I know from my Facebook page that there are a lot of dog lovers in the world. Every day it fills up with cute pictures of dogs in funny situations with witty captions. Now, I understand that it is nice to come home to someone who is actually glad to see you, but it is a lot of work. And the sacrifice people will make for their dog is extraordinary. In many ways it is like having a child who will never grow up. For instance, if you want to go anywhere for the weekend, you first have to solve the problem of who will walk your dog.
I had a dog a few decades ago and I soon realized that we project all kinds of human attributes on them that aren’t really there at all. For instance, every once in a while I would look at him and wonder what he was thinking.
He couldn’t tell me, of course. All he could do is yap, which he did quite a bit, especially if he heard another dog bark. It was as if they were carrying on a primitive dialogue. But barking is not really a language. And because he had no language, he probably had no thoughts.
He had a much more profound way of expressing himself. I noticed it every time I took him for a W-A-L-K. He would sniff the markings of other dogs and add his own two scents. I surmised that he was speaking the way dogs have spoken since they first evolved into our Darwinian domain — with his excrement.
But this was at the time that all the anti-dog laws were coming into effect.
Dogs were no longer allowed to run free as was their nature. So you could no longer let them off their leash. And also you had to pick up their poop.
It wasn’t long before I realized that I would have to give him to someone who lived in the country where he could be who he truly was. So he went to my ex.
Now, being dogless, I amuse myself watching my neighbours walking around behind their dogs. Those canines must think they are awfully special. Not even the Queen of England has a poop catcher. (Oops, there I go again imagining that dogs can think.)
The owners remind me of the guy in the circus whose job it was to walk behind the elephant with a shovel and a pail. His friends all thought it must be humiliating and asked him why he didn’t quit. He answered: “What? And give up show business?”
But the flip side of this specialness is that the poor animals are being denied the very characteristics that make them dogs, their ability to wander and to mark their territory.
Not allowing dogs to be dogs is a kind of oppression. What you are doing is not allowing the dog to say: “Hi, my name is Butch and I am here.” Or: “My name is Fluffy and I’m looking for a short dark stranger, must like moonlit nights and long walks in the park.”
Is it constitutional? I mean this is how dogs communicate, with urine and feces. This is a freedom of speech issue. Can we get Julius Grey on the case? Discuss.