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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

A Dog’s Life

Updated: Jun 10


Country Notebook

By Rogene "Jeannie" McPherson


Being a dog, at least in my home, must be a lot easier than being a human trying to stand up for what is appropriate in light of controversy.


The morning I began writing my second story on justice and mercy, I stepped out of bed to see my dogs sleeping in their respective dog beds, the only danger being bed sores from not moving a muscle during their eight plus hours of sleep. 


Digger and Rowdy both had a satisfying breakfast with Digger acting as though Rowdy’s bowl contained better food than his. After breakfast, sleep was once again on their agenda until my work began outdoors.  Upon chasing out the lions, tigers, and bears and an occasional rabbit or two, Rowdy and Digger settled down to nap in a pile of leaves I’ve been raking. 


Typical day until I run an errand and then they sit in the driveway looking sad and making me feel guilty.


What does my day look like they ask in dog language?


I don’t respond, but Linn County Journal readers may be interested in some of life’s challenges. I personally believe these issues go far beyond what is an annoyance and instead should reflect upon what is good for Linn County five, ten and more years beyond.   Humans, as opposed to our animal friends, are expected to practice justice. Dog fights are not appropriate. 


Is there justice when a neighbor takes action resulting in financial or emotional loss for others, but financial gain for himself or herself?  This statement could apply to several currently debated issues in the county and are only representative of what is on my mind: 

  1.  commercial feedlots placed near family farms eroding the land;

  2. solar, wind, or coal energy and the effect on all residents who have a right to a fair cost for utilities as well as fairness for the landowner; and

  3. a no-kill animal shelter that takes in abandoned dogs, but triggers complaints of noise pollution.


And, how could we practice justice if we find ourselves in similar examples. We might;

  1. demand the offender be arrested, fined, or subject to closure for violation of any laws or inconveniences;

  2. seek retaliation;

  3. ask offender and offended to find a solution that meets the needs of both parties; or

  4. become knowledgeable of laws, history, and make a case in truth, not opinions/hearsay.


We tend to equate justice with everyone getting the same consequences. This may seem just and fair, but seeking justice also requires mercy. Mercy is looking at the events and determining whether the consequences should be adjusted according to the events, people involved, and financial and social scenarios to name just a few of the considerations.


The purpose of this column is not to be judgmental, though I do have a few opinions. Instead, I suggest we look at how the above and other scenarios are being dealt with in Linn County. How are we as individuals or interest groups working together so it doesn’t look so much like a dog fight?


Dogs are not capable of negotiating. Humans are. Humans vote. Humans read and reason. Humans write letters and speak thoughtfully. Humans offer solutions. Life is full of difficult challenges, opposing opinions and painful decisions, and it is not always easy to look at the problem. It is easier to look away. Easy, however, does not equate to best. 


In the beginning, I suggest life is easier being a dog.  Not an option, but overall I’m happy being human and when I can, helping Linn County be a better place.  Let me leave you with a quote I saw in a recent visit to a thrift store.


TO CHANGE THE WORLD, WE MUST BE GOOD TO THOSE WHO CANNOT REPAY US. –Pope Francis 


That’s mercy. 


Rogene “Jeannie” McPherson, from the Centerville area, is a regular contributor to the Linn County Journal. Her latest book Posts from the Country, Adventures in Rural Living is available online in both virtual and printed editions. Copies are on the shelves at all Linn County libraries.

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