I have 18 or 19 years worth of newsletter columns hanging around in my archives, so I thought I'd dust one off every once in a while, as some are timeless...
Our industry seems to have gone to the dogs in recent years. Border collies, various retrievers and even an occasional stray have become course staples for goose control, often turning into key crew members and companions in the process. Perhaps it was Greg Stent's poignant essay on his beloved canine companion Ted (Superintendent News, August 2001) that brought to light just how big a part of our lives dogs can be.
We have two golden retrievers in our family, sisters from different litters of the same parents. Although they share a common bloodline and almost identical appearance, they most definitely have unique personalities one reserved and the other rambunctious. I often marvel at their enthusiasm and zest for life, and realize we would do well to emulate that. They are always ready to go for a walk, to play, to eat no matter what time, what day, what weather. I have yet to hear them tell me they're too tired, or just don't feel like it...
My wife brought home the following from school recently, and I thought I would share it:
If dogs were our teachers, we would learn important stuff like...
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them like they've been gone for a year.
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride in the car. Allow the fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
- When its in your best interest, practice obedience.
- Let others know when they've invaded your territory.
- Take naps.
- Stretch before rising.
- Run, romp and play daily. Thrive on attention. Let people touch you.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
- On warm days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
- When you're happy, dance around and wiggle your entire body.
- No matter how often you're scolded, don't buy into the guilt thing and pout... run right back and make friends.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
- Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you've had enough.
- Be loyal.
- Never pretend to be something you're not.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle him gently.
There are lessons there for all of us. I can surely identify with many of them. My favorite? The one about not biting when a simple growl will do. That's something I need to work on. And I do like that 'wind in your face' thing as well... but the dancing around and wiggling would not be a pretty sight...
Originally published in TurfNet Monthly, May 2002. The industry has gone even further to the dogs since then with our long-running Superintendent's Best Friend calendar. We still have two Goldens (had three at one point), albeit different from the two pictured above. You can easily see who rules the roost in our home...