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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Gone to the Dogs...

Gone to the Dogs

A law to keep dogs from riding in the back of pick-up trucks was watered down in legislative committee to a mere suggestion this week. It seems that letting dogs ride in the back of an open truck is a time-honored, southern tradition, and one that humans intend to keep. Never mind that a dog could be thrown out and injured, or a human could have an accident trying to avoid hitting a flying dog after the truck swerves suddenly.

It’s just the idea of not being able to haul their dog around in their own truck that has humans in a dither, especially since they’ve been doing it for years. Keeping a dog in a cage or putting us in the cab is not the same thing as letting us run and leap into the truck with ears flying in the wind and dirt flying in the eyes. “Dogs like it,” they say. Never mind that dogs, like children, are not capable of knowing what’s in their own best interest.

Only a few states have laws against dogs riding on the outside of a vehicle. These are in New England and on the West Coast. That figures. Any good ol’ boy knows that he can’t trust a Yankee and that California is full of weird folks who live out there because they can’t fit in anywhere else.

The humans that usually become the most upset about dog protection laws are coon hunters. Never mind that hunting dogs were an exception in the proposed law. “Today it’s the yard dogs – tomorrow the coon dogs,” they say. As you may know, humans hunt coons by driving around back roads in a
truck until the scent dog gets a sniff of coon. Then the tree dogs are released and the chase is on till a coon is treed.

Specially trained, coon-hunting dogs are high dollar dogs costing $1,000 to $12,000 each. For that kind of money, you’d think we could climb up a tree and shake the coon out personally instead of just chasing it. Obviously, humans who run around in the dark chasing after coons with a pack of dogs
can not be overly bright.

Humans believe this law is just another example of government sticking its nose into something that’s none of its business. They say animal activists, who know nothing about outdoor sports, and “bleeding hearts” that feel sorry for raccoons are influencing lawmakers.

Actually, coon hunting has evolved into a state of the art sport, and killing the coon isn’t necessary. The sport is in the competition of one dog with another to see which can sniff out a coon and which can tree one the best, without getting sidetracked by possums, foxes who don’t climb trees and run forever, or skunks who fight back. It’s not the killing; it’s the thrill of the chase that matters.

And so it goes. Dogs remain unprotected and will be allowed to ride in open vehicles unrestrained without benefit of kennel cage or harness. Not only hunting dogs, but also yard dogs and pets can ride in trucks without any fear - at least of the law. Some good ol’ boys say that a dog in the back
of a truck is the best burglar alarm there is, a point hard to argue with, but that doesn’t mean we have to ride there.

The love affair between human and animal is a long one. We not only work and hunt for humans, but are pets and companions as well. Dogs are valued for their loyalty and unconditional devotion to their human. We have long been called “man’s best friend”. It seems that they would want to take
better care of their best friends, doesn’t it?

And that is this week’s news from your roving reporter,


Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss

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