TASC List: Year of the Dog, gone it

It’s 2018 and in Chinese astrology, a big one for canines. So we’ll examine some dog stories of interest, and forecast a few events and happenings that might influence our lives this year. Here are four stories about four-footed friends.

1) A special education program has been unveiled in several upstate New York school districts to retrain and refocus families and their dogs on proper behavior at home and in the community. The facilities were available, the open spaces were unused, and the SPED staffs highly supportive of taking the opportunity to up level skill sets and motivation of both the animals and their principal handlers. “The kids were failing at social interaction, not getting enough play and fresh air time, and the dogs were misbehaving. We think together, most of these gaps can be eliminated,” said the program director.

2) A wedding planner firm in Virginia has introduced an option that involves having the bride’s dog act as ring bearer and/or flower girl at the ceremony. Chloe, for example, can come down the aisle unattended to deliver the marriage bands on cue, and strew rose petals among the guests. This bonds forever the couple and their memories of the event, and initiates a strong connection between the groom and his partner’s former favorite companion. Triangular relationships are notoriously difficult to manage in today’s highly stressed environments, according to the business owner.

3) The Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL announced that if the team, as underdogs, defeated the favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, they would distribute a year’s supply of dog treats to every season ticket holder family with a canine home companion. The now famous dog masks worn by fans and players were out of stock or they would have been a part of this arrangement. Actually, the Philadelphia Police Department wasn’t especially keen on that aspect, having had their hands full of unruly celebrations and unpleasant animal behaviors in what few victory parties filled the Philly streets in the past.

4) Cairo, the brave Belgian Malinois (military working dog) that participated in the Seal Team Six Pakistan raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, returned to his former U.S. trainer/handler for a refresher course. The dog severely lacerated his trainer’s hand during a routine maneuver. He had been muzzled when meeting President Obama, who was advised in advance to “bring treats” to a White House recognition event.

So those are recent news stories. But three of them are “fake news.” Perhaps you can determine which one is genuine. And while you contemplate that question, here are some Dog Year predictions for Wilton.

  1. A) There’ll be a dog fight at the upcoming Annual Town Meeting to determine new budget levels. Snapping and snarling will be less visible, but the unmuzzled will still have their barking voices.
  2. B) All leash law restrictions will be removed as the Cruelty to Animals group rides a rising tide of concerns for abuse and mistreatment.
  3. C) Dog teams will replace snowmobiles for emergency response within disastrous snow events, due to concern for environmental wear and tear.
  4. D) A Wilton Dog Show (Westminster spin-off) will be introduced here as an annual event in an effort to attract more home buyers, animal fanciers, and raise the utilization rates of certain public places.  

Now for the true “news.”  Item 4 is authentic. I actually met the DOD subcontractor who trained Cairo. His hand had just been sutured and I had a chance to capture a bit of the saliva from a real unmuzzled American hero. That same deputy sheriff, on an official ride to Boston’s Logan Airport to catch an international flight, Skyped his sister in Dublin to tell her that he had a very important individual in his vehicle. She immediately asked “Is it Cairo?” Answer: “No, Rory McIlroy.” (Fresh from a celebrity golf tournament, but late for his plane.)  

Just remember that the Year of the Dog will be half over when we reach the dog days of August.

TASC stands for Toward A Stronger Community. Contact: brennerjoe@aol.com.