“The only reason we have dogs is so we have something to dominate.” My brother said that, with his standard quick witted impressively un PC way of finding and naming that ounce of truth we are all a little uncomfortable with. I had been talking about what I was learning as I cared for my boyfriend’s dogs when he was out of town.
You see, I’m a cat owner. There is never a moment of hesitation about the relationship~ I am the one at the beck and call of my beloved. And in return, she gives me love medicine that I can’t buy in the pharmacy or on the black market. But with the dogs, there is a deciding point. My boyfriend treats his dogs as equals. They eat equally good food, they get equal exposure out in the world, and they walk equally off leash, with the same kind of consideration and freedom that my friend would have when we go for a walk, they can stop and examine anything of their choosing whenever they want. And in response, I get their undying affection and protection…I’m not willing to go so far as to say love.
In my experience of being the care taker and steward for these creatures over these days, I become more intimately aware of how others care for dogs, and how much of a choice is it to choose to have a fair and equal interspecies relationship that isn’t based on dominance and control. It’s a choice that goes outside of the norm. It is a social norm not to use people as slaves, so when you start watching closely, it’s easy to see what my brother points out, that somewhere along the way we have found an acceptable outlet to express our desire for control and dominance. I think that every person who chooses to walk their dog on a short leash, should be walked on a short leash. Or perhaps I should have a bit more compassion, maybe they are walked on short leashes, and this is there only way to feel a bit of control.
The reward that comes with the authentic chosen affection from these animals is…undeniable. To understand that they when they come it is because they choose to is both incredibly frustrating when they don’t, and just like when I lover chooses to come toward you, when they do…completely satiating.