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May 26, 2024

Ask Strider: Living well is the best revenge

Just walk away, Renee. Image by Shrikesh Kumar from Pixabay
April 9, 2024

When you’re outraged, chill — and if you can’t do something about it, go for a walk

By Strider the Dog

Dear Strider,

I don’t know how much you read the news, but it’s pretty bad these days. Something I read today shocked me to my core. Somebody named Lenny Flank is writing a book about hidden histories, and he reported, “In the 1960s, the CIA made a failed attempt to use bugged cats as spies.”

It’s an incredible and horrible story. These CIA clowns actually took feral cats off the street in Moscow, opened them up, put radio transmitters in them, and tried to train them to walk next to people having conversations on the street. And this isn’t even a conspiracy theory! I looked it up. It really happened. They called it “Acoustic Kitty”!

Isn’t this horrible? I thought I’d ask a dog’s opinion of this kind of behavior. This kind of thing must still be happening. What can we do to stop it?

What do you think?

— Outraged in Ashland

Strider the Dog

Dear Outraged,

Whew.

I’m outraged too.

Call me as patriotic a dog as the next canine, but this is really too much for me to swallow. And I’ve swallowed a lot of horrible things in my days as a street dog. Not only was it horrible, but it was stupid. Didn’t they know you can’t train a cat to do anything it doesn’t want to?

My days as a street dog, in between times I ran away from three different homes (don’t ask), leave me unsurprised at the awful things human beings can get up to. No dog would behave like this. I don’t even think a cat would. Which is really an indictment.

Dogs and cats know everything in the universe is conscious. I mean, look at me. But a lot of humans don’t know that yet.

Just the other day, I was having a discussion about this in our front meadow, with one of my pals, the Old Cedar Tree. It was just shaking its crown at some of the human stupidity it’s seen in its time. And we are talking a tree that’s observed squirrels.

One weird thing about humans is they go through this period where they think they’re more important than anything else in the universe — that they have the right to use everything for themselves, beyond what they need. Well, maybe cats are kind of like that. But even that’s not the same. Cats enjoy their lives, even if I may disagree with some of their ideas of fun.

You can have power over something or someone, or you can have love. You can’t have both. And having love is much more fun.

I appreciate your asking me what can be done about unhappy people who take it out on other beings. But remember, I’m only a dog. This happened a long time ago, am I right? My best suggestion: Don’t stay outraged long enough to make yourself miserable.  If there’s nothing you can do about a situation then and there, then get on with enjoying your life until there is something you can do. Like voting, for example. In the meantime, be happy. And be kind. It has to be contagious. We see it all the time in the dog park. Even the meanest dog cheers up when there is genuine frolicking going on around it. And when you’re kind, generally it unbends. Unless it’s sick for some reason.

I bet those CIA guys were sick puppies, and that they were making everyone sick around them. If one of them had saved one of those cats, maybe it would have made the other ones think. And try to live differently. More like a dog. Maybe one of them did and changed things.  I like to think that happened.

A dog knows there are bad things in the world. But if there is nothing they can immediately do about it, instead they nudge someone they love to go on a walk. I’m hoping you have someone to nudge. Myself, I just kept running away from bad homes until I found the right nudgee. After a nice walk with her, I’m happy. And I’m kinder to everyone around me. Even the dog across the street. The poor thing never gets out, that’s why he barks like a maniac when I come around to smell his flowers.

Good luck.

I was a street dog, now I’m a dog about town. The dog park teaches many things. Got a problem? I’ll wag, not bark. Just email askstrider@ashland.news.

Picture of Tod

Tod

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