By Mick Trivane
You have heard it said a million times "You are a dog!" Although the origin of this expression is deeply seated as a pejorative, I believe in recent years it has become a positive label to which each person should strive to attain. Let me explain.
For millennia people have described the inequitable and harmful treatment of their fellow human beings as being treated "like a dog" and to this day, in many parts of the world there is no greater insult than to use the word "dog" while endeavoring to really hurt someone's feelings. In Arabic: "Yebnen kelp!" (Son of a dog). In Hebrew: "Ben kalba!" (Son of a bitch). In German: "Schweinehund!" (Pig-dog). In Italian: "Sei una Cazzo di cane!" (You are a shit from a dog). In Spanish: "Eres tan estupido como un perro!" (You are as stupid as the dog) Anyway... you get the point.
Notwithstanding global tradition, over the past 10 years or so there has been an astounding shift in the paradigm In America where if one lives a "dog's" existence it can be considered as close to living in paradise as any one person could dream. Whether you are a man or woman, you may now be living an unenviable existence where all things evil are blamed upon your gender, you are either portrayed in the media as a bumbling, hapless and clue-less buffoon or an overburdened, unappreciated and exhausted super woman, but as a dog? You are exalted, cherished and coddled, and life as a dog with a loving owner could not be more of a delight.
And so, my Christmas wish would go like this....
As I open my eyes I find myself not in a cold "dog house" with a chain around my neck but in YOUR house and indeed your bed with your warm body pressed lovingly against mine. I notice you are still asleep so I gently lick your face to awaken you. The smell of my breath and the coarseness of my tongue does not repulse you, rather it elicits a giggle and a friendly "You need to go outside boy? Yeshoodoo don't you?" I wag my tail as I bound down the hall, my toenails scarring the hardwood as I scurry unabated. I impatiently scratch at the door while you sleepily shuffle into your slippers and fumble for the leash and a plastic bag. Neither my impatience nor my abuse of your floor or door is admonished. I listen to hear you say "I'm coming my fuzzy boy!"
You open the door for me and I eagerly begin my search for the perfect patch of lawn to relieve myself upon as you not only refrain from expressing publicly an audible and embarrassing preference for me but instead whisper sweet encouragement and loving praise as I squat out a doozie for you to then pick up and transport for me. (I never know why you do that.) We now begin our walk together around the block, you allow me to lead you as you express (with believable enthusiasm) an interest in the things that I'm interested in. "What's that boy... What's that? A squirrel? You like the squirrel don't you boy? Yeshoodoo!" We turn the corner and you remove my leash as our home comes into view, generously allowing me the freedom to run the last few yards on my own. You clap your hands vigorously, publicly applauding me for my athleticism while I speedily and proudly show off for you and encircle you as my own.
You open the door for me once more, and as you take the time to wipe your feet, I make a bee-line straight for the kitchen, noisily clanging my collar against the attractive stainless steel food bowl that you graciously spent your hard earned money on, not to impress your friends but out of an abundance of concern for me. You even elevated it off of the floor for me to make my dining experience efficient and comfortable. You enter the room, "Are you hungry boy? You want Mommy make you num-nums? Yeshoodoo!" I reveal no indication to you that I shudder with embarrassment inside when I hear you call my food "num-nums" because I love you most when you are feeding me. As you prepare my meal complete with savory chunks of beef, you notice a single hair in my water bowl and rush quickly to replace it with fresh imported water. I lap it up and polish my food bowl to a glistening and spotless shine in tribute to your efforts.
I look up to find you preparing to leave for work, you crouch down to lovingly pat my head and scratch my belly and say "I'll be back as soon as I can boy, I've left the T.V. on to keep you company." I sadly watch from the window as you drive away, I eventually settle in and curl up with my stories. I'm always confused a little bit by the shows on T.V. and sometimes wish I could change the channel, especially when that one show comes on where the males jump for joy when they hear "You're NOT the father!" Huh? What's up with that? I wonder... and then I lick my jewels for 10 minutes and doze off to the recurring dream of catching that damn squirrel, my legs twitching as I drool in my slumber. I'm eventually roused from my all-day nap by the familiar sound of the engine on your car turning off. I rejoice to learn that my loving lady has once more returned to me to begin again our pleasant morning ritual... But in reverse this time.
You have always loved me like no other. Tonight as you reached to embrace me, you winced and exclaimed "Pew! You are a stinky boy aren't you? Yeshoo-are." But instead of rejecting me completely and relegating me to the basement, you dutifully fill the tub with warm soapy water and carry me in to bathe me. You scrub me really good as you hum to me a beautiful tune, you never ever miss a single spot, you don't even think twice as you scrub my filthy nether regions, I love it when you get right up in there, you really do love me don't you? Maybe that's why you so often collect my poo in bags. I jump out of the tub and vigorously shake the water off, soaking the floor, the walls and even the pretty towels that nobody ever seems to use. You pay the mess no mind at all, you laugh out loud and quickly wrap me in a towel and rigorously rub me completely dry while repeating "You like that don't you? Yeshoodo, that's my good boy, you like that?" Yes I do... Pure ecstasy.
You have always forgiven me like no other. Tonight when your friend came over and I jammed my nose right up in her junk, you didn't kick me out or throw my stuff out on the lawn, you giggled with embarrassment and gently pulled me away saying "Sorry, he probably smells your dog." I think to myself... "That don't smell like no dog mamma." Your friend shrugs off this intimate intrusion and bends down to scratch my ears, I like her but she'll never be as special as you are to me.
This Christmas wish may seem extremely self serving, but consider what you will get in return for treating me in this way.
I will always be genuinely happy to see you, my tail will always wag best for you. I will always growl at the people who displease you. I will always fend off even the largest aggressor who intends to harm you, even if it means giving my own life to do so. I will always alert you to a fire, even when you don't change the battery in the smoke detector because you somehow still don't own a ladder. I will always look you in the eye when you speak to me. I may occasionally tilt my head in confusion, but rest assured, I'm listening to every word because I love the sound of your voice. I'll allow you to dress me up to look ridiculous, even in front of my friends. I will always allow you to describe me as a "rescue" even if all you did was drive to the pound. I will never refuse the opportunity to play with you in public, and I will only stop playing when you decide we are done. I will always walk proudly by your side well beyond my own exhaustion. I'll snuggle you up real good, even when you feel everyone else in the world hates you. I'll always lick your face even when you think it looks old, because you know I love that face. I will always show remorse when I have offended you. I'll even let you blame your farts on me. You see... I'll always gladly take the heat for you, if it means you will keep loving me unconditionally.
Being treated like a dog sounds wonderful doesn't it? So let's always try to remember that dogs aren't necessarily better than people... They are only better than really shitty people. So save your money and give the gift that keeps on giving the whole year long... Show the one you love how much you really love them this year. Treat 'em like a dog.
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