The other night, I lay awake in bed thinking about all the dogs I’ve had in my life, and the various ways in which I’d failed each of them. My crimes ranged from leaving Pluto and Gypsy in the yard too much of the time, to failing to explain to Waldo that I was putting him down because I loved him and wouldn’t have him suffer for one minute even though losing him would crush me. I mentally apologized to each of them for my failures, and asked them all to forgive me.
Being a dog guardian has been a learning process. I’m astounded by people who think they know it all because they have a dog. By people who say things like: “He’s still alive, I must be doing something right.” I’m equally astounded by the people who have had a dog, or two dogs, or half a dozen dogs during their life , and still think of them as “just animals.” People who ridicule others for “Treating their pets like children.”
What does that mean?
Next time someone says that to you, (and they will), ask them what they are objecting to.
Do they mean there should be a limit to how much care you give your dog? We know these days that physical care by itself isn’t enough. Wellbeing is more than just having one’s physical needs met. Do they mean that we should limit how much we love our dog? Is it even possible to limit the amount of love you feel? And anyway, we know that love by itself isn’t enough. Wellbeing is more than just knowing one is loved.
I think that at the root of it, those people think that dogs are “less than.” That one life form is somehow less than another ( them ).
I wonder how they arrive at that belief? Because humans have speech? Jobs? Souls? Purpose? That, my friends, is why this world is in the mess that it’s in, because humans believe they are more important: more important than the environment, more important than other animals, more important than the oceans, the forests, their neighbor. Because humans are egoists. But this imagined separation between humans and animals is a lie.
It takes nothing from anyone if you are kind to your dog, so why is it so objectionable? Is it because others think that they are rational and you are not? I believe that I, and others like me, will be on the right side of history. Every day, science discovers more and expands our knowledge about the sentience of animals: that they have an emotional life, that they think and communicate, that they form relationships with others, that they are self aware, that they understand us when we speak to them.
What makes humans so great? We’re the ones who are destroying the planet. We’re the ones who cause all the pain and suffering.
Like children, dogs need us to be responsible and take care of them. . . in a way that ensures they are living their best life. And, like children, they are at our mercy.
UPDATE on the No Parole Project: there are still postcards left it you want some to pass out for signatures. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org your mailing address and quantity. Meanwhile, I am still accepting donations for postage. The current group of mailings will require $45 in postage. Donations of any size can be made through PayPal or in any quantity of actual 35 cent stamps. Contact me at the email address above for more info.