An Observation Concerning… People and Their Damn Dogs.

“I’m gonna tell myself I might not get angry.”
-Baha Men, “Who Let The Dogs Out”

We have a growing issue in America. No, it’s not unimportant stuff like healthcare reform, equality, poverty, or attempting to mend our divided country – it’s people and their damn dogs. They’re everywhere. What ever happened to the days when you could just go to someone’s home, be pestered by an animal that’s cute at first, but its charm wears off after your face is constantly licked and your leg is continuously humped? Or the days when you visit your friends or family and the dog is skittish or unwelcoming, passing gas because of its anxiety, creating an uncomfortable conversation between guest and host? Those moments are still there, so don’t worry, but now they just happen in public places.

I have nothing against dogs; I think they’re cute, I think they’re funny, and I think they serve a great purpose. With that being said, I don’t think it’s necessary that they need to be with their owner every minute of the day. For example: Breweries. It’s bad enough people bring their children to these places, but when the dogs start rolling in, you might as well be drinking at a petting zoo. The children want to play with the animals, the dogs are either too rough or unresponsive to the child’s advances, creating tears and screeching cries from the youngling. Hooray, just what I wanted to hear while trying to enjoy my adult conversation and good overhead music. Now let’s introduce another dog into the equation which doesn’t get along with other breeds. They bark, growl, and tug on their leash, knocking over glasses and moving chairs around in the process. Yippee, another great variable to my rare night out. I don’t know what’s better: that or the dogs becoming overly excited when they see each other, peeing all over the place, and slobbering all over my clothes because there are so many that I’m bound to be close to one. I guess it serves me right for sitting outside on a beautiful summer evening, leaving my beer exposed so a dog’s floating hair can land in my $5 treat and its bad breath and spit can cover by $10 plate of food. I should just go inside, sit in the corner by myself, and avoid human contact so everyone who has a pet can converse freely. Kind of like how a dog would be treated. Interesting.

A quick note: I sympathize with people who need service dogs, but they’ve become as common as a gluten allergy – and just like the mysterious rise regarding the intolerance, I feel that some people may be over-exaggerating their problem.

I get it; it’s hip and trendy. However, bringing your mutt to work definitely needs to stop. I work in a building that has four suites, including ours. We don’t have any pets staining our carpets, but there are 7 (yep, 7, you didn’t read that wrong) amongst the other three offices on a daily basis – and these are very small businesses. If you count the 6 dogs in the two businesses across the street, you have a full on kennel in the industrial area. I just hope one of these poor things doesn’t get run over by a semi during one of the employee’s 10 breaks that are required for their pet to use the bathroom and exercise. They take more breaks than smokers – and people complain about them all the time, especially when their dog is subject to secondhand smoke. That’s why those same whiners just vape inside the office and nauseate their co-workers with their unregulated scented chemicals. Interesting.

It reminds of the story last week about Joey Barge who was told not to wear shorts to the office per company dress code so he decided to show up in a dress the following day. Loser. We get it, it’s hot, but everyone else is obliging to the company’s regulations – which I’m sure this genius agreed upon when he scribbled his signature on the policies and procedures during the hiring process. So not only did he deliberately break his company’s rules, he also disrespected his superiors. For what? To prove a point and get some likes on social media platforms? Big whoop. He should be fired and replaced by one of many other people searching for jobs who are apparently much more intelligent. My point is that we can’t just keep doing whatever the hell we want because it’s ruining many aspects of life; people need to start thinking about the effect their actions have, because it’s a long spiral of distress for many parties.

People tend to believe they’re nicer and more caring than they actually are. We live in a closed-minded, inconsiderate, selfish world full of double standards, and the epidemic continues to spread. I heard horse therapy works for anger and stress. Maybe I will start bringing a horse to the office and ride it to the brewery after.

WBG

AUSSIE

“All he asks from me is the food to give him strength, All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get.”
-Cat Stevens, “I Love My Dog”

Humans are lame; they’re confusing, full of drama, and contain the ability to be disloyal, a characteristic one hopes never to experience from friends or family members. It has come to the point where our best friends are of another species, and we treat them like people because they act more human than the self-involved social networkers who congest the bandwidth of society. I guess I could have just said, “People like dogs.”

It’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs reside in 37-47% of United States’ households (ASPCA, 2014). That’s about the same amount of legs all combined humans have in the United States, but we have 316 million more pairs of arms. There’s no time to argue these petty differences between canines and humans, it’s not a competition, and if it was, dogs would have the upper paw on how to treat another person, so it’s best we don’t dig deeper into the subject for the sake of embarrassing our own species. Yet, we find excuses like divorce and size of residence to send them to the pound.

Our family dog, Aussie, didn’t apply to the excuses. I purchased Aussie in the late summer of 2000. He was a three-month-old crossbreed, mostly of Australian Sheppard heritage, and was cute as the cutest off all cuties. Wait, let me get back into guy mode here, “He was pretty cool.” My mom didn’t want him from the start, we had recently put down our other dog, Duke, and everyone had already claimed that another canine was not an option (ever). Of course, being a teenage boy, I didn’t care what anyone had to say about anything, so Aussie and I would go to school gatherings and football practice together until the inevitability of too much responsibility for a high school student to deal with became a factor. So, ultimately, my mom and Aussie became best friends.

Aussie 2
Photo courtesy of Me

He had special meaning in our lives because this was around the time of my parents’ divorce, actually before I even knew about it. Aussie was a distraction for my mom, and when I went to college, he moved to Connecticut with her. Whoa, you’re beginning to learn way too much about me (if you would like to know more, please read Driving: An Unofficial Guide, the link is below). He was her best friend and vice versa; all the jogs and walks, new discoveries, photo ops, and nightly broadcasts of the news were done together. It was clear that even though Aussie was originally my dog and became the family dog, he was always mom’s dog. Every time I visited her house through college and now my annual trips home, Aussie greeted me with a smile, a hug, licks, millions of wags, and energetic chases from room to room. This was the case for the last fourteen-plus years, the case until November 15th, 2014.

Aussie passed away. He was an old dog, even for one his size. It’s tough when your canine companion passes away, and we all know we all care more about dogs than people. If that’s the case, why is it when an animal dies in a movie people freak out and become emotional, but then at the same time they can watch an action movie where hundreds of people meet their maker? Independence Day would have been a lot different if that dog didn’t jump into the safe part of the tunnel before the explosion. I think you need to watch that movie again to know what I’m talking about.

A dog is not just a best friend, they’re loved ones, they’re family members, but they’re more similar to man (oh geez, or woman) than one would initially believe. It only took over 30,000 years, but scientists have discovered that dogs and humans respond the same to emotions in the voice, as well as sharing a related social environment, suggesting that canines and people use similar brain mechanisms to process social information (Spencer, 2014). Man (or woman), I sound smart sometimes repeating what others say and research. Whether it’s proven philosophically or scientifically, Aussie will be missed because he was part of the family and loved us as much as we loved him.

Aussie
Photo courtesy of Me

ASPCA (2014).Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistic on December 1 2014

Spencer, B. (2014) Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2557825/Why-dogs-mans-best-friend-Because-similar-BRAINS-Canines-share-voice-region-helps-tune-emotions.html on December 2 2014