Having a dog may seem rather common, rather simple and somewhat uninteresting. Like anything else it really all depends on how you look at it – you get out of it what you put into it. We are a dog family. Well, without our dog there really is no family. Our dog is pretty much the epicentre of our social household and most of the time things somewhat revolve around him. I do not proclaim him to be the best dog, the smartest dog or the most beautiful dog. He is simply, our dog. With that said he still makes a significant contribution. It can be hard to articulate without sounding like a sap or blubbering baby-talking pet owner. To maintain a level of scientific approach I would express that his attendance and participation in our lives stimulates the pleasure-centres of our brains at a rate increase of 35-25%. He adds a sense of animation. He reminds us that we too are animals and that more often than not we need to stop living in our heads.
Humanizing an animal is never a good idea, but it can be hard not to. After all it is how we have learned to relate to each other and it works for us most of the time. We love and identify with the ones closest to us by relating to and connecting the things we have in common.
People talk to their pets because it feels a whole lot better than talking to themselves. Dogs look back, raise and lower their ears, blink, wag their tails, yawn and or acknowledge in return, most of the time not having any clue as to what we are saying or mean. They just follow along, roll with it sort of speak. I talk to my dog all the time. With the intent that he understands every single syllable. It just makes me feel better. It allows me to put him on the same level as anyone else that might be in the room. I know it makes no sense and I don’t care. It just makes more of a situation and gives me a few magic moments. It makes me feel like I have some sort of secret super power. And my loyal companion is the most dedicated, attentive captive audience a person could ask for. The intense eye contact, the nuances of his body language, the timed blinks, ear movements and rocking back and forth on haunches. It all says to me loud and clear.”I hear you. I understand you. I love you. You are right. I agree with you. I am listening with every molecule contained within the very fabric of my being. I am here for you and fuck you’re great!”
What more could a person ask for?
Recently one of my cousins lost their dog to old age. They were and are emotionally devastated. I know people that judge others on their opinions and interactions with dogs. I hear them state: “Oh, no I don’t like them, they are not a dog person.” This may seem peculiar to those that don’t really consider themselves dog-ish or dog-liking dog people. But for those in the dog cult it speaks volumes.
I come from a farming background and animals are considered tools for profit and primary food sources. They live and die in servitude, domesticated and blind to the Orwellian cycle of their lives. Farmers live surrounded by livestock and most have a strong emotional separation from their herd. They witness the cycle of life daily and do things like drown kittens and shoot dogs or horses without remorse. It is done with a higher purpose. They are not judgemental of their actions – they see a strength within it. The beasts are here for us to burden, eat, and exploit.
I have ugly memories from the farm. I have beautiful memories from the farm. The miracle of birth and growth, the terror of death and disease. My dog takes me back to a time when I spent hours on the farm with the animals that lived there. At a young age before I was required to work in the fields my days were spent in the barns or pastures with the animals. Walking through the grass running my open hand along the warm solid body of a cow as it grazed lazily in the sun. Pushing chickens gingerly aside to reveal their warm live eggs. Watching wild cats burrow underneath the hide of a dead calf to eat its decaying flesh. Witnessing the result of a cow getting hit by lightening. Standing deep in a cornfield with no sense of direction. Riding on the top of a large wagon of hay laying on my back in the middle of the night looking at the stars.
My dog brings it all back for me. As a thank you to all dogs, those I know and those I will never know. The ones not yet born and the ones long dead – I dedicate this page to them. But most of all I dedicate it to my own dog Bruno and my wife, The one closest to me and the only other one that truly knows.