Fido and Me – In which Fido contemplates Nietzsche and Keats

Fido rolled over on his side and let out a long breath.

“To live alone one must be a beast or a god, says Aristotle. Leaving out the third case: one must be both - a philosopher.”

“Whaa?” I says.

Fido repeated it.

“I’ve heard this before,” says I to Fido. Me, I was listening to the baseball game.

“It’s Friedrich Nietzsche,” says Fido.

“I can hardly believe my ears,” I says to him. “You buy that?”

“Dunno,” says Fido. “I’ll believe anything if there’s a biscuit in it.”

I asked him where he picked up this kind of stuff and he said it was during his time at the Whitmore Animal Shelter. He said dogs came in with every sort of issue and problem and that most of it could be soothed, if not solved, by philosophy. He said that he himself styled himself as somewhat of a philosopher dog, and it really helped after lights out.

“Dogs have suggestions for everything, if only people would listen,” he says.

“But me being a philosopher, I have a problem for every solution.”

“Where’d you get that?”

“Robert Zend.”

“Don’t you think that Zend was on the smarmy side?” I queried.

“Smarmy is fine if there’s a biscuit in it.”

Fido gets into these moods from time to time. I know he’s not just looking for ground squirrels from the deck, although he does. He has an active mind, and this kind of philosophical outpouring goes on, side by side with his keeping a watchful eye.

To look at him, you can kind of see the philosopher in him. He has a wild kind of look. He is a 70-pound chow-retriever mix, with a rich texture of red and black fur. His face is friendly and bear-like.

He reminds me very much of a philosopher professor I had at university. I could listen to him for hours and have utterly no idea what he was saying.

That was before I learned to carry biscuits in my pocket for the professors.

On my own end of the deal, the Athletics had taken a 7-0 first-inning lead on the Angels without recording a single out. Wow!

When the half-inning ended, Fido gruffed a laugh, noting that the rally was against the Angels.
“Know Keats?” he asked. “A little,” I said.

Try this one on,” says he:

“Philosophy will clip an angel’s wings, / Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, 
/ Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine -
/ Unweave a rainbow.”

I scratched my head.

“The A’s have just clipped the Angels' wings and have unweaved a rainbow!”
“Fido,” says I, “You are a very interesting hound dog.”

He got up onto his haunches in a sit.

“Could I trouble you for a biscuit?”