VHeadline editor & publisher Roy S. Carson writes: You know that there is a generally accepted wisdom that a dog will not bite the hand that feeds it and that is why police dog handlers always insist that nobody should give their dogs any food or treats so that they remain loyal to the dog handler. One problem is that when the dog handler retires or when the dog retires there is only one thing to do -- to euthanize the trained-to-serve-the-master dog since it is impossible for the dog to learn to be loyal to anyone else but the original dog handler who has fed it for the greater part of its life.
This is why I believe that some people must learn that other dogs may be just as useful and sometimes more clever than the trained-to-serve-the-master dogs because they have been brought up in a loving family and have learned not to be as aggressive as the trained-to-serve-the-master dogs. They often have a kindlier nature than the German Shepherds.
I once had a German Shepherd who I rescued at 3 months from an abusive alcoholic who was basically training him to be aggressive. I actually had to punch the drunk in the face and take the dog away from him because he was abusing it. That little dog lived many years with me and grew to a powerful size, always a true and faithful friend. He once adopted a little kitten from a neighbor's cat he had befriended. I had no significant choice in the matter! The cat showed him her new kittens and very much to my neighbor's and my own surprise, he brought one of them back to me very carefully in his mouth with an expression on his face that said -- I want to adopt this one! He had been trained (by me) to be very gentle -- trained with an egg in his mouth to carry and put down without cracking it etc.
The little kitten remained with its mother for several weeks until it was weaned and my dog visited it and its mother several times a week until we decided to take it home with us. Over the next 10 years, the cat and the dog slept with each other and they cared very gently for each other as well as for me. They would play together but they would sometimes (rarely) fight when it came to feeding time -- I got around that problem by putting the dog's food in one corner of the kitchen and the cat's in another -- but sometimes they would try to steal a bite from each other's plate, otherwise they were very happy together.
When the dog died at the age of 12, the cat went into visible mourning, looking everywhere for him. Throughout the 10+ years the two of them were with me together it was always cute how they could sometimes be jealous of each other but that they would always defend each other when there was trouble -- it may sound crazy but you can just imagine the fury of a cat defending a German Shepherd when the dog was feeling ill or sleeping -- it simply happened!
The whole point of this little anecdote is that the dog and the cat together were able to live in peace and harmony. They were not trained-to-serve-the-master dogs, they were not loyal to me simply because I was the source of their food. Yes, they might squabble over food, but they always looked out for me and each other. They knew that they would not simply be discarded when their "usefulness" came to an end or when they got a little too playful and perhaps bite a finger or a hand by sheer accident --- certainly not out of any malicious ill-intent.
It should therefore be no surprise that while the trained-to-serve-the-master dog will guard the master's interests in exchange for dog food and bones -- it is the dog and cat, treated with human love and kindness, respect and consideration that will make the most loyal and determined of lifelong friends.
While the trained-to-serve-the-master dogs need to be euthanized when their masters die or desert them, the friendly family dog and cat can get along with everyone and make life a hell of a lot more tolerable in spite family disruptions, sad bereavements and the happinesses which are all part of a normal transition from youth to old age.
Okay -- write me off as a silly old fuddy-duddy who thinks that cuddly pets are more productive to society than dogs of war.
But it's true!
Roy S. Carson