Huw Le Lytle’s …
Bedlington Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and Happiness
Selection of Friends
Acquaintance I would have, but when’t depends
Not on the number, but the choice of friends
Abraham Cowley, “Of Myself”, 1668
One of the most important things for the young dog to remember is that we are by our very nature social beings. However, dogs desire and seek not only the society and culture of our fellow dogs, but also the society of humans. In fact, we are almost unique in our proficiency for deciphering the peculiar language of humans, their frequent states of unintelligibility, and their propensity for confusion and unpredictability. No other animal is as gifted as the dog at decoding the human being.
Thus, the young dog must nurture the companionship of not only other dogs but also the human being. When it comes to selecting a human, the young dog must take great care to recognise every opportunity to avoid the feckless and reckless of that species. In particular, exercise caution and learn to respond quickly to the unfriendly disposition of that inexplicable being, the human that does not like dogs. As soon as such a disposition is detected, make haste and seek instead the company of the dog lover. The dog lover will be easily recognised, instantly identifiable as trustworthy, more attractive, and usually surrounded by dogs.
In selecting the company of other dogs, aspire to the friendship of the most principled and praiseworthy of one’s peers, for they will influence the young and impressionable in their habits, preferences, and zoomies.
In the society of the dog park, be sensible to the judgment that may be cast one’s way. If one selects the company of the picnic stealer, the jogger jostler, the bicycle botherer, then one can be sure to be judged by the company one keeps. However blameless one may be in a picnic raid, one can be certain that any laudable conduct will be obscured by the shenanigans of one’s companion as they make off with the sandwiches.
The young dog is thus counselled to select their friends with due care and attention to their character, reputation, and shared tastes in treats. In park life, it is all too easy to squander the value of a good reputation.
Of course, in the delights of park life, the selection of friends is unpredictable and subject to chance. Nevertheless, if one should find oneself consorting with an associate of questionable sentiment and character, all is not lost. I find it is best to make haste away from any conflict in some sort of cheese-inspired distraction in the opposite direction. Sometimes it is not even possible to bid a polite farewell, but the niceties of park life must sometimes give way to self-preservation.
However, it is not dogs of which I speak. When it comes to the wicked and unpredictable, at times the greatest dangers are those presented by humans. If the young dog sees a human striking a dog, or imposing distress in any way, be swift to create some distance. Sadly, the ruin of many young dogs can be attributed to the same vice – bad humans.
Thus, when your human entreats you to escape the influence of the bad human, take heed. The good human will anticipate the dangers around you, the perils that are ready to run off with your good character and healthy prospects, just as quickly as Jeff runs off with a warm sock from the dryer.
There are always more socks, but good character must be kept safe out of harm’s reach.