Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

MC Weekly

December 4, 2013

RAY MOSCOWITZ: Man's best friend? You better believe it

'Unconditional love' of dogs can make stresses cease.

A dog is a man’s best friend.

So goes the expression that came about in 1870, according to Wikipedia. That’s when George Vest, a Missouri lawyer, represented a client who alleged his foxhound was killed by a sheep farmer. The dog’s owner sued for damages — the maximum of $50 — and during his closing argument, Vest reportedly said a dog is a man’s best friend.

That hasn’t been the case for me. When I was 8 years old, I got bitten by a neighbor’s dog, which resulted in rabies shots. Yeah, they hurt like …

Understandably, I’ve had a fear of dogs for decades, but it has waned in recent years. Meanwhile, I’ve seen evidence the expression has validity.

For example, friends in southern California are mourning the death of their dachshund, Molly — so much so, their distress has been palpable.

A medical problem makes it difficult for the woman to use her hands. But the malady didn’t stop her from making “a sweet little coffin for Molly — all pink (her favorite color) and white lacy and softest things.”

Molly’s passing reminded me of another dachshund worshipped by its owners, Joe and Jody Slacian. Joe is a longtime newspaper colleague.

Like others who are my Facebook friends, Joe regularly posts things about dogs, specifically his dachshund, Payton.

Joe is a big Chicago Bears fan from The Region. So when the Slacians’ daughters gave him a dachshund for Christmas in 2004, he said they could name him Walter or Payton — after the great Bears running back.

“No matter what kind of day I've had at the office,” Joe says, “I can always count on a wagging tail and a few slobbery kisses from him when I get home and it helps make the problems fade away, at least temporarily.”

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