A Dog's Life
March 08, 2012
As I scrambled to find the humidifier at 4 a.m., I wondered.
I wondered about a lot of things. Mainly, I wondered why I was scrambling to set up a humidifier at 4 a.m. For the dog?
Since when did our species start to treat canines as companions, rather than animals? I mean, I get it - many eons ago, dogs came closer to our camps, rooting in our scrap heaps, and we fed them to keep them there. They were good protection and darned fine trash collectors. But at what point did some cave woman look into a wolf puppy’s eyes and go, "Awww." When did Alley Oop start thinking it would be cool to scratch that wild dog’s head? And why did the prehistoric beasts put up with it, or even like it?
I mean, we've domesticated sheep and chickens, goats and pigs, but for the most part, they’ve stayed barn animals, not friends and companions. Pigs have moved up the ladder, recently, to pet status in certain situations, but it’s still rare to have a lap pig.
Now by all rights, dogs should be competition for food, for hunting territory, and for prey. Instead, we treat them like teammates or like furry infants. My dogs are in the furry infant category. Our beagle looks at us with big brown eyes and droopy ears, and we say, "Isn’t she CUTE?" But why do we think she’s cute? Her face is furry, her nose is shiny black, and her muzzle is long and full of pointy teeth. In other words, she looks far from human.
When we say she looks cute, she goes into spasms of ecstasy, her tail waving madly, and her lips stretched in a doggy grin. Why does she care what we say? The theory is that dogs know if praise is given (treats may soon follow), but I’m not sure that explains the absolute transportation of joy she expresses.
I guess I shouldn’t question it. We love our little beasties. They snuggle, they’re happy when we come home, and they almost seem to have a sense of humor. Or, we project our own enough to make it entertaining. What more do I need?
Platte City Branch