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Submitted by Albin Johnson - March 18, 2006

I live in a development called Forrester Ranch in the city of San Clemente, CA. I like to think of it as a "dog hive" of K9 (forgive me) activity. I estimate that 90% of the Families have a dog or two living in their homes. We have a wonderful long greenbelt that parallels the road into the development. There is a broad sidewalk and a well-kept grass lawn that is an invitation for folks to stroll, especially in the mornings, along with their dogs. Weekdays find the women delivering their children to school and then, with the company of their dogs walking or jogging along. The area has several doggy litterbag stations for folks to clean up after their pets. It has been my observation that only about half the men dutifully do the pickup while virtually every woman does! Why? My guess is that some men never had to change their baby's diapers.

My street and neighbors have dogs. Lots of dogs. One next-door neighbor has 2 huge dogs. He is a Minister so he and his family predictably named the old Golden Retriever Toby after Tobias and the bigger younger Golden Lab, Amos. Amos is a great dog, but whines like a spoiled baby if he can't go into their house. I must admit that his baby act embarrasses me and I will often talk to him over the fence and remind him that he is a "he-dog". Another good friend across the street recently invited her mother to live with them. She brought a little sit-in-your-lap white "fluff ball" with her. Lord help me but his name is Buster!!! Buster barks continuously when all are gone. I have visited Buster often telling him he is behaving like a spoiled "sissy". Doesn't help. Frankly he's a housedog and has never left his guardians side. Grow up Buster!!! Some other neighbors may have complained, as he now has the run of the house when they all leave.

Suffice it to say, Dogs are big with most people. There is a lot of speculation and explanation as to why canines are so revered. My early Minonk life included a black Cocker Spaniel called Topsy. I enjoyed playing with her until puberty set in and then I found human females much more interesting. It was many years later through high school, college, Navy, marriage, children, more college, and aerospace that brought me back to dogs. My family and I decided on a "second hand" dog found at the pound. She was a beautiful young Collie and great with the kids. She started to show a real demand to be involved with us and didn't like being alone. She would get frustrated when sent outside. We soon found she liked to dig and chew on anything. This little affectation came to an abrupt end when my wife purchased, washed and hung 2 dozen new diapers on the line to dry. Well, Candy preceded to pull them all down and drag them around the yard. When I saw the destruction, I lost it, and grabbed the closest thing, geranium plant stems and set out to punish Candy, She wised up instantly; dropping the diapers she fled for her life with me racing after her down the block. My kids still love to recite the curse words I spoke and to laugh at me chasing a terrified Candy. Years later when finding her lifeless body in the back yard, I cried openly and silently asked forgiveness for the diaper thing.

It was not too long afterwards that our teenagers wanted another dog. Now careful explanations of everyone's responsibilities led to the adopting a beautiful fun loving Irish Setter pup. We named her Terra Cotta. She was very active and loved people, especially children. Our home had a 5-foot sidewall to our yard and when the children passed on the way to school, they would stop and chat with Terra. Soon she found she could jump the wall and follow the kids to school perhaps with the idea she could also attend class! After several "finders fees" and our kids leaving the nest, I thought it best to take her to a pet adoption agency for some new family to enjoy. OK so I am selfish.

Now, are you ready for a little "dog trivia"? What does it mean to "let sleeping dogs lie"? Or "barking dogs never bite"? Or what is meant by "a 3 dog night"?
* A recent survey listed "Max" as the most popular dog's name, Sam, Zack, Mollie, and Maggie are also popular names.
* One poll taken by hospital workers showed that 33% of dog owners talk to their dogs on the phone or leave messages on the answer machine while away.
* An estimated 1 million dogs in this country have been listed as primary beneficiaries in the owner's will.
* Barbara Bush wrote a book about her dog Millie.
* Dogs are mentioned 14 times in the Bible.
* All breeds of dogs have pink tongues except the Chow whose tongue is black
* Prairie dogs are not dogs. Thank goodness!
* One survey taken noted that 1/3rd of pet owners had more pictures of the pets than their children.
* Research has found that dog's memories only last about 5 minutes! I doubt that!!!
* Dogs sweat from the pads on their feet not their tongues. Hum!
* If you remember Cracker Jacks, the dog on the box is named "Bingo".
* The most popular breeds in America are the Golden Retriever and the Labrador.
* Based on an average dog's lifespan, the cost of owning a dog could be over $13,000. Really, I wonder?
* Feeding a dog chocolate could be fatal to the dog.

Someone quipped that cats are smarter than dogs because you will never see 8 cats pulling a dog sled. And someone mentioned that Man is a dog's idea of what God should be. Also, that a dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself. Finally, 2006 is "The Year of the Dog" describes this year's Chinese Calendar.

Take a trip to PETCO, the animal pet store and become introduced to a whole new world of "doggy" things. Especially interesting and informative are the Magazines displayed there. A few are: "Urban Dog", "BARK", "Whole Dog Journal", "Dog Fancy", "Fido Friendly", "Your Dog", "Dog Watch", "Animal Awareness" and "Modern Dog". I noted one article describing the benefits of taking your dog to the popular "dog parks". A great place for dogs, as well as people, to meet and form a lasting relationship or perhaps a future matrimonial mate. I end with this observation: I am sure that old Biblical Noah told his crew that if the Ark started to sink, "Save the Dogs first".