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A Leash Around My Neck

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By: Wassef Moukalled  



 
Page 21 Profile News USA Edition Feb-09 بروفايل نيوز
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A leash around my neck
What is this amazing love for dogs? Has the dog really become our best friend? How do we explain this phenomenon, where more than half of all Americans own dogs? They sleep in our beds and enjoy our laps while their tongue is licking a piece of bread of off the lips of their owners.
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It should come as no surprise that in his acceptance speech Barack Obama told his daughters Malia and Sasha: “I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us.”
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What “forced” President Harry Truman to say: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”? And how about Fala, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Scottie, who was buried alongside his master. Roosevelt responded to a false story that Fala had been left behind on a trip to the Aleutian Islands, in a speech in which he said: “I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself...But I think I have a right to resent, to object to, libelous statements about my dog.
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President Lyndon Johnson caused an uproar when he was pictured picking up his beagles, Him and Her, by their ears. How about President Bill Clinton’s dog, Buddy? After he left office Buddy was accidentally killed near the family home in Chappaqua, New York, when a vehicle ran over it. Bill was said to be heartbroken.
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Was President Truman right when he made his statement about a “friend in Washington” or did social gaps and the week family ties “push” us to seek love, affection and friendship from dogs? What humanitarian laws would allow the rich Leona Helmsley to leave twelve million dollars for her dog “Trouble” when many children in this world don’t have a glass of milk to drink?
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Not every dog is a friend! President Bushes’ dog bit a reporter at the White House in November 2008, and “Fala” bit the French Ambassador before she was sent to the President summer house in Long Island, even my family suffered tremendously in 1955 when a rabid dog bit my nine year old brother, who died 25 days later.
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This phenomenon did not stop here in the USA. It continued all the way to Lebanon, where I felt it most while I was running along the Mediterranean Sea during my last visit in August. I saw more dogs then I saw cars and their “traffic” was even worse than the traffic caused by cars. It was so obvious to me how “proud” their owners were, walking along side their dogs. I had to zigzag between them so I wouldn’t disrupt their views while they were enjoying the beauty of the Mediterranean.
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I’m not against having a dog. I owned a dog who was hit by a car in front of our house. He had his own birth certificate and a comprehensive family tree, I was heartbroken when I saw my children crying and saying good bye to “Junior”.
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What I’m against is buying the fancy clothes for my dog while some children are dressed in rags and don't have more than crumbs to eat.
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I can’t even imagine seeing some children unable to “taste” the beauty of sleep just because they go to bed without dinner, some children may not even arrive at the “highway” of youth, just because the sickness may ambush them before they arrive. It bothers me to consider my dog as a friend while we as human beings are feuding. How can I accept the existence of special dog houses while some people still sleep under a tree with its leaves as their only blanket?
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I don’t want to sound pessimistic here, but yes, I’m concerned about that day when I see dogs in a demonstration demanding their rights, and also anticipating that day when we see dogs driving cars while we are walking on the sidewalk. Yes I’m wary of that day when my dog becomes my master and his leash is around my neck.

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