The By Gosh and By Gum Club

When I trained retrievers professionally, I used to get a steady stream of business from members of the By Gosh and By Gum Club, whose club motto went something like, “By gosh, it seemed like a good ideer, so by gum, that’s the way I done it.”

They were the guys who thought the way to introduce their Lab pup to gunfire was to take him out to the gun range and tie him to the truck bumper while everyone shot, or throw their pups in the lake to teach them to swim.

God bless those guys, because I made a fair bit of money teaching their traumatized pups not to fear gunfire or water.

It was pretty rough on the poor dogs, though. And sometimes, the damage was too great to repair.

In those cases, a few of the club members dropped their memberships and looked for better ways to do things, but many just blamed the failure on their dogs or the trainer they hired to clean up their mess, and went on to traumatize other dogs and plague other pro trainers.

It occurs to me that the By Gosh and By Gum Club has chapters in every EMS system in the country.

By gosh, that’s what was in the textbook, so by gum it must be right.”

What they never realize is that a whole bunch of that textbook was written by an earlier generation of the By Gosh and By Gum Club.

“By gosh, it stands to figger that a feller with a broke neck ought not to move it, so by gum we’ll strap ’em to a board to make shore that don’t happen.”

Some of them learn better and drop their club membership, but others will continue to do things the same way the rest of their careers, ignoring every piece of evidence that shows theirs was the wrong way.

Still just as rough on the patients as it was on the dogs, though.