Sunday, August 15, 2010

Don't Insult your Dog, Make the "Dog Days of Summer" Count - Go Vote!

The end of summer is growing near, the temperatures are rising, Election Day is upon us, and the beginning of the school year is fast approaching – it is officially the “Dog Days of Summer”. That term, the “Dog Days of Summer”, got me thinking about two seemingly unrelated topics: 1.) My dog, Tucker; and 2.) Election Day. Before I use my intellectual depth and literary talents (please stifle your laughter) to “WOW” you by skillfully tying these topics together, let me take this opportunity to give you some totally useless trivia information - the term, “Dog Days of Summer” actually comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, was somehow responsible for the hot weather typically present in the time period between July and September. Impressed? Well, buckle up and get ready, because we are about to take a random trip into the deranged and disconnected mind of this author.

Growing up, I always believed the term; “Dog Days of Summer” was really alluding to the fact that it was so hot that dogs, who wear a natural coat of fur, must be incredibly uncomfortable in these long days of unbearable heat and high humidity. Tucker, our family dog, has never been much of an outside dog. He prefers the luxury of down comforters, plush pillows, and air-conditioning over the oppressive humidity and pollen-filled air that causes him to pant and itch with allergies. Yes, my dog is a sorry excuse for a dog and would probably lose his membership in the local canine union if they knew about his human-like tendencies and behaviors, but I digress.

Because of this heat and humidity that seems to cause what can only be described as an allergic reaction in my dog, he doesn’t get out much. However, one recent morning I took him to run some errands and while I was out, I drove by one of our early voting precincts. I considered running in to participate in the great American privilege of voting when I remembered I had Tucker with me and he is probably not a welcome visitor to our local courthouse. I continued on to vote another day.

While I drove home past the infinite number of campaign signs, I considered the great American tradition of voting and how unfair it seems that our pets are so harshly discriminated against in not being able to participate. It may be the fact they are subject to our dictatorial-style of ownership, but more likely it is because of their small brains having the inability to make thoughtful decisions at such a high level. I mean, really, how many times can I fake throw the tennis ball before my dog figures out that it is still in my hand, right? To take it a step further down Discriminatory Road, at one time, all across this great land, the position of Dog Catcher was on the local ballots. I started thinking about how that decision was made and imagined the conversation, “Mr. Mayor, we’ve got a stray dog problem, how can you solve it?”

“I think we need someone to catch some of these dogs.”

“Who do you think could do that Mr. Mayor?”

“I think this is too big of a position for any one person to decide, I say we leave this important decision to the people. Put it on the ballot!”

Really? At some point in time we thought this decision was too political to be appointed and we therefore made it an elected position? Can you imagine the heated debates this caused in a community? I can see the campaign slogans now, “Vote Smith for Dog Catcher. He’ll make Strays Squat and Pee in Fear!”

The fact is the dog catcher is no longer on the ballot. Therefore, Tucker supports your participation in the electoral during the “Dog Days of Summer.” He reminds you to not insult your pet by not participating in this wonderful privilege that they can’t share in. However, he quickly points out that even if he can’t vote, he does get to sleep in a plush bed with air conditioning all day long. Pulled it all together neatly didn’t I, how do you like them apples?

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