Hank the town dog here. I’m responsible for producing this month’s column because … well, you asked for it. Some of you did anyway.

A little background is necessary. Your editor rescued me from the pound 12 years ago. I looked like a cow dog to him, and, facing a date with the needle, I didn’t argue at the time. But my first exposure to cows proved my cow aptitude is pretty low. OK, so I ran under the pickup and hid.

Realizing that I would not develop into “Hank the Cowdog,” your editor mentioned that I’d have to find something I could do to earn my keep. Well, I mentioned that his columns could use a little help with grammar and spell-checking. Now some people might have been offended by such a suggestion, but not your editor. His skin is pretty thick after 13 years of writing this column and receiving “fan” mail. He put me to work immediately, and that is how I’ve survived as Hank the town dog.

It’s been a good life. Spell-checking and copy-editing only takes a few hours per month, which leaves plenty of time for chasing the mailman and long naps on the back porch. But that all changed this month. I brought the mail to your editor and found several letters from folks like you who weren’t too pleased with last month’s column. When I mentioned to your editor that he might want to tone down the opinions a little, he suggested that since I am so smart, maybe I could write the column this month. I noted that several readers had already made that suggestion.

I could tell by the look on his face that he regretted making the offer, but it was too late. I accepted in the wag of a tail. “If you’re going to write an opinion column,” he said, “it must be done right.” He proceeded to outline the contents of a good editorial.

For instance, the author needs a basic understanding of the specific issue. Of course, a column in this magazine needs to be related to cattle or beef production, and the column should provide an opinion that either calls for the reader to take specific action or provokes the reader to think differently about an issue.

I suggested that maybe you readers have been provoked enough about Canadian cow disease, mad packers and animal identification. Maybe, I suggested, my first column should
focus on an opinion more readers could agree on. So  …  here goes.

Because they have failed for millennia to produce evidence of any redeeming social or biological value, I’m against ticks. Now you may not think a lot about the lowly tick, but I can assure you that your cows do. And your dogs do.

The action you should take is to spray your cows and treat your dogs. But don’t (and this is the thought-provoking part) attach a cattle insecticide ear tag to your dog’s collar. Oh, it keeps the ticks off, but it’s humiliating to your dog. We’re much smarter than cows, and, after all, we’re man’s best friend. Cows are just dinner that hasn’t hit the skillet yet.

Further, ear tags on a dog’s collar are awkward and ugly. Have you ever tried sleeping with a necktie on? Well, that’s what it’s like for us dogs to wear an ear tag 24/7.

That’s it. I hope I’ve made you think about an issue that’s of economic importance to your cow herd (and the self-esteem of your dog). And I hope you’re encouraged to take action against ticks.

Your editor says that responses from you about this column will determine whether I get to produce another opinion in the future. I don’t think he appreciated it when I noted that it would be difficult to generate as much negative mail as his columns have. Anyway, you can respond by e-mailing the editor at ghenderson@drovers.com. If this gig works out for me, he says I can have my own e-mail address.