From the Left



Police Dogs Are Better Than You Are

Marc Munroe Dion on

When an elderly woman she knew buried her husband cheap, without even a Catholic Mass, an old aunt of mine said, "She buried that man like he was a dog."

The man remains buried. Not a "woof" out of him.

Where I live, in Massachusetts, what we used to call a "police dog" was recently killed in the line of duty. We don't call them "police dogs" anymore. Even reporters type "K-9," which shortens the word count in the reporter's story but has the virtue of sounding military, and sounding military is one of the few virtues America has left.

Ah, but American English is changing, and what we say is now much more important than what we do, and what a thing is has become much less important than what the thing is called.

The dog got shot because his handler took him to work that day.

I've owned couple of dogs in my life, and both of them would have died for me.


One of those dogs I bought for $40 cash, and the other was a dog someone gave me. Dogs don't get to pick where they live or with whom. You want a dog. You buy a dog. You love the dog. You beat the dog. You put the dog in a ring to fight. You use the dog to retrieve dead ducks. The dog will die for you, which is either nobility or incredible stupidity on the part of the dog.

Police departments buy their "K-9s." There's an item in the departmental budget that says "Dog Buying," or more likely "K-9 Procurement," and so it's like the dog is drafted.

And the dog goes to work, becomes a K-9 with a handler, and someone gives the dog a name, and it's like an inspiring book you'd read to little kids if you wanted them to grow up and be good citizens.

"K-9 Willy," the book could be called, and it would be thin, and the words in it would be small, and I don't think Willy would die at the end of the book because that'd give kids nightmares.


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