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Dogs can get over their differences

Perhaps the world would be a little easier to navigate if we all had tails.

Only a few minutes after walking onto the grounds of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians Saturday, it was evident that dogs tend to be much more accepting of their differences than humans are.

At Bark in the Park, an annual fundraiser for the Natchez-Adams Humane Society, the visitors came in all shapes and sizes.

The two-legged participants were from a cross-section of our society — rich and poor, black and white and young and old.

But the real diversity was among the four-legged friends padding around the grounds and the few that paraded in front of the judges.

As Dr. Jeffrey Traina approached Suzy and Alice, it would have been easy for the four-legged members of the Cooper household to tremor in fear. Traina was leashed to his Irish wolfhound and another large, mixed breed dog.

The Traina dogs easily were five or six times bigger than Suzy and Alice, but with a friendly tail wag and few sniffs, all worries melted away.

“It’s amazing how they still know they’re all dogs as different as they are,” Traina said.

Scientists suggest only a handful of genetic differences separate the myriad of dog breeds, but it’s difficult for our brains to comprehend this.

Looking at a miniscule Chihuahua standing in the shadow of a Great Dane comprehending they’re all the same type of animal is difficult for human heads to grasp.

Fortunately, the dogs seem to instantly know they’re all kin — at least distantly.

And, amazingly, at Bark in the Park, the dogs mostly got along just fine. The dogs seem to respect one another and most play well together.

Imagine if that much diversity occurred in human beings. Imagine, for example, if some of us were six times larger and more powerful than the others.

It’s an almost certainty that humans would be working to take advantage of the size differences. If we were as diverse as the canine community, we’d discriminate against one another based on the way we looked.

But the dogs, at least the examples on display Saturday, seemed perfectly content with the diversity and comfortable with life’s simple rules:

1). All dogs are good.

2). All squirrels deserve to be chased.

3). The two sweetest things on earth are belly rubs and bacon.

Dogs seem capable of bringing together people and calming their owners down. Wouldn’t it be great if humans possessed the same great ability?

Imagine if all of the groups fighting in our community could just resolve their differences and find common ground with a wag of a tail and a sniff without ever resorting to violence or ill-behavior.

That would truly make the world experience portray the good side of the proverbial phrase, “it’s a dog’s life.”

From Congress to the Adams County Board of Supervisors to the recently feuding human supporters of the humane society, perhaps we’d all be wise to take a lesson from the dogs.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.