Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, Winter-Spring 2019

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S ince that fateful day several years back when Winifred picked me out of the primates wandering past her pen at the SPCA adoption event, America's pooch/primate connec- tion has been turned upside down. Wasn't that long ago, men and women knew that if they were going to get anywhere with their new inamorata, they'd have to compete with their love's affection for her/his pooch. It was a package deal that went something like: "Love me, love my dog. And my dog better love you – or at least like you – or it's sayonara, ciao and adios, baby!" That said, we have now reached a new level of pooch/pri- mate association. Or perhaps just a new take on a very old one. That Greek fabulist and storyteller, Aesop, said, "Man is known by the company he keeps." Today we are known by the company of the dogs we keep. Our very being revealed, hear t and soul exposed, by the canines we consort with. Walk down Carmel's Ocean Ave. with an adorable Labradoodle at your side. How could you be anything but equally adorable and great fun to romp on the beach with? A Cavalier King Charles looking up at you with worshipful eyes. Is there any question that you are a wonderful human being? Or perhaps a French Bulldog in your lap as you order a fine wine at The Cypress Inn. Well, who wouldn't want to have a cocktail with you and your Best Furry Friend Forever? Makes you think you could be the next Best Two-legged Friend. Love Me, Love My Dog is ancient history. Today it's, Love My Dog, Love ME! Our dogs shape the world's perception of who we are. Of course, that can either be a false perception, or offer a genuine glimpse into something deeper, not readily apparent on the outside. For better or worse, primates and pooches share more than opposite ends of a leash. Though sometimes considerably opposite. I recently saw a tiny waif of a girl walking a very large fierce looking snaggletooth hound. I could be wrong, but to me her dog was a not so subtle warning shot across the bow of any- one who dare misinterpret her slight stature for weakness. The girl's whole demeanor announced, Beware the junkyard dog lurking inside the waif! And then what to make of those large folks who have a tiny fur ball tucked away in a shoulder bag, or under their coat? Appearances can be deceiving. You and your Chihuahuas are walking the Scenic path above the beach. Light is fading when a rough-looking man appears from out of the shadows. The man has wild hair, multiple rings in his ears, one in his lip, his ragged T-shirt exposing massive tat- tooed arms. But wait… Those scary arms are cuddling a Bichon Frise cotton ball with a pink bow in its hair. The man kisses the top knot of his cotton candy fur baby. The man is obviously a kind soul. And then you come to find out the guy found the fluff ball loose on the street and rescued it seconds before it became dinner for a couple of hungry coyotes. The man's a Saint! Francis of Assisi! Mother Teresa! All right. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. So, let me offer the following, that actually happened, as our final witness for the prosecution. Last November, Winifred and I watched a Senate candidate making her concession speech on a couch beside her hand- some Golden Retriever. During her campaign — her dog con- spicuously absent— this person was perceived as less than honest regarding some very heartfelt issues. Rightly or wrongly, she was seen as deceitful. But now in her moment of accepting defeat, her beloved pooch was at her side offering an adoring gaze full of the milk of canine kindness. The interview screamed, "I'm really a wonderful person! Just look at my dog!" Winnie and I did. We believe you. And I am completely on board — always happy to bask in the reflected glow of Winifred's endearing cuteness as she takes me for a stroll around town. Work it, Winnie girl. Work it! Mark is a best-selling author and co-author with Winifred of "Life is Good. I'm a Dog…And You're Not!" Mark and Winifred live in Carmel with their four-legged brother Winston and two-legged wife, Barbara. Contact: or visit DOG TALES M A R K O M A N For better or worse, primates and pooches share more than oppo- site ends of a leash. Love Me, Love My Dog 54 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 9

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