statement when you think about it. I would kindly request in closing that whoever made Mother Nature mad, PLEASE apologize. I believe that it may be January the 93rd here. We are still experiencing morning temperatures in the low 40’s when we should be in the mid 50’s for morning lows. As I have grown more “mature”, my blood has thinned, and I do NOT like cold weather. It’s just my luck to share an office and thermostat controls with my son, “Nanook of the North”. I spend the morning in the office, and most of the afternoons either outside or in my home trying to thaw out!


Y’all have a great spring!  I may have to go to the Keys to find it for myself.