Saturday, March 11, 2006

Forget the patch ...

Want to quit smoking? Get a dog. A company in England has employed a canine to help its staff kick the habit. Workers at Relay Recruitment in Bradford have been told to take the heroic cocker spaniel Rupert for a walk instead of having a cigarette break. So while smokers in the office are still less productive, at least they're getting some exercise instead of a lung full of tar. Says company boss Steven Street: "He's an important team member. He also helps lower stress levels, and I can't imagine work without him." Yet another tale of dogs improving the workplace and saving lives. Isn't it time to give canines full voting rights?

While the civilized world is harnessing canine power to combat smoking, the repressive anti-dog regime in Austria is stooping to new lows. Wolfgang Treitler has been feeding his 22-year-old dachshund 10 cigarettes a day for the last 17 years. When I was a puppy growing up in the Dallas ghetto, I used to pick up cigarette butts around my tenement building. And although it was a hilarious sight, my parents had the sense to take them away from me. Poor General Edi, the dachshund, has lived 22 years in spite of his tobacco intake, not because of it. We must consider the possibility that our boycott may not be enough to topple the vile Austrian government. We must leave all options -- including ARF intervention -- on the table. The fate of the canine world depends on our strength.

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