Dogs, a cat and those two wolves

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 6/9/20

Around the horn… We got a new puppy this week. To quote the lady at the shelter, he is “ridiculously cute.” And I agree — not only is he ridiculously cute, but he has completely latched on to …

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Dogs, a cat and those two wolves


Around the horn…

We got a new puppy this week. To quote the lady at the shelter, he is “ridiculously cute.” And I agree — not only is he ridiculously cute, but he has completely latched on to my son, which is who we were hoping he would be a best friend for. It’s such a win for everybody!

Well, maybe not everybody. The other animals in the house… they’re not so sure yet. The oldest one, the old lady of the bunch, is very curious, and has a lot of energy around the newbie. So much so that it’s a little nerve-wracking, to be honest. I know she has to assert her “alpha-ness” to the new puppy, but you never know just how far she’ll go until they’re completely comfortable with each other.

The middle animal, the cat, is the funny one. She could not care less about the new puppy if you paid her to. She’s not curious, she’s hasn’t hissed at him, she’s barely acknowledged him (in that oh-so-like-a-cat way of ignoring something in its world). It seems like her thought process is very much along the lines of “as long as I get the food, play, and attention that I want, what difference does one more creature make?”

So we’ve got the old one, working overtime to hold on to its position; the middle one, indifferent and focused on her own thing; and the new one, who has no legs, no voice, doesn’t know where to go to the bathroom and sleeps in a kennel. And, of course, which one is getting all the attention? The newbie.

Do you ever get the feeling that public policy is decided by groups of people who, roughly, fit that exact same set of descriptors?

No. No real point. Just that, sometimes, I think we’d do just as well having policies decided by the group of animals in my house than the people we pull the proverbial lever for. Quick show of hands: who is waiting with baited breath for the Trump/Biden debates this Fall?

We’ve all heard the old Navajo (supposedly) legend of the two wolves, yes? To refresh, a tribal elder is speaking to the young men of the tribe, and he tells them that, within him, are two wolves constantly at war. One is filled with compassion, wisdom, patience and kindness; the other, with greed, envy, folly and anger. One of the young men asks him, “which one will win the war?” To which the elder answers, “the one that I feed.”

In these times of tumult and strife, can I make an unsolicited suggestion? Feed the first wolf. Or, at least, starve the second wolf.

And, in my opinion, one of the easiest ways to do that is to turn off the television, exit Facebook and Twitter, and go outside and talk to other human beings. It’s legal now! Believe me, I understand the irony of columnizing about shutting media out of your world for a bit, but … Trust me. You’ll be saner. You’ll be happier. You’ll realize that people are mostly run by the first wolf. And – wait for it — you might learn something new that feeds your first wolf.

Snarky question: So … based on recent edicts by the political class, can we please fully open the schools in the fall? I mean, seriously — you’ve never seen a more spontaneous peaceful protest than the ones thrown by seventh graders assigned an essay to write.

That is all. Have a good week, people. Do something to be of service to someone else.

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at, on Kindle, or through” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

Michael Alcorn, pets


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