Their bite is worse than their bark

By Randy Cohen

New York City - My dog, Dusty, thinks lawyers get a bad rap.

"I sympathize with them," he said. "Imagine the problems if we dogs allowed just anyone to chase a cat!"

"What problems?" I asked.

"I don't expect a non-dog like you to understand these technical matters, but if you did it wrong, there could be horrible repercussions for you and for the cat. You must never do it without benefit of dog."

"We dogs have learned a lot from those lawyers. We're organizing along similar lines. That's what the American Bark Association is all about."

"Whatever happened to being man's best friend?"

"We still like you, but our fees may to go up so we can continue to provide high-quality canine companionship. For instance, suppose your wife asked you to go to the front door to get her the newspaper?"

"I'd do it for her," I answered.

"You do, two-legs, and you're in hot water. Helping someone fetch may not be done without canine counsel. And not just any dog, but a member of the State Bark Association."

"Come on, Dusty. What special knowledge is needed to get the paper from the porch? Now, if I were going into the woods to hunt Canada geese..."

"Sorry, Randy, I don't do retrievals. I can refer you to an excellent pack of dogs specializing in goosework, the firm of Spotty, Patches, Bingo and Skipper. Fine dogs. They charge $350 an hour."

"Look, Dusty, I don't see why I can't fetch my own paper."

"You can. Just don't help someone else fetch theirs. That's practicing dogginess without a license. I'd have to file a complaint."

"But my wife thinks I do a great job. Why should you complain? That's not fair."

"Tough bones, human. You'd have to stand trial."

"You'd never find a person to convict me."

"I'm afraid you would be tried before a panel of dogs."

"So, you dogs write the rules, you file the complaint, and you issue the verdict."

"And when you come to the hearing you'd better be accompanied by a licensed dog."

"But this is ridiculous. You're just trying to protect your jobs and jack up your fees."

"So hire a dog and sue me."

Reprinted from USA Today

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