Saturday, June 17, 2006


I am a cat lover who happens to have a dog, too. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my dog -- in fact, I am in general an animal lover. Its just that I admire cats more than dogs because cats are so self-sufficient while dogs are so dopey in their commitment to hierarchy. Anway, yesterday at the bookstore I stumbled on this book and could not stop looking at the beautiful pictures of puppies!

My dog is a collie-corgi mix -- bigger than a corgi but with those short legs. I have to admit that I was absolutely in love with the corgi puppies' pictures in the book. I realize now why I like corgis so much. I thought it was the short legs and fox-like faces, but I now realize its the eyes. The puppies have huge eyes and cute little eyebrows.

My dog has those huge cow-like eyes and expressive eyebrows. Most people respond to that in him and he in turn loves people. He pretty much ignores the cats, even when they bat at him with their paws, and is totally devoted to his people, especially me.

There's a children's book about dogs called Once I Ate a Pie which documents the adventures of various breeds. The herding dog (which both collies and corgis are) is a German Shepherd who describes his dedication to his owner, including going into a panic when the bathroom door is closed. This is my dog -- he follows me everywhere, almost never takes his eyes off of me and, when I am away, waits by the door until I return.

To me, this is both appealing and annoying. I know many dog owners interpret this dedication as love, which it isn't. Its just a breed trait. Its annoying because he's always underfoot and I prefer independence over devotion.

I find it frustrating that a lot of people need to anthropomorphize their pets. This is actually insulting to the animal who acts the way he does for natural reasons, not for human rationalizations. This is actually the root of many dog behavior problems (as anyone who watches The Dog Whisperer knows). My favorite anthropomorphization is when people don't want to "hurt the dog's feelings." Jeez -- the dog doesn't have feelings like a human. Discipline the dog and move on -- the dog will.


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