A video sent via WhatsApp shows a dog licking a baby, and winning amused approval from the mother.
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If we don’t dwell on the risks, the meat-tearing teeth, the canine tongue, nor where the tongue might recently have visited, the video is cute, sweet, even endearing.
But it also revealed that I must be getting long in the tooth.
What's the dog thinking?
It brought a reminder that lessons from childhood are seldom forgotten.
As we know from life and see constantly as a weapon of religion, give a dog a bad name …
We can guess what a mother looking on might fear, but how interesting to know what passes through a dog's mind at such playful moments.
And that's particularly so in Britain because so many share human lives, where they are often treated more like humans than many humans. But also, lest we forget, a few do savage our species.
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Down Under, campaigns discouraged people from even touching a dog.
Grossly unfair for most
It must have been grossly unfair for the majority of canines which in that part of the world lived a dogs’ life. From what I saw on farms in those days, working dogs really were treated worse than appallingly.
Even so, dogs trained in shepherding and herding responded to work with enviable diligence. And yet their reward – their treatment - was ghastly.
Although only a very few dogs were allowed into a house, only a lucky handful would have known the luxury of a kennel, even during severe winters.
I couldn’t count the number of times I saw dogs beaten, thrashed, whipped, to - as the expression goes - within an inch of their lives. To live a dogs’ life certainly had a negative interpretation in those days.
Happily, the disease has been controlled and the cruelty seems to have vanished.