In the U.S., More Than Anywhere, We Care About Somebody’s Dog

By Jim Berlin

It was high noon in a major intersection in a large Arizona city – four lanes in all directions – but most cars had slowed to a nervous crawl because of the living obstruction in the road: A half-grown Boxer pup, eyes as wide as silver dollars, pacing and darting in a circle of confusion as driver-after-driver sought to avoid him.

Because there is a leash-law in place, every loose dog is somebody’s dog, an adventurous escapee or unwilling wanderer temporarily separated from hearth and home. And in America at least, no sane person wants to hurt somebody’s dog.

In America, somebody’s dog is everybody’s dog, a loved and pampered species that has wagged its way into the hearts of us all.

But it wasn’t looking good for the pup. Drivers unaware of the drama were crowding the creepers and pushing hard into the intersection. It was just a matter of time.

My police uniform shirt has hung unworn in a closet for 15 years, but you never get it off your back. Hell, I didn’t even have a whistle, but I started to get out of my car anyway. I would just go out there, stop traffic somehow, scoop him up, make everything right.

Then I saw a kid on the far corner, early 20s, down on one knee and calling the dog as loud as he could. The pup saw him, too, and all his fear and confusion fell away. He raced from the street and into the boy’s arms and horns

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honked everywhere in celebration.

I pulled next to the kid as he put the dog back in the cab of his truck– and some truck it was. A full-sized 3’ x 5’ American flag was mounted on the back. The kid was obviously a vet, an over-the-top patriot.

“He rides with me every day, every day!” he shouted. “And for some reason he just jumped out the window!”

Then off he went, the flag snapping to full attention in the wind as he headed home with his pup.

In America, more than anywhere else on Earth, we care about somebody’s dog.