I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
For more than two hundred forty years since declaring independence, our nation has celebrated our Independence Day. While I have appreciated that many of the leaders of our nation have had canine companions, including President Lincoln quoted here, I was a little dismayed to learn today that the “author” of the Declaration and third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, was arguably NOT a dog-man. He, in fact, penned a letter in 1811 supporting an idea of killing dogs that a fellow landowner accused of killing livestock. (That man, Peter Minor, was sometime later his county’s secretary of Agriculture. While nothing is said about the fate of canines caught loose in that county, it also bears mentioning that Jefferson was a little hypocritical in more than one aspect* of his life: he kept sheepdogs at Monticello and was favorably disposed toward breeding them.)
However, I’m glad that among the authors of the Declaration of Independence, there were some great men who appreciated our canine companions. Benjamin Franklin, whom I wrote in a prior post, said
There are three faithful friends: an old wife, an old dog, and ready money
For 242 years, the United States of America has invented some of the world’s most revolutionary machines that changed the course of humanity. America has sent men to the Moon, and satellites into interstellar space. Powerful medicines and information technology that transformed life that had been unchanged for millennia. Our nation and people have endured war, invasion, prejudice, and injustice. And there is still real problems to tackle. This year, let us all make an effort to help our homeless, our veterans and our adoptable animals in shelters all across the nation feel the “life. liberty and pursuit of happiness” that our Founders fought to establish. And extend that same help to those who want to come to America and become “Americans”, but only after the former priorities are established.
As we celebrate our Fourth of July, let’s take care of our canine pals particularly being sensitive of fireworks and noisy neighborhood celebrations.
*Although a slave owner himself, Jefferson was apparently upset that ending slavery was edited out of the original draft of the Declaration of Independence