In Celebration of Dogs

The one stern injunction that my mother made when I was a child was never to own a German Shepherd as a pet. The reason that she advanced was that ultimately their wolf like nature would be exhibited at some point in time and would attack somebody. Personally I believe that her misunderstanding arose as the next door neighbours – the Lotts’s – bred GSDs. In their tiny backyard, they kept 50 Alsatians chained up. Probably what happened was that at some point, a frustrated dog attacked Mr Lotts. For most of my life in Joburg, I have owned at least one Alsatian and never have I experienced a problem either with the children or the other animals.

That was true until our latest Alsatian, Layla. She is too exuberant with the toy Yorkshire Terrier, Izzy. Her favourite party trick is to push Izzy onto the ground with her giant paw and trap her there. Due to Izzy’s size and the fact that she is a genuine lap dog, we were always under the impression that Izzy hated the garden. Suddenly when Layla was locked in the back garden on the days on which the maid worked, amazingly Izzy was found wandering around the front garden.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
Roger Caras (photographer and writer)

The logical explanation is that she considered the garden to be Layla’s domain. As such she refused to enter that world. It was probably her impish streak that made her mark the garden as if it was her territory much to Layla’s annoyance.

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.” —Robert Wagner (actor, The Longest Day)

These are my wishes for the New Year:

  • Never chain up one’s dogs except for short periods if the need arises
  • If you want to acquire a new animal, rather adopt one for a nominal fee from the SPCA or another dog shelter. There are an abundance of animals requiring homes.
  • Never acquire a pet unless you intend to treat it as if it a proper member of the family.
  • If you cannot afford a pet, do not purchase one. When treatment is required, the pet will have to suffer rather than be treated


 “Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul, chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth!” —Anne Tyler (author, The Accidental Tourist)


 “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” —Harry S. Truman (33rd President of the United States)

“If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.” —James Thurber (author, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)


“A hungry dog hunts best.” —Lee Trevino (golfer)


“A hungry dog hunts best.” —Lee Trevino (golfer)


“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.” —Robert Louis Stevenson (author, Treasure Island)


“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.” —John Steinbeck (author, The Grapes of Wrath)


“If you eliminate smoking and gambling, you will be amazed to find that almost all an Englishman’s pleasures can be, and mostly are, shared by his dog.” —George Bernard Shaw (playwright)


“Happiness is a warm puppy.” —Charles M. Schulz (cartoonist, Peanuts)

“I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.” —Rita Rudner (comedienne)


“The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.” —Andy Rooney (contributor, 60 Minutes)


“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.” —Marilyn Monroe (actress, Some Like It Hot)


“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” —Gilda Radner (comedienne)


“If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then give him only two of them.” —Phil Pastoret (author, Our Boarding House)


“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.” —Christopher Morley (author, Kitty Foyle)


“Dogs don’t rationalize. They don’t hold anything against a person. They don’t see the outside of a human but the inside of a human.” —Cesar Millan (dog trainer)


“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx (comedian)



“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.” —Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States)


 “A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.” —Jack London (author, The Call of the Wild (Global Classics)



“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.’” —Rudyard Kipling (author, The Jungle Book)


“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” —Dean Koontz (author, Whispers)


“A dog can’t think that much about what he’s doing, he just does what feels right.” ―Barbara Kingsolver (author, Animal Dreams: A Novel)



“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.” —Franklin P. Jones (humorist and PR executive)


“There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog — waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.” —Lee Iacocca (former president and CEO of Chrysler)



“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.” ―Kristan Higgins (author, In Your Dreams)


“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.” —Aldous Huxley (author, Brave New World)


  1. Dogs are social creatures like us. Brought up with love, they will attack only in defence. But abusive owners breed dangerous dogs.


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