Like most people, I love dogs, also cats, birds and most other of God's creatures, domestic and wild. I emphatically include in that list Crackers the Surfing Dog, Pebbles the Wonder Dog, as well as Forrest and Dahlia, the service dogs. Many of us have enjoyed them as part of our Fillmore experience.

A couple of these companions need a little help these days, a little understanding. A few people have expressed exasperation at their presence. Although their owner, Birch Greyloch, says neither Dahlia nor Forrest (Irish Wolf Hounds) have bitten, or threatened anyone, they at times have barked and complaints have surfaced, with requests to remove the dogs.

They are very large dogs, often seen carrying a saddle-bagged Chihuahua, Violet, but as I've observed, are gentle and friendly. Maybe their size alone frightens some folks. Ms. Greyloch's letter can be found in today's Gazette.

For the sake of Dahlia, Forrest and Violet, and Ms. Greyloch, can we all get along? Without getting too maudlin about the issue, I should cite the title of a book I received when I was about 5-years old: Be Kind to Animals, They Have Feelings Too. I've remembered that message ever since.


I have to say I'm tired of writing so many "gloom and doom-type" columns. I would much rather write about the beautiful (if rainless) weather, COVID-19 seeming to fade away - or about the two Mockingbirds that ambushed me last week with their extraordinary repertoire as soon as I got out of my truck at 10:00 p.m. I stood there spellbound for about 5 minutes. They were perched in a fruitless Mulberry tree overhanging the garage. This happened the following night as well, about the same time - 10 p.m.! On the next night I came in much later - nothing.

I don't think any other bird can compare with the Mockingbird for complex song; they are the Mozarts of the bird world. They combine and repeat all of the sounds they hear in nature, i.e. crickets, frogs, and any other bird song. And, yeah, I like trees as well. This was a refreshing break from hearing screams and explosions from Ukrainian war reports.


Unless someone (probably in the Russian Army) stops Putin by assassination or a coup, I think the use of nuclear weapons is probable. (Note: I am NOT a military expert, just my opinion - most of us have one.) I worry about the "small" nukes, those that can be fired from two or three miles on an otherwise conventional field of combat. We've made them suitcase small and have had them for decades. So, if the Russians fire a couple and take out a few brigades, or a small town with one shot, what choice does this leave NATO? Western nations can either run away, surrender - or respond in kind.

Putin is an unstable leader. His vanity has already been affronted by his failure to take Ukraine's capitol after weeks of fighting. He has "lost face" - of critical importance especially in the East. Putin now has no way to offer a truce, because his narcissism and arrogance compels him to fight to the death regardless of consequences (unless taken out). His paranoia was on full display recently when he flaunted to the media his nuclear code suitcase in detail - his nuclear "football." After the carnage and destruction Putin has inflicted on Ukraine, even a truce is not an option; Ukraine will resist to the last man, the classic dilemma of an immovable object against an irresistible force - almost.

Those conservatives who say America should not get involved with Ukraine are wrong. Short of using U.S. forces in the fighting, we need to immediately provide every weapon we can to help Ukraine win this war, including MiG fighters, tanks, long distance artillery and missiles. We should assume and prepare for the worst from Russia - and China. The world's order is threatened by totalitarianism. Absent a miracle, without strong leadership, we could lose our country - as we are now by inviting foreign millions through our abandoned, unprotected borders. Unlike the valiant Ukrainians, we are giving our country away - without a fight. Our enemies are prepared to pounce at this distinctive whiff of weakness.

I think America is set for epochal change of an uncertain nature.

I also think I would rather go back to talking about birds and service dogs.