the discerning dog

character

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

John Wooden, Coach, d 2010

Dogs are a great judge of character. Though I have no evidence available to support it, a narcissist, in everything I have seen or read, is incapable of providing the sort of “pack leadership” to an animal that needs a leader to be confident, responsive, caring, and a good provider. Many dog-people I know or have read about, have risked injury to rescue their animal. Others have tended to supply the needs, food, medicine, or other things to care for their animal over their own personal well-being. My late mother was one such as this. During a health crisis the scale of which nobody living since the Spanish Flu of 1918 -19, I am shocked to receive email from animal welfare groups cautioning people not to abandon a pet for unsubstantiated viral animal-human transmission. Other emails and online journals ask for vigilance as the “sheltering in place” can elevate instances of physical and emotional abuse between cohabitants. While I have witnessed acquaintances in a relationship with a narcissist, I have never seen a dog bond with one. If you have a dog and he (or she) does not like your “friend”, it might be worth some re-consideration.

Stories of dogs finding their way back to their dog-person, whether lost during a natural disaster or accident, encourage me greatly. A once-stolen dog that is found and returned to her family. And sometimes a scoundrel is chastised publicly. A YouTube video of two people contesting in court over the ownership of a dog, might have ended differently had it not been for a judge (television’s Judge Judy) who trusted the instincts of a dog over a defendant’s protests.

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.

Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President, 1913-1921

When it comes to fooling people, who it appears are often less discerning than a pet, politics seems to attract a fair number of scoundrels. But a fair number are dog-people, including Presidents from Kennedy to Obama, and both side of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Some admittedly are the “office dogs” of Congressional staffers, which might pass the sniff test. And then there is the current occupant of the White House who is “too busy” to have a dog. Which, even in a national crisis, has helped past national leaders (JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis comes to mind). It probably is due to his character flaws that any dog can plainly sense. Woodrow Wilson quipped as much.

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