In an insightful and sometimes humorous article, Stephen Budiansky laid down some harsh words about dogs:
“If some advertiser or political consultant could figure out just what it is in human psychology that makes us willing to believe that dogs are loyal, trustworthy, selfless, loving, courageous, noble, and obedient, he could retire to his own island in the Caribbean in about a week with what he would make peddling that secret. Dogs belong to that select group of con artists at the very top of the profession, the ones who pick our pockets clean and leave us smiling about it. Dogs take from the rich, they take from the poor, and they keep it all. They lie on top of the air-conditioning vent in the summer; they curl up by the fireplace in the winter; they commit outrages against our property too varied and unspeakable to name . . .”
“So?” a loyal dog person might reply, “What’s your point? And what kind of plastic is in your pocket – Safeway or MuttMitt? And how long would your wife and kids love you if you quit feeding them and made them go outside to potty?”
We know about that stuff, just like we know our dog makes up for their shortcomings in so many ways, including being a best buddy if we allow it, and at the least a quiet companion occupying the soft fringe of our consciousness. They mess up sometimes. So do we. If you want to keep score, Budianski, get yourself a lizard, they will never love you no matter what you do for them. In fact you should have a monitor lizard, one of those South American jobs that grow to nine feet and run through the tree tops like a sci-fi creature. Try petting that baby when it grows up.
OK, Budianski, we know you have had and perhaps still have-or-house a dog, and you reluctantly subscribe some left-handed affection for dogness, so we will forgive your trespasses as journalistic license. Overall you gave good article, informative if a bit unbalanced. And now I have to leave momentarily – my dog gave the clock on the wall one of his long looks, uttered a low whine and took position near the kitchen. It’s three minutes until his usual feeding time and I don’t want him to pout the rest of the evening . . .