Humans and Dogs: A Domestic Partnership

“There are two kinds of fidelity: that of dogs and that of cats. You, gentlemen, have the fidelity of cats who never leave the house.”
—Napoleon Bonaparte, to French courtiers who had not followed him to Elba

The oldest dog skull discovered to date is from Goyet Cave, Belgium. And if you will refer to your notes you will recall that Belgium is adjacent to France. The neighbors are joined by a common language, French. Belgium, on the other hand, is divided by another language, Dutch. Many dog breeds sprung from Belgium but the Bouvier des Flanders is claimed by both France and Belgium. And many of the best French things are actually better when they are made in Belgium like french fries and bike racers. But I digress.

Chapter II

In the United States, dogs are a health hazard – that is, if you take them from your home. I found that out when I carried my Chihuahua into a small grocery store in the Sierra Nevada. A young cashier asked me to take the 7-pound dog outside because the health department would shut them down. Mysteriously, in Europe, dogs are no more a health hazard than the rest of us. They frequent restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores. Also, the roadsides of the Tour de France.

At the Tour, every time we photographed a dog, the owner would smile and sometimes blush. It made people happy that we took interest in their dogs. Everyone believes that his dog is an exceptional one; that somehow he stumbled on an extremely intelligent, affectionate, and maybe even polite animal. We love it when people recognize the fabulous qualities that we see in our four legged (or three legged) friends. If I had a euro for every time someone said, “I love your Chihuahua, and I usually hate little dogs,” I would have many, many euros. I would have to change them into dollars though because I live in Idaho. But still, my point is that there are no bad dogs just bad owners and bad politicians and bad actors and there is one record each by Michael Jackson and LL Cool J called Bad. Please check out these bad dogs. In the immortal words of Run or maybe it was DMC: “Not bad meaning bad but bad meaning good.”