The dog has been a friend to man since well before recorded history.
It has all the traits by which we define friendship: loyal, loving, companionable, protective, intelligent…
Dogs can be trained to help humans in many ways, from herding sheep to helping the disabled.
Seeing-eye dogs are renowned for aiding the blind navigate busy streets.
In Headingley, dogs seem to be a boon to people who can’t read. Dogs, of course, can’t read either, but their unconditional love apparently acts as a kind of therapy for the illiterate.
You often see these poor wretches walking the streets with their dogs running free nearby, oblivious of signs everywhere stating leashes on dogs are mandatory.
Some individuals depend on the friendship of faithful Fido because they can’t get along with other humans.
Sometimes a person gets into trouble with other humans because he lets Fido out every morning at six to root around the neighborhood and crap on nearby driveways.
After this behaviour has alienated all his neighbours, he winds up with no friend left but Fido. Where would such a person be without a dog?
It’s also hip to have a pooch. It tells the world that you’re kind, generous and caring. It says you love animals and are willing to endure sacrifices to own one.
The kinds of sacrifices you’re willing to endure are along the lines of neutering and cooping up in an apartment or small house a species descended from the wild and carefree wolf. These are big sacrifices you’re willing to let your dog make, but you suck it up and soldier on.
Most dog owners in Headingley can read, do keep their pets on leashes and also pick up after them. They’re not only responsible citizens but they’re also well disposed toward others.
Holding the dog leash in one hand and their clear plastic bag full of poop in the other, they never fail to cheerfully wave the poop at passers-by. What could be a friendlier gesture than that?
They’re really unsung heroes when you stop to think of it. Every day, year after year, they devote themselves to picking up poop. If the dog lives 15 years, that’s 5,475 packages of poop. When the dog dies, they get another and start over. During the average owner’s lifetime, assuming he has about five dogs in succession, he can justly claim to have dealt with 27,375 packets of poop.
Maybe it’s not everyone’s bag, but at the end of your days, if you’ve owned a dog, you can fondly look back and see in your mind’s eye a huge mountain of… satisfaction.
Bob Holloway is a community correspondent for Headingley.