If you’re one of those Extremely Online people, you’ve probably seen the Wall Street Journal dueling op-eds from a couple weeks back. The woodcut-type illustrations say it all:
I don’t have a thing against cats, but I’ve never had one. Alan’s allergic (he claims), and so we’re a dog family. Needless to say, Wendy has been a perfect colleague over the last seven weeks, better than an Apple watch for suggesting, maybe it’s time to stand up, stretch your legs, and…maybe take a stroll around the block? If that doesn’t work, she’s always up for a nap.
People do a lot of dog-walking around here, and when the weather was chilly, it was one place you might run into your neighbors. At the very least, you see another dog-owner, and you nod, or wave. If a person has a dog, there’s a good chance — not a perfect chance — that they have some decency to them. I respect anyone’s choice not to have a dog or cat or bunny or hamster, but someone who simply dislikes animals? Can’t trust ’em. Pets undeniably bring complications to a human life — vet bills and hair and more hair and sometimes middle-of-the-night barfing (thanks, Wendy). But there are so many rewards; they really do enrich your life.
So I was interested to read this piece in the NYT about presidential dogs. Especially this passage:
It’s true many presidential dogs have been used to help shape a politician’s image — cue Richard Nixon and his Checkers speech, or Herbert Hoover’s campaign photo of himself posing with his shepherd, King Tut. But surely the presence of an FDOTUS has other, less cynical effects. Is it so wrong to think that Donald Trump’s character might have been changed — just the smallest bit — if there were a dog beneath his roof?
It almost happened. On Thanksgiving in 2016, Mr. Trump’s friend Lois Pope told the president she wanted to give him a Goldendoodle named Patton (after the general). Ms. Pope thought it might be sweet for Barron Trump, the president’s son, to have a dog in the White House. She showed the boy a photo of Patton, and she said later, “This big smile came over his face, and it just brought tears to his eyes.”
But Mr. Trump told Ms. Pope he was too busy for a dog. Later, he told supporters he didn’t need one. Because “that’s not the relationship I have with my people.”
Maybe. But if he’d become the owner of a Goldendoodle, maybe he’d have had a different relationship — and not just with “his people,” but with all of us. Because a dog might have encouraged Mr. Trump to take himself just a little less seriously. Because a dog might have given him someone to love besides himself.
A man who watches TV all day, has a vast staff to take care of his household needs, including feeding, cleaning up after and walking the dog, gives a refusal that is not only insulting, but like everything else out of his mouth, fundamentally dishonest. And narcissistic. But not a bit surprising.
But you knew that.
A good weekend here. Got one room cleaned down to its individual molecules. Got a bike ride. Got Wendy walked a few times. Got groceries. Can’t ask for more than that.
And now week eight begins. Hard to believe, but there it is.