Sunday, March 8, 2009

Top Dogs: Inspirational Canines

In the process of complementing columnist Bill Simmons on his moving dog story One Final Toss For the Dooze this reader comment asks an amusing question for all of us to contemplate:
Q: Thanks for making me choke up at work with the column about your dog. I decided to move The Dooze immediately into my greatest dog rankings, just ahead of the dog from "Amityville Horror" that saved the dad from falling into the gate of hell. Powerful column. Thanks.
-- Andy, Decatur, Texas
SG: As much as the Simmons family misses her -- to the point that I joked we should get training wheels put on the Dooze's urn so we could walk the Dooze's ashes with Rufus, only my wife had a brief look on her face that said "Can we do that?"-- even my wife would admit The Dooze didn't top the "Amityville Horror" dog. I mean, we're talking about a black lab rescuing a master from the gates of hell here. The Dooze only would have toyed with the gates of hell if a tennis ball rolled near it. I still have the "Amityville Horror" dog ranked first, the Dooze second, Hooch third, Scooby-Doo fourth, Marley fifth, Cujo sixth (just because he came soooooooo close to mauling the annoying little kid from "Who's the Boss?"), Dino Flintstone seventh … and Paris Hilton's chihuahua last.
Jill is still so traumatized by her childhood viewing of The Amityville Horror that she can't even step inside a house shaped like a barn, let alone think about these particular doggy heroics. But for all of the canine craft displayed by that particular pooch, Bill is forgetting Lassie, Benji, and many other "Greatest Dog" candidates (and we won't even comment about the placement of Marley or Hooch on this list).

Here at Happy Dog Land, we have a soft spot for Astro (nee Tralfaz) from The Jetsons, but perhaps even better is Faith, a two-legged pooch who walks on her hind legs. Faith visits with and inspires soldiers who have lost limbs in battle. Read her incredibly moving and uplifting story here in the current issue of Modern Dog Magazine. Check out this site,which chronicles civilian and military canine heroes. If you want to read more, check out this book about the canine search and rescue teams that assisted during the 9/11 tragedy.

Dogs perform heroic deeds every day. Some deeds are small, like when your pooch nuzzles you after a rough day at work. Some feats are big, like when a K9 Search and Rescue Dog finds someone trapped in rubble. Regardless of the size of the deed, we owe our canine companions love, respect and kindness. And, oh yes, a piece of steak once in a while too.

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