It is said that purchasing a dog for a child helps teach him or her responsibility. But Commentator Fred Flaxman learned more about irresponsibility from his childhood dog, Buster, than about responsibility.
If you want your young child to learn responsibility, get him a dog. That’s what conventional wisdom teaches. And that’s been true in my case. But Buster also taught me more about irresponsibility than any human I’ve ever encountered.
When I was eight, I convinced my mother, who hated animals, to buy me a beagle. We got 50 percent off on Buster because he had stiff hind legs and undescended testicles. It taught my mom to be wary of bargains.
Buster lasted for 14 years and died of old age with a little assistance from the veterinarian and the approval of my mother. During his last few, flatulent years, my mother took care of him completely since, by that time, I was away in college.
But for 10 years I walked Buster twice a day—in rain, snow or shine, like an old-fashioned mailman. I fed him, brushed him, petted him and took care of him. I also confided in him, and he became my best fri...
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