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Richard Crowson Commentary

Richard Crowson: Dog Therapy


I was considering the paranoid, fearful actions of our oh-so-very-conservative legislature yesterday, and I’m afraid I uttered an unmentionable word out loud. Our Airedale Lucy came bounding into my office to comfort me.

I have an unbecoming habit of sometimes making an emphatic, obscene exclamation when I am in the house alone and working on deadline and I encounter cartoonist’s or writer’s block. I say a word that is unrepeatable in polite company. Every time I say this word, Lucy instantly rises from her nap position and comes over to me. I give her a few behind-the-ear scratches and she walks away, settles back down and continues her nap.

Studies have shown that petting a dog lowers your blood pressure. Lucy seems to know that, always responding to my little under-the-breath cussword.

She’s also a fearless escape artist. If she ever ran off, one sure-fire way of finding her would be for me to walk around my neighborhood shouting the offensive word. Let’s hope it never comes to that, for the sake of neighborhood children.

Our other Airedale, Hank, is afraid of everyone and everything. I think of him as being like a conservative. I have no doubt that Hank would gladly strap on a firearm if he had opposable thumbs. He sees danger everywhere, just like conservatives do.

Anyway, Lucy danced around and succeeded in pulling me outdoors for a walk on a warm, March day full of spring’s promise and hope. The fat robins feeding in a sunny field were definitely more worthy of my consideration than the fearful conservatives passing more paranoid gun bills under the robin’s-egg-blue dome in Kansas’ capitol building.

I just wish our legislators were given dogs they could reach to pet instead of reaching for a gun every time their fears and paranoia overcomes them. The world is a warmer and more welcoming place than they think.

Especially in early spring with a dog at your side.