Don’t talk about dogs with friends

By Grant McGee

Dog, man’s best friend.

I’ve often wondered about this “man’s best friend” thing over the years, seeing how some folks treat canines.

I got to thinking about this the other day when, on a county road outside of Clovis far from any house, I came across a dog dragging about six feet of load-securing strapping with a hook attached to its collar. I envisioned some person had attached the hook to something to keep the dog on their property.

By the side of the road I tried to get the skinny, skittish dog to come to me. I got down on my knees and spoke softly to her and she came to investigate, ears lowered, tail wagging. When she got close enough I took the strapping and reached for her collar.

Not only had some person tied this dog by a short length of apparently whatever they could find, the collar was so tight I couldn’t even get a finger between it and the dog’s neck. I unsnapped the collar and she was free.

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “don’t talk about religion or politics with friends.” After all, it may lead to heated arguments. I think conversations about how we treat animals might be added to that saying. Folks figure how they treat the family dog is nobody else’s business. Views vary from person to person, place to place.

When I had dogs, I let them in the house. I didn’t mind if they slept on the bed. I tossed sheets on the furniture.
I know of one dog in Clovis that is content to rest in the green grass of its front yard with no fence or any constraints. Just down the street is a big dog held to a dog house by about 12 feet of chain inside a fenced yard.

I’ve known people who took a dog into their home and when they got tired of it either relegated it to the back yard where it barked constantly (apparently because it was suddenly deprived of companionship) or took it to the pound. I’ve known people who carried their small dogs wherever they went.

I’ve known farmers and ranchers who would shoot a dog on sight to protect their livestock and because it was their “right.” I knew one farmer who took the time to try to catch a stray to take it to the pound because, he said, it was the right thing to do.

People keep dogs as pets, as guards and for a future feast.
Leaving Hawaii years ago we had to reconsider who we were giving the family dog to. It turned out the woman planned on fattening her up for a feast.

Maybe that’s why I had a tender spot for that dog outside of Clovis. She looked a lot like my dog from 40 years ago.
Or maybe it was just the incredible junk attached to her neck.

Not long ago a friend sent me a quote from the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant: “He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: