Monday, September 7, 2009

All Dogs Need Jobs!

Today is a holiday called Labor Day. I don't know if I totally understand what it's for, but it seems to be about celebrating work. And the way you do this is by taking the day off from work. Go figure. Also Labor Day is the last official day of summer. This makes me sad because when summer ends, the cicada season also ends. We are already not finding as many cicadas as before, but I don't want to talk about such sad things on a holiday.

What I want to talk about instead is dogs that have jobs, because lots of dogs do, you know. For example, my distant cousins, the basenjis in Africa, are hunters. That is their job and their reason for being. They help their people find small animals to eat. Basenjis are very good at hunting because they can hunt by sight and by smell, too. And they can jump up high so they can see over the tall African grass. American basenjis sometimes use this jumping skill to get on the kitchen counter and hunt down meat that is left out to thaw.

There are lots of other kinds of jobs that dogs can have besides hunting, though. Some dogs herd sheep or cattle. An example of a dog that herds sheep is a border collie. Border collies have tons of energy that they can use to herd sheep, and if they don't have any sheep to herd, they might try to herd geese or small children. Or they might just drive their people crazy by tearing up everything in the house.

Another job that a dog can have is finding people who are lost or people who are criminals. Bloodhounds are really good at this kind of job. They have extra super good noses for tracking people. And they have really long ears that drag through the grass and stir up the scents so they can smell them better. Basset hounds do this same thing with their ears, too, but personally, I prefer nice prick ears that stand up and look cute on top of your head.

People are really kind of dumb when it comes to knowing how to use the superior skills that dogs have. But people are slowly figuring it out. Nowadays dogs are getting trained for all kinds of important work. They can lead blind people or tell deaf people if the baby is crying. They know if somebody is going to have a seizure or if they are becoming crazy because they forgot to take their meds. Dogs can help kids learn to read better or feel better when they are sick or be less lonely. And dogs can do all kinds of helpful stuff for people who are in wheelchairs.

Dogs are even starting to help soldiers who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a fancy way of saying that people got really scared when they were in the war and it made them scared of stuff that is not really scary for regular people. Last week I heard about some Rhodesian Ridgebacks who were trained to help soldiers because the dogs can tell if the soldiers are about to have a flashback and remember something scary that happened in the war.

I think probably every dog should have some kind of job, even if it's just being a best friend for your human. To be a best friend, all you have to do is listen when your person needs to talk, and you should love them even if they are ugly or wear funny clothes or whatever. But you don't have to love them if they are mean to you or if they forget to feed you or if they make you stay on a chain in the back yard all the time.

Some dogs were bred just to do the job of being a companion. An example of this is the pekingese, which is a funny-looking, long-haired dog from China. A long time ago, the monks in China created the pekingese breed for the empress and all the other ladies in the court. Mostly these dogs just sat on the ladies' laps and looked cute while they got petted. Also they helped keep the ladies' laps warm because in those days, they didn't have furnaces in Chinese houses, so it was cold there in the winter.

Anyway, my point is that dogs are happier if they have jobs. Being a best friend to your human is as important as herding sheep, at least in my opinion. So that's what Labor Day should be about. It should be about all the dogs in the world and all the work they do!


  1. Piper,
    Your photo from yesterday is very beautiful. I enjoyed reading your post about all the jobs dogs do and agree that being a companion is a very important job! LeeBeth

  2. Thanks for your comment, LeeBeth! I'm glad you liked my photo. Of course, I look especially beautiful when I am enjoying something yummy like a Greenie, which is what I was eating when the photo was taken. Unfortunately, we don't get Greenies anymore because they have wheat in them, which Barry and Gabe are allergic to. My brothers have ruined my life, but usually I still like them anyway!