New tricks for old dogs

When I was growing up, I had a few cats as outdoor pets and dogs too. When I got my own home, I tried to have a house cat. It was then I realized I was allergic to them big time, but not to dogs. So I have been a dog lover and owner ever since.

Plus, there is a world of difference in attitudes between cats and dogs. Dogs are humble, loving, loyal, giving, devoted, and have their own personality. While cats are independent as heck and will grace you with their presence when they are darn good and ready or hungry.

I heard a cat’s aloof attitude is because they were once worshiped as gods. They have never forgotten their deity status while mortals have, and that’s what makes them so snooty.

In my opinion, dogs are much smarter than cats. Plus, there have been several news reports about dogs being taught to do amazing things lately. One report showed how dogs are being studied if they can sniff out if a person has cancer. After all, they are capable of detecting drugs and bombs with their nose.

I think they can tell if a person is ill. About six months before a test determined I had breast cancer, my “fur-baby” Sgt. didn’t want anything to do with me. For my dog, who was always an attention hound, not to even want to be petted or sit beside me was a big change and upsetting. I just figured it was a puppy stage he was going through.

After the surgery removed the cancer, he greeted me at the door when I came home from the hospital. He has been his old loving self since then wanting to snuggle beside me whenever he can.

Another news report showed how dogs are being trained to drive cars. (Yes, both were real news programs). The doggy driver wears a seat belt and steers the specially adapted vehicle around a course. The vehicle goes really, really, really slow while the dog uses its paws to turn the wheel and stop the vehicle.

Having a dog that can drive has some real possibilities!

There are doggy obedience schools all over. I want to know where there is a doggy driving school and where can I get a van set up where Sgt. can be taught to drive it. It would be great if Sgt. could be  my designated driver when I don’t feel like getting behind the wheel.

I can visualize it now. I’m sure Sgt. would be a good and careful driver… Then, I realized my dog’s dislike of cats could be a really big problem. He doesn’t give deer, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and such a second glance. Yet, when cat shows up, he is outraged and in full hunt mode.

I can just see a cat crossing the road while Sgt. was driving. He would drive through a ditch and field chasing the cat with the pedal to the metal.

Sigh. Just because you can teach an old dog new tricks, it just might be better not to in some cases.

Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at

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