This Valentine’s Day I am making a proposition to you: I want you to have a special love affair. You can follow this provocative suggestion no matter what your marital status, and no matter if you are already in a loving and permanent relationship with another living being.
Do I have your attention??
I want you to have a love affair with the truth.
You may wonder if your best friend Harley has been dipping into the fermented kibble. Not so! But I have been paying a lot of attention to human media lately and I am concerned that for some members of your species, the truth has become a question of interpretation, a guideline instead of a rule, a matter of style, or worse yet, optional. It troubles me that fact checking the pronouncements of humans who aspire to powerful leadership positions has become a full time job for many.
What happened to telling the truth?
We dogs are incapable of guile. We think it, we bark it. Oh sure, we occasionally overreact to a perceived threat, like a postal delivery or a squirrel, but our communications are always a good faith desire to communicate accurate information based on our astute factual observations. You trust us to be true. This is the foundation of our strong bond with humans. Many of us work side-by-side with humans and some of you literally place your lives in our paws. That is about as true as it gets!
I ask you to consider the people in your personal and professional life. Perhaps they fall into different categories. There are people who tell you something and you secretly roll your eyes and feel the instinctive need to verify every word, every time, to be sure it is true. Would you stake your career on this person’s work product? Would you give this person a critical assignment? If your life depended on it, would you trust this person’s word?
I hope you also know people whose words you can always “take to the bank”. Good or bad, you can trust that the information you get is true and unbiased. What kind of person do you want to be around? What kind of person do you want to be? What is the example that you set? Do you create a culture in your professional and personal life that supports a commitment to the truth? It’s not easy. It might result in more uncertainty, more work, and more investigation. It’s easy to be sure of yourself when you don’t dig past the surface. You might have to admit you don’t have all the answers. But in the end, it’s the only way to be.
Why this Valentine’s Day message about being a lover of the truth? Because truthfulness is an essential ingredient to trust. And trust is what makes every kind of relationship great.
And, since it’s Valentine’s Day I want to say: I love my people! And that’s the truth!
Your best friend,
 I recall the popular line about the Pirates’ Code from the movie Pitt Bulls of the Caribbean: “The code is more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”
 In the interests of harmony on Valentine’s Day, I will decline to comment on whether all species that live with humans are trustworthy.