A reader sent this in. I added a few pointers (in bold type) and found it could easily be read as useful advice on political engagement:
An Open Letter to Toby & April, Our Dogs
Dear Toby & April:
On Left and Right-Wing Zealotry
When I say to move, it means go someplace else, not switch positions with each other so there are still two dogs in the way.
On Dispossessing People of their Land and their Homes
The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food
and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.
About the purpose of political debate
The stairway was not designed by Nascar and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn’t help, because I fall faster than you can run.
On negotiating with those in power
I cannot buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue to sleep on the couch to ensure your comfort. Look at videos of dogs sleeping; they can actually curl up in a ball. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space used is nothing but doggy sarcasm.
On respecting what’s valuable to other people
My compact discs are not miniature Frisbees.
On the right to privacy:
For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I
entered. In addition, I have been using bathrooms for years, canine attendance is not mandatory.
On persuading your opponents:
The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog’s butt. I cannot stress this enough. It would be such a simple change for you.
And more, from kids:
On vigilance against the state:
Never trust a dog to watch your food.
Patrick, Age 10
On the dangers of confrontation:
Never talk back to a teacher whose eyes and ears are twitching.
Andrew, Age 9
On the vicissitudes of public service:
Wear a hat when feeding seagulls.
Rocky, Age 9
On readiness to act:
Sleep in your clothes so you’ll be dressed in the morning.
Stephanie, Age 8
On corruption in public life:
Never try to hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
Rosemary, Age 7
On the limits of resources:
Don’t flush the toilet when you’re dad is in the shower.
Lamar, Age 10
On the timing of negotiations:
Never ask for anything that costs more than five dollars when your parents are doing taxes.
Carrol, Age 9
On the unpredictability of grass roots campaigns:
Never bug a pregnant mom.
Nicholas, Age 11
On the occasional need for political correctness:
When your dad is mad and asks you, “Do I look stupid?” don’t answer him.
Heather, Age 16
On offering unsolicited advice:
Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.
Michael, Age 14
On government disclosure of economic data:
When you get a bad grade in school, show it to your mom when she’s on the phone.
Alyesha, Age 13
On the limits to social reform:
Never try to baptize a cat.
Laura, Age 13
On the proper forum for free expression:
Never do pranks at a police station.
Sam, Age 10
On intellectual discrimination:
Beware of cafeteria food when it looks like it’s moving.
Rob, Age 10
On the wisdom of keeping your own counsel:
Never tell your little brother that you’re not going to do what your mom told you to do.
Hank, Age 12
On the need for rationality:
Listen to your brain. It has lots of information.
Chelsey, Age 7
On associating with relentless negativity:
Stay away from prunes.
Randy, Age 9
On unwise rhetoric:
Never dare your little brother to paint the family car.
Phillip, Age 13