The Reading Corner


Poodle, Retriever, Teacher.


HarleyDogs are known for their unconditional love, and after many years of observing my faithful companion, Harley, I began to learn how it all works. When I forgot to give him food, water, or found some other way to make his life uncomfortable, he still wagged his tail and greeted me with love when I got home. No big deal - I was forgiven. When people used to treat me like that, anger kicked in and I got loud and nasty, but lately I've learned to be much more forgiving. Could it be that my dog has actually been teaching me how to be a better human being? We send dogs to obedience school, but is it possible that we might actually learn from them? I think so.

As a college graduate, I admit learning more from my canine colleague, than from any University or fellow human. Harley displayed only love and therefore had no enemies. He loved cats, raccoons, and once had a cow walk up and lick him on the nose. Upon approaching another dog, he would always lay down and await their approach and approval. Within seconds, there were usually wagging tails and a new friendship was established. Even when attacked by an aggressive dog, Harley maintained his peaceful stance. He was a large, powerful dog, capable of winning most confrontations, yet always offered only love and humility. Eventually aggressive dogs either went away or became friendly. Gandhi used this technique to break India free from the powerful British Empire and it enabled Martin Luther King Jr. to shatter the shackles of segregation.

Harley taught me that freedom comes from letting go of anger and judgment.

Women loved to stop and stroke Harley's long blond curls. They would say, "I'd give anything to have hair like that." Children loved to touch him too, but some young ones pulled on his ears or tail. In his gentle wisdom, he gladly endured the discomfort knowing they were only trying to show affection.

Harley never read the Bible, Torah, or the Koran, yet somehow taught me the teachings. I suppose when the student is ready, the teacher will always appear in one species or another. Unfortunately, when the teacher's work is done, they must leave, to move on and teach others. I will always miss my mentor and best friend.

He left behind a colorful picture book that teaches children the importance of health, safety, caring for each other and our planet. Its called Harley, The Shaggy Professor,

and if you want to teach your children or grandchildren how to build a peaceful world you will find it online at

John McCauley