You're a Good Friend, Fido

Tim Barton
Equipment Editor
[email protected]

It’s true, of course, that you can hurt your dog’s feelings. It’s hard to do, but it can be done. Even so, the many of you out there in truckland with pets do your level best to keep Fido happy. Why share quarters the size of a space capsule with an unhappy animal? If Fido ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. You know, it could well be easier to treat your dog right than a creature higher on the food chain, like say your wife or your husband. No, the dog doesn’t drive, but he doesn’t talk back either. He doesn’t do logs, but he’ll lick your face when you need it and he’ll bark when a stranger gets a little too curious. More than that, dogs are loyal. You never have to worry whether they love you or why. With people, you just never know how someone is really feeling even when they love you.

Now some drivers have cats. Cats are not dogs. They are not necessarily affectionate or loyal. They make you feel good by withholding their affection most of the time so that when they do come around for a little loving, it makes you feel special. But a cat will curl up under the brake pedal without you knowing it just to test your affection.

On the whole, too, it seems that maybe living with a pet is easier than living with another human being. Humans are easily offended. We have egos, and egos are among the most fragile things in written history. A bruised ego can lead a man to violence. It can lead him to forget how to think. It can devil him. But a dog tends to build your ego by loving you even when you forget to feed him, chain him to the trailer leg, or generally treat him like the dog he is. Dogs have no ego. They will love you no matter how you treat them. This makes them easy to love. And easy to abuse. Yet offending a dog is much harder than offending your favorite human being. You can abuse them all to hell and they will lick your ugly face. Most likely your wife will be offended if you chain her to the trailer, and she won’t lick your face no matter how ruggedly handsome you may be.

It might even be true that the right pet can make you a safer driver. They can improve the disposition and cut road rage, something many drivers can’t seem to do on their own. If you’re prone to fits of anger behind the wheel, you might consider a pet as a safety device. The right pet will also help you stay up late and get up early so that you can make more money and not be tempted to go home before you’ve run enough miles to pay the rent. A dog will not spend your money. He will actually help you make more without the expense and aggravation of say, finding a partner. Dog food is a real cheap investment.

Some drivers have strange pets, animals that for the life of me I can’t imagine living with. I met a man in Dallas once with an 8-foot snake. There must be something other than love and ego-licking that people get from a pet like that. If it’s true, as some people say, that a human’s connection with their pet is about feeling good without having to do much to deserve it, where do snakes fit in? On the other hand, a snake could be useful if the DOT guy wants to have a look in your bunk. In this case a road snake would be better than a lot lizard. You don’t want no lot lizards hangin’ round. They’ll eat your dog.

But say one day your girlfriend gets tired of waiting for you and dumps you for a dachshund. You’ve been replaced by a dog that doesn’t bite and won’t run off when the phone rings or the smell of diesel gets thick. Now your feelings are hurt. You feel like Fido. So if you ever decide to take another shot at love, you’ll know to treat him, or her, or it, a little better than your last shot. Try to love that somebody the way your dog loves you.

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