It's funny what you will see if you look beyond the picture.

For instance, I found out from an old National Geographic magazine that man and dog have been together for the last 15,000 years. Having lived with a herding dog for the past five years I have to wonder that the relationship has lasted that long. I gave up on telling people where I am going, when I will be home and what I intend to do a long, long time ago.

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If asked I usually just say, "Out!" and go. You don't get away with that stuff with a herding dog.

I am beginning to believe that I need a pictograph mounted at about 18 inches off the floor so that I can leave messages for the blue dog.

Picture of truck, picture of grocery store, picture of art store, picture of post office, and I still have no way of knowing how to picture hours for him.

Television shows? News leaves him cold, Dr. Phil likewise (he figures if folks are that far out of line someone ought to just go ahead and bite them and have done with it) and I rarely leave the house before we have watched "The Dog Whisperer" together at 7 a.m. so that's out.

If I am gone for any measurable length of time, when I come home not only the dog but the cat too are in their accustomed places at the couch — him on the floor, her on the back of the sofa — with ticked off expressions on their faces. The cat can last a lot longer than the dog at being ticked off, though, that's for sure.

It's even worse for the person whose house I share. Although she actually owns the house she is low man — er, woman — on the totem pole. She gets herded by the dog, ordered around by the cat and as both of them seem to see me as a non-starter when it comes to being either herded or sulked into submission it would seem that I am high, um, person on the totem pole.

Considering what most of the faces on a totem pole look like it has always seemed to me that being on one of them is no great shakes anyway as a compliment.

Going back to that magazine, the same article says that goats, sheep, pigs, cattle and cats were given the signal honor of becoming friends to man about 10,000 years ago. Given that, with the exception of the cat, they were then added to our regular menu. I wonder how much of a compliment that association was for them.

Cats have done all right for themselves until recently when they, too, were added to the dog as objects that could be bred into numerous vaguely insulting forms for the delectation of their human admirers. Sometimes it's better to just say what the heck and leave an animal alone to be the best of what it is, you know?

And then a little over 5,000 years ago horses came off the menu and were put to work. Given man's penchant for often abusing the horse as a working animal when it was employed by him, I would think that the horse would have done better to just stay out there and be thought of as dinner.

There were always people who would live less well than their horses and who thought of their horses' comfort ahead of their own but there were also a whole lot of folks who lacked that compassion.

In his association with the animals that the Lord created and then said that man was in charge of (see Genesis 2:19-20 if you won't take my word for it), it would seem that it might have been better for many of those animals to just have spent their lives answering to, "Hey, you!"

However, in a technical aside to the hunter/jumper folks, according to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, the word for the horse came from the word "leaping" and, in addition, the word for fox came from "as a burrower" which makes me wonder if that was before foxes figured out that they could live in other animal's burrows just as well with far less sweat equity involved.

Clever creatures, foxes.

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There seems to be some argument whether Eve was around when Adam named the animals. It all seems past worrying over (please, I beg of you, don't get in touch with proof in either direction) but I would guess perhaps not.

My proof — all that I have I admit — is that the word "cat" probably doesn't come from the Hebrew word for "fluffy," and the Hebrew word for snake comes from "hiss." Not, "Hey, whatchu got there, Apples?"

Which, sadly, is what Eve might have said.

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