When writing about dogs here on the CANIDAE RPO blog, we analyze, interpret, explore, investigate and delve into these very special creatures that have bonded deeply with us throughout human history. When I sit back and look at my own interactions with dogs, I often return to one simple thought – they deserve our praise. In so many ways, our dogs deserve our praise and admiration.
To some a dog is merely a dog, a creature no more significant than any other. To those of us who have a connection with a dog, we value them as companions, as family, as friends and as unique creatures that enrich our lives. They can be challenging and drive us crazy with behavior mishaps. They can make us laugh, make us feel connected, guide us, comfort us, inspire us and teach us. It is a two-way relationship, but one where in essence they give so much more than they ask for in return.
We claim superior intelligence, but in their simple needs dogs teach us that loyalty and love are most important, and that the basics of home, health and sustenance are all we truly need beyond a connection with other living beings.
Dogs are not afraid to show or express honest emotion or deep feelings. They don’t put up barriers (unless they have been abused or neglected by failed humans). They want more than anything to please us and be with us. We don’t have to fight for attention, affection or acceptance with them. They don’t care what we look like, how much we do or don’t have, or where we live or come from.
I see dogs bonding with people on the street as well as in grand homes laden with every privilege. In a dog’s mind, they really don’t care about all the material things we humans strive for; those are meaningless to them. They simply want the basics and to belong, to be loved and love in return. Dogs teach us that basic need is so much simpler and happier. It does make me pause and question which is the more intelligent – dogs in their simplicity, or us in all our learned knowledge and endless strivings.
Dogs may get into fights on occasion, but they don’t create destructive turmoil. They prefer a peaceful, playful, cozy and loving existence. They are not vain beings. Their simple battles are for basic survival or protecting their small territory called home, and the people in it.
We are everything to our dogs, even though they are just one part of our expansive lives. I only have to witness the pure excitement at my arrival home each day and see my dog’s whole body in motion shaking and wagging, to understand what I mean to her. She greets me with pure joy. Dogs just love for love’s sake, not for appearances. They are a source of unconditional love that humans often cannot attain with each other. Dogs do not betray or neglect. They may not be sentient beings by some people’s interpretation, but they feel life deeply and are wiser in their simple lives than we often give them credit for.
In many ways, a dog is like a small child. They are constantly challenging the limits and rules, testing the waters, learning and relearning, and they need us to live day to day. They never grow beyond that capability and always need care. Yet like a human child, they teach us so much in their interactions with us and the world around us.
A dog can’t cure cancer or solve issues like world hunger or world peace, but in their small way they give comfort and peace to our lives, help when we are ill or emotionally down, and celebrate joyfully with us when the situation merits it. Dogs will lay their lives on the line for humans, without pause. Some have been known to mourn the loss of a human companion long after they pass from this world. They are loyal for life.
Anytime I hear someone say, “That is just a dog,” as if dogs are somehow less than we are, I think, “No, that is an amazing living being. That is a DOG.” These four-legged unassuming animals are so much more than “just dogs.”
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch