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The HSUS blow-up reminded me of the dog game past and present.



by Fred Lanting, All-Breed Judge, SAAB Member


There’s a lot of hanky-panky in this human universe and the dog world is no exception.


Sex is just about the most powerful drive of humans between adolescence and the decrepitude that marks either senility or inability. Any dog person knows very well how strong it is in canines, in the absence of social, moral, or religious inhibitions. We have seen crates demolished, fences climbed, paws bloodied, miles roamed, weight lost, doors destroyed, dogs run over by cars or trucks, and even owners’ sleep made impossible when the heat of estrus works on both our male and female furry friends.


It’s not quite that incendiary in Homo not-so-sapiens, but an equal or greater amount of damage can be done when hormones and egos rage. A recent sex scandal in the dog world follows closely upon the hocks of the ones in the athletic-competition arena, the political field, and work places. Periodic (monthly) “heat” in female humans is often at an immeasurably or unnoticeably low level but people on the other hand, can work up a head of steam just as easily without lunar or hormonal fluctuations. Just an idea or a suggestion, or even a seemingly unrelated circumstance (such as being away from home for a while and faced with attractions we’re not used to) can be as dangerous as a male pooch roaming across the roads with romance on his mind.


Many dog fanciers never enter that arena of enticement but I have seen many who have. One example comes immediately to mind: when I was a pro handler, one of my clients and I were at a motel show-site and he wanted to find the man who he had bought his dog from, a well-known breeder-judge who was there to officiate.


We found out from the front desk what room he was in and went down to see if he was in, since we had not found him on the grounds.


When we got to the right room, we fun-loving two decided to joke a bit. I pounded heavily and lengthily on the door, calling out in a very loud, deep voice, “House detective! Open up!”, figuring he’d get a kick out of it, too. Well, he indeed hurried to open for “the law” and when he did, the door being wide open, we saw a naked lady rush across from bed to chair to grab her clothes. It was an exhibitor (yes, you can chuckle about that word) who was (oh, my! another pun!) going to show under him later that day. It wasn’t very much later that they both divorced their spouses and married each other but I don’t think the new arrangement stayed hooked many years afterward.


Another day, another show weekend: exhibitors, club workers, and the judge were at a post-show dinner and one of the officers, an attractive woman, was seated next to the judge. As the meal was ending and refreshments were being enjoyed, I noticed that the judge was especially enjoying himself. I don’t think anyone other than I and the lady knew what was going on but she later told me and a couple other friends that he had been running his hand up her dress, hidden by the tablecloth and the fact everybody else was busy chatting and drinking. I could see at the time that her smile had been a little forced.


The surprising and very unfortunate thing about this incident was that this judge made his living as a “radio evangelist” spouting slogans, aphorisms, and messages that led up to pleas for listeners to send in their dollars and get his blessings. For a very substantial amount donated, he would “bless” a hanky or such and send it back. No wonder some people are turned off by what masquerades as religion.


Being away from home, or in any circumstance different from the daily family environment, opens a vista of other possibilities. Without a strong moral anchor, it is very easy for one’s ship to drift on strange currents and winds. The combination of temptation, opportunity, and lack of an anchor can be damaging. I remember the late, great evangelist Billy Graham saying that he never allowed himself to be alone with a woman other than his wife, and yet his moral strength was far greater than that of almost anyone else I had ever encountered.


I cannot leave this topic without a little grandfatherly advice to women faced with such pressures. “Girls, ladies, there are worse things than not getting promoted or not keeping a job. You must be honest with yourselves and remember the old adage, “It takes two to tango”” whenever a touchy situation arises.


You won’t starve, it won’t be the end of the world and you just might find that you are truly valued a whole lot more elsewhere, especially in the closet of your own conscience.



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