Lessons from man's best friend

Most of us have seen ourselves reflected in the cute actions of animals.  Every once in a while, such displays provide clues to understanding the quirky ways of human beings.  One such lesson was brought to light during an altercation I had with a couple of neighborhood family pets.

These two big dogs had been enjoying a day of backyard peace and harmony until I happened to wander by.  Thankfully, there was a tall chain link fence between them and me, because both immediately sprang to their feet and rammed the barrier, causing it to bow under their weight.  With snarling, drooling, and teeth displayed, they bit at the metal, fighting with all their might to break through.  Knowing I was safe, I started to walk away, but the feverish struggle only escalated.  These two dogs shocked me by suddenly turning on each other!  The ensuing fight was loud, violent, and totally unwarranted.  After a yelp from one of the big guys, the fight was over.

I left in bewilderment at the craziness I had just witnessed.  Since I'm often in neighborhoods getting exercise, on two other occasions, I've observed the same, now predictable, drama unfold.

You would think incidents like this could happen only in the erratic world of animals, but think again.  The same type of needless fighting is what we see taking place in our country today!  Americans are like the protective family dogs, and the unwelcome stranger is analogous to the many "issues without solutions" that have "dogged" us for decades.  Fight as people might, there often seems to be an impenetrable barrier between what they desire and the decisive solutions necessary for ending their struggle.  After years of frustration over an imperfect world, as issue-driven incident after incident is swiftly brought to the screens of smart devices, people spring to action with ferocious anger and boundless energy.  When waves of terrible offenses become intolerable, people surprisingly turn on each other in angry and violent ways.  It is bewildering to watch neighborhood businesses burn for no logical reason.

Like a line of strangers passing by a chain link fence, hot-button issues will always attract our wrath.  With maturity, patience, and compromise, perhaps many of these problems will finally be resolved.  In the meantime, if you find yourself fighting at one of those towering, rusty fences, just be mindful of our nature to lash out at everything around us.  Be strong; be smart; practice self-discipline; and above all, always be kind.

Bryan is an artist, author, and photographer from Saint Petersburg, Fla.  His novel, Cliff of the King, has received stellar reviews from Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, and Reader's Choice.

Most of us have seen ourselves reflected in the cute actions of animals.  Every once in a while, such displays provide clues to understanding the quirky ways of human beings.  One such lesson was brought to light during an altercation I had with a couple of neighborhood family pets.

These two big dogs had been enjoying a day of backyard peace and harmony until I happened to wander by.  Thankfully, there was a tall chain link fence between them and me, because both immediately sprang to their feet and rammed the barrier, causing it to bow under their weight.  With snarling, drooling, and teeth displayed, they bit at the metal, fighting with all their might to break through.  Knowing I was safe, I started to walk away, but the feverish struggle only escalated.  These two dogs shocked me by suddenly turning on each other!  The ensuing fight was loud, violent, and totally unwarranted.  After a yelp from one of the big guys, the fight was over.

I left in bewilderment at the craziness I had just witnessed.  Since I'm often in neighborhoods getting exercise, on two other occasions, I've observed the same, now predictable, drama unfold.

You would think incidents like this could happen only in the erratic world of animals, but think again.  The same type of needless fighting is what we see taking place in our country today!  Americans are like the protective family dogs, and the unwelcome stranger is analogous to the many "issues without solutions" that have "dogged" us for decades.  Fight as people might, there often seems to be an impenetrable barrier between what they desire and the decisive solutions necessary for ending their struggle.  After years of frustration over an imperfect world, as issue-driven incident after incident is swiftly brought to the screens of smart devices, people spring to action with ferocious anger and boundless energy.  When waves of terrible offenses become intolerable, people surprisingly turn on each other in angry and violent ways.  It is bewildering to watch neighborhood businesses burn for no logical reason.

Like a line of strangers passing by a chain link fence, hot-button issues will always attract our wrath.  With maturity, patience, and compromise, perhaps many of these problems will finally be resolved.  In the meantime, if you find yourself fighting at one of those towering, rusty fences, just be mindful of our nature to lash out at everything around us.  Be strong; be smart; practice self-discipline; and above all, always be kind.

Bryan is an artist, author, and photographer from Saint Petersburg, Fla.  His novel, Cliff of the King, has received stellar reviews from Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, and Reader's Choice.