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Advantages of Being a Dog: a Satirical View
Dogs Could Make Us Envious
There are couple of good reasons why we could envy dogs, and I don't merely mean the fact that so many of them are loved, pampered, and taken care of better than some humans. I would rather talk about dogs' typical tendency to follow everything they know and believe.
Namely, that's one quality that we don't see much at us humans, as we are privileged with a "second thought"---which allows us, for example, to madly fall in love, but then develop cold feet over a time. Something you definitely won't see at a dog's way of loving, as he stays loyal to you forever--- no fancy dinners, no compliments, no diamond rings necessary to make you somehow deserve it.
We, humans also managed to invent our deities, and set the rules for our behavior---only to act exactly opposite to them. We even make a joke out of it: "Rules are made to be broken". So, there is nothing to be surprised about when we elect our leaders only to find an assortment of derogatory names for them later on.
We proudly call it "freedom of speech". In a pack of dogs you won't see anything similar, because they happen to respect their "alpha". And even if your dog barks at you, that's only an expression of love or playfulness; certainly not because he is tired of seeing you as his boss, ever since he set his eyes on that good looking female neighbor---maybe just by following your own unfaithful eyes.
Dogs know what's good for them to put in their mouth and what isn't; so we don't see them chewing on something like smelly socks---while, for the life in me, I couldn't tell you why it took me some decades of heavy smoking before I realized that cigarettes didn't smell all that good.
Dogs will also gladly use their learned tricks for a reward. They will roll over as many times as you ask them for yet another of those tiny delicious treats. But then, our wife could be a gourmet cook and daily surprise us with something new as a treat---and yet, we find it so hard to roll over when she begs us to do it at night---because our snoring won't let her fall asleep.
Bad Hygiene---Man's Invention
Thinking now about all these differences between a Steve and a Fido, some more are popping up. Like, take a dog's immunity system and ours for a comparison. Fido can dig his hidden bone out from the dirt and eat it, obviously not fussing at all about cleanliness of his food.
We, on the other hand need to wash our hands before eating, even if we never touched anything that would call for it. Our plate and cutlery had better be spotless clean for us, so that we don't catch a bug of a sort.
Maybe dogs know that those damn bugs are all around us anyway, and nicely sitting on our shiny spoons and using them for their mirror---only seconds after we washed them. Besides, I would assume that dogs are following that rule: "What I don't know---doesn't bother me"; and since they don't have all army of doctors to scare the crap out of them with bugs, they never made themselves sensitive to them. Indeed, certain warnings can work for us---and against us.
As all of us may know, our immune system is closely working with our nervous system. So, while we are stressing ourselves no end over our dog's urinating all over our garden flower-bed, we are bound to attract some of those bugs that dog won't get.
To make it even crazier, we may get sick just by believing that we have been over-exposed to something that doctors would call "hazardous to our health". I am just wondering if a dog would fall for all such cautions, if his vet had a way of convincing him.
Somewhere I read about kids of a certain country being given dirt capsules to strengthen their immune system---since their over-protective parents are not really preparing them for the real life.
That reminds me of my childhood back in Europe, when I used to see some Gypsy kids pick a leftover of an apple from the ground and eat it. And we, the "normal kids" would envy their healthy looking, suntanned physique and their strong, white teeth.
Once that your dog is trained well, he is pretty much predictable. Unlike humans who may appear to be so much more trainable---except that they are bound to act opposite to their training. Which reminds me of that obese cardiologist who once examined my heart; and his heavy breathing close to my empathetic ears made me worried about his own heart enveloped in flab.
Then, at another occasion I had a chance to see this dentist with bright-white polished teeth---but sprinkled with yellow tobacco stains. Normally, I crack a joke or two at the dentist's office prior to the familiar ordeal, as to mobilize enough courage or something. But with that particular dentist I stayed away from humor, not to make him laugh and expose that bad advertisement of teeth to my delicate eyes.
Is it only me that I run into these walking human contradictions, but I also happened to socially meet a psychologist who was a complete ruin after her divorce, and despite her training apparently unable to do anything about her emotions all hanging out.
Well, maybe I was under a wrong impression, but she seemed willing to take some notes as I was casually yapping about my methods of keeping myself balanced while facing unfavorable circumstances.
Dog has been called "man's best friend"---and not without a reason. Our niece in Los Angeles has a little Havanese---a purse dog, and a huge Mastiff; and as we visit there every couple years, both dogs readily come to us wagging their tails, happy to see us.
However, during those rare trips to Europe, some family members are proving true that old adage: "Far from their eye---far from their heart". Indeed, people grow apart from each other when they are not a part of each other's routine life.
Getting back to those wagging tails, dog's wagging his tail is much more telling than a man's oftentimes "tail wagging him". Namely, so much seems to be directed to our brains from the bottom of our torso area---so that you can never tell what is cooking in man's brain while he is giving you a compliment.
Empathy in the Snout
I used to watch every episode of that TV documentary "Dog Whisperer", with Cesar Millan. He would talk a lot about him actually "training the owners" more than training their dogs.
Apparently, it was something in the negative energy field of the owners---their lack of confidence, maybe depression, anxiety, or some other emotional issue that was detected by "telepathic antenna" of the dog, making him go nervous and misbehaving.
Namely, the owner feeling like that was not enough of an "alpha" in the dog's judgement, so the dog took over that role, which resulted in all kinds of annoying dog's acting. Now, isn't that amazing how dog can sense our feelings---whereas it seems like no words may sometimes be good enough for others to understand us.
No wonder we love dogs so much. As a matter of fact, out of sheer endearment or something, in certain parts of the world dogs could even be found on their menus. Now that's a real love, when they don't only love with their heart, but with their stomach as well.
There must be some magic in that closeness between man and dog, because it can't be a dog's charisma. Not after I have seen so many ugly mutts being cuddled more than you could ever see an ugly human being cuddled---not even out of a sympathy. But then again, it must also be true that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".
Still Loving People More
My particular eyes don't have a developed sense for that sort of aesthetics. I like some cute dogs, I may play with them, but then I get tired of their limited responses, so I opt for the complexity of human company. For, even when they are boring, they have a way of being that in a number of different displays.
Who knows, maybe I also get jealous that an animal would get more of a gentle treatment from my friends owning them than I am getting from them. As you can see, I am more prone to use animals only in my evaluation of humans, and what humans may lack that animals seem to have in abundance in their nature.
But then again, we do have attributes that we share with the animal kingdom. In order to prove it to yourself, the next time you go to a beach, with those seagulls watching greedily every move you make while you are eating your sandwich---go ahead and throw a piece to them.
What you will see next may serve as a metaphor for what we humans do for a piece of land, for a status, for money, for anything that might buy us more personal importance. Those damn lucky dogs---all they have to do for an applause is to roll over.
But we have to respect them for their consistency in the way they treat those they love. Also, if a dog had a god, he would probably obey every of his commandments. He would not kill, lie, steal, fool around with other available bitches---and then go to his church and expect all of that to be swept under the rug with one forgiveness in that confession booth.
My Next Incarnation---Hopefully Not a Conformist Dog
Well, I have said so many nice things about dogs, and not so much of a flattering stuff about people. That would make me a little of that earlier mentioned "walking contradiction", because there I went contrary to my convictions.
For, in all honesty, in most cases I tend to nonjudgmentally love people just as they are; and despite all this dog praising I am not likely to ever buy me a dog. As much as I respect their loyalty and other qualities not so prominent in our race---myself being an out-of-box user of my mind---I don't care much for dog's conformist mentality.
Indeed, I can't see myself as a constant butt-kisser, and, as my wife would readily attest to it---no treat, but an elbow has to be used for me to roll over when I snore.
I find it easy to forgive dogs for their being such conformists; just like I would find it hard to deal with an opinionated cat---but animals are animals; and if people with their brains can't find that golden middle between being abiding citizens and using their own brains, how could we expect it from those cute four-legged creatures.
This coming summer we are going again to Los Angeles, and after I do all that hugging with everyone in the family---I admit, that tail-wagging will amaze me one more time---making me feel more lovable.