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Dogs and Pipes

Monday, April 2, 2018 by Chuck Stanion

Many pipe smokers are dog lovers. Bring a dog to a pipe show and you'll meet everyone. It's no coincidence that when pipe tobacco ads were common, they often featured a pipe smoker in the fields with hunting dogs, or a pipe smoker in front of a friendly fireplace with a trusty dog resting nearby. Pipe smoking and dogs are a natural combination.

It may be an inherent love for dogs that leads some of us to the pipe, because dogs and pipes are remarkably similar. Both come in all shapes and sizes. Both provide comfort and companionship. Both can smell a little bad when not maintained.

Dogs and pipes enjoy different finishes; a standard poodle is rusticated, while a beautifully groomed Irish setter is a straight grain. Dogs and pipes can both be a little slobbery; pipe cleaners help with a wet pipe, but dog slobber still awaits a solution. Dogs and pipes both require frequent refilling, though a dog is somewhat more insistent.

"If we're sad, a pipe or dog consoles us."

Few of us have as many dogs as we do pipes. But the population of dogs in a neighborhood is similar to a pipe collection. It’s made up of dogs you know and like and interact with regularly, and a few that you avoid except under specific circumstances. When bad dogs leave a neighborhood and are replaced by good dogs, it’s like trading in a stubbornly non-compliant pipe for a new one. 

Family dogs are like those few pipes we all have that are always happy to see us, always want to play or walk or just listen. Some pipes seem to sense our moods and adjust accordingly, like dogs. If we're sad, a pipe or dog consoles us; if we're happy, a pipe or dog celebrates with us. If it’s a regular day, both offer simple companionship. 

Pipes and dogs both improve our lives, placing extraneous details in perspective, focusing our thoughts on pure emotions and the good things we enjoy. They help remove our thoughts from ourselves, immersing us in the pure, non-human relationships we cherish. 

Cats, though, are different. Cats are diabolical rodents, oozing judgment and condescension, constantly planning a hostile takeover of the household and, eventually, the world. But that’s a story for another time.



  • Our 17 year old cat had to be put down about three weeks ago. We held him as the vet gave him the hot shot. Heartbreaking. I'm tearing up typing this. Anyway, last Thursday, we went out to St. Hubert's animal shelter in Madison NJ, the place that took a lot of the hurricane refugee cats and dogs, and adopted a five year old special needs cat named Madonna, rescued a year ago from a hoarding situation. Has lived in a cage for a year while being nursed back to something resembling health; allowed on the floor to wander around only once a day. Has only half a tail. Very vocal and won't let anyone pet or touch her, but we hope that will change. (She tried to kill me the first time I picked her up. The first day, she wouldn't come up from the basement; the second day she came up to the first floor; the third day she went upstairs, and now she all over the house and getting into everything. She's probably blown away by the extent of her freedom. The shelter named her Madonna, and because of her vocalization she appeared to be a favorite of the staff, who were despairing of her being adopted because of her special medical problems that are ameliorated by drugs, but will never go away. She needs special food and prednisone every three days for the rest of her life. Some day, I'll post a picture. Several staff members came in to say goodbye to her. Nice.

    I think kindness to animals will get me into heaven even more than whatever I did as a clergyman from 1973 until retirement in 2013. We've had cats since SWMBO and I were married in 1969, but this is our first special needs animal. In the immortal words of theologian Tiny Tim, "God bless us, everyone."
  • Cats get a real bad rep. I’ve been around more nice cats. Never really had a bad experience with one. They’re beautiful creatures as well and are wonderful companions.
  • @motie2, how very sad. I to have been through this with my last Beagle. It broke my heart. I was crushed for a year. He was my friend for 13 years. 

    Vinny is now one year old. Totally different personality and a great friend.  There is something about dogs...they just need us. He is a great part of our family.
  • Chuck Stanton wrote, above: <<Cats, though, are different. Cats are diabolical rodents, oozing judgment and condescension, constantly planning a hostile takeover of the household and, eventually, the world. But that’s a story for another time.>>

    Dogs have owners; cats have staff.

    Dogs think, "You shelter me, nourish me, and love me with unquestioning infinite love.... You must be God.
    Cats think: 
    "You shelter me, nourish me, and love me with unquestioning infinite love....  I must be God.

    Having a dog means having a pet and a friend sharing your living quarters.
    Having a cat means having an untamed wild animal sharing your living quarters.

    Dogs are easy to love. Cats are hard, but eventually, if you're lucky, you'll get there.
  • AnthonyAnthony Apprentice
    It is so hard when you loose a pet, I think it stems from there unwavering love for us. No matter what you do they are just waiting for you, they never judge and are always willing to listen. I have never had to throw flowers through the door for the Dog!! Our Emmy loves our pipe time, when she see's me heading to the screen room with pipe, in hand she is ready. She know  it's time to sit on Dads lap and just watch and sleep, as I puff away, and we watch the world go bye in beautiful silence!
  • @Anthony -- Nice.
    So far the new cat won't provide us with what SWMBO calls fuzz therapy, and doesn't greet us at the door....yet. We hope that will come with time and gentle patience.
  • @motie2, yep that is spot on. I'm not there and never have been. 
  • I've always been a dog person, and we usually had a dog around the house throughout most of my married life. But after our last dog passed away we haven't replaced him, and I'm afraid we probably won't. Near the end he was quite a bit of work - and as we've both gotten older it became a bit of a hassle to take him out several times a day. Especially in the winter months. We're not getting any younger and he had a tendency to jerk on the chain when-ever he saw someone or any sort of animal in the yard. My poor wife ended up getting a broken foot when he jerked her off the porch one winter. I wouldn't mind having another dog - but after getting all the carpets replaced after his death the thought of having to housebreak a new dog does send shivers up my spine. I remember how much work it was getting all the furniture out of the various rooms so the carpet could be laid. And I haven't got another episode like that left in me.

    Now I sit outside and smoke my pipe and I'm visited by a feral cat who has adopted us. She stays around here a majority of the day and when-ever I go outside she rubs up against me until I pet her continuously. So at least I still have someone to smoke with. But even though she's become a smoking buddy - I'm still a dog person. 

  • @ghostsofpompeii -- One ENORMOUS advantage of a cat, especially on cold days or when you are laid up:

    De cat poops in de box.......
  • @motie2 that sounds like the best advantage of a cat. I have two dogs, one of them is smaller than most cats haha.
  • Just for Chuckles:
  • @motie2 When I'm sick and laid up I on a cold day I often poop in de box myself.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    edited April 2018

    I'm actually a dog person myself -- was raised from age 4 untill leaving home at 18 for seminary with a series of three Boston Terriers: Chica, Boots, and Boots (2). When SWMBO and I were married in 1969 we lived in a small apartment and were gone most of the day; me at seminary and her at School of Design, Art, and Architecture, or as I referred to it when I wanted to mess with her, The School of Spots and Dots. You cannot have a dog under those circumstances: no one to take the dog out or keep it company during the day.. 

    I never knew anyone who had a cat -- I sort of though of them as weird dogs. (I was soooooo right about the weirdness part.) Meanwhile, I was raised with dogs and she never had a pet beyond goldfish. We adopted a cat and I tried to treat it like a dog: playing fetch, whistling for him, etc. Over the years since, one cat passing on led to another, until today -- living in a three story house with a special-needs cat, who spends much of the day -- when not sleeping - carrying a floppy squirrel toy (Hammy) around in her mouth, screaming.... not meowing -- screaming. I don't know whether she thinks it's a kitten or prey, but she often leaves it on my noppy slippers by our bed. 
  • jdk5hhjdk5hh Apprentice

    At The Briar Shoppe in Houston
  • jdk5hhjdk5hh Apprentice
    A lunting we will go...

  • @jdk5hh I envy you the ability to stroll leashless with your dog. With my current canine partner, I might as well step outside, light my pipe, light a bottle rocket, and then enjoy my time walking with the bottle rocket.

  • jdk5hhjdk5hh Apprentice
    edited April 2018
    HAHAHAHA! @Bloodhound61 Yeah, Nella's been an amazingly well behaved pup. Mostly smarter than I am, so for the first year it was mainly her training me to walk leash-less rather than the other way round.
  • Motie2 I know what you mean brother. My seventeen year old rat terrier just passed peacefully in his sleep. Hope my other three dogs go the same way.
  • Londy3Londy3 Master
    edited September 2019

    But I'm holding my pipe while he keeps watch.
  • Jake was thrown out of a vehicle at the gas station I just happened to be filling up at on the mountain years ago. He looked completely lost and defeated watching his previous owner drive away. I opened the passenger door of my truck and hollered at him to get his attention. He looked at me from where he was sitting on the side of the road and I pointed at the seat. His face lit up and he came running and dove right in. I brought him home and he turned into the best farm guard dog you could ask for. Loyal as could be. I just laid him to rest this morning. I’m sure he will be sitting at the gates of heaven with the rest of my dogs waiting on me to come home one day. RIP Jakey.

  • @Michael308 so sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it is, I've been there too. Hang in there man. You have good memories. 
  • @Michael308,

    For all the times that you bent to touch my head, and threw the ball, and gave me my favorite treat, and returned the love that I gave to you, for all of these things and more, I ask you not to grieve, but remember that we lived and touched each other's lives. My life was fuller because you were there for me, not as my owner, but as my friend.

    Today, I am as I was. The grass is always green, the flowers are in bloom, and the warm sun shines gently down on me. There is no more sickness, no more pain. I can run, and jump, and play and do all of the things that I did when I was with you.

    Please don't hold inside the love that you gave to me. Share it with another like me, and our love will live on.


  • A sad day, @Michael308 , but you will see them again...
  • Michael308  Sorry for your the loss of your furry family member.  I had to put down my baby on Saturday after she damaged both back knees and could no longer hold herself up.  We got her when she was three months old from Flaw Dog Rescue.  She was would have been 12 in January.
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