Man's Best Pet?

Why <B>Hartman</B> Calls His Dog 'A Raving Lunatic'

This week's commentary is by 60 Minutes Columnist Steve Hartman.

If I were forced to choose between cats and dogs, I'd pick goldfish. Outside a taxidermy shop, you really can't find a more low-maintenance pet.

But just recently, against my better judgment, I got my very first dog.

I was in West Virginia on a story when I found the pooch on a porch. For some reason, the owner didn't want the dog, so I brought her home and named her Riley.

Although people tell me she's cute, I've met enough ugly babies to know they'd say that, regardless.

Plus, they've never seen the devil within.

It turns out my dog is a raving lunatic. I can't even go to the fridge without feeling like a gazelle on the Discovery channel. I can't go to the vet without fearing litigation.

My girlfriend and I have tried everything to tame this beast. You know, more dogs are put to sleep because of their bad behavior than die of natural causes. But this a statistic that Riley is clearly unaware of.

Someone suggested that Riley should see a dog trainer -- the big city equivalent of a rolled-up newspaper. We're now on our second one, after Riley put a hole in the first one.

Dr. Peter Borrshell is actually a canine behaviorist, a dog shrink.

Hartman: The last trainer we went to said we should start biting the dog. Is that good advice?

Dr. Borrshell: Um, where are you going to bite the dog?

Hartman: You could hold it and bite...

Dr. Borrshell: You could, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Dr. Borrshell charges $400 for that sage advice. And he told us Riley wouldn't get any better unless we put in an awful lot of work. So, I felt like I had no choice.

We may live in a disposable society, but I don't think commitments should be like paper cups. Besides, even if I wanted to walk away, how far am I gonna get?