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A cocker spaniel, maybe?

As regular readers of this space know, it usually offers a lighter look at contemporary affairs. Today, courtesy of a story in the Toronto Globe and Mail, will be different. Last Wednesday, a disillusioned, unemployed man drove to the city with five licensed firearms and 6,296 rounds of ammunition, intent on mayhem. He chose a public park to target his first few victims; afterward, he'd cruise the streets, firing at anyone in sight. But as he gathered himself for the spree, a dog approached, seeking attention. Because the animal was friendly, he reasoned that it must come from a caring home. The mesmerism broken, he decided he couldn't carry out his plan, approached a police officer, and asked for help. Said a spokes-man for the force: "It's scary how close [tragedy] could have been. We have a dog to thank somewhere."

A country collection of classic two-hanky ballads

Country music love songs, connoisseurs say, are rooted in down-to-earth experience that gives them a special poignancy. Recently, Country Music Television saluted the 100 greatest love songs, even though some bear titles such as "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." The selection process admittedly was subjective, with a team from the channel picking those that, in its judgment, best captured the breadth and depth of this genre. The top 10 from the list, with the artist who first made each famous:

1. "I Will Always Love You," Dolly Parton
2. "You Were Always on My Mind," Willie Nelson
3. "Sweet Dreams (Of You)," Patsy Cline
4. "Forever and Ever, Amen," Randy Travis
5. "Hello Darlin,'" Conway Twitty
6. "Unanswered Prayers," Garth Brooks
7. "Amazed," Lonestar
8. "She Believes in Me," Kenny Rogers
9. "I Cross My Heart," George Strait
10. "Golden Ring," George Jones/Tammy Wynette

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