My dog is not a “fur-baby,” and I am not her Mama.
My dog is not a human being; she belongs to another species called Canis Lupus Familiaris. She comes from an ancient lineage of pack hunters that somehow managed to domesticate human beings and teach them how to cooperate and co-exist with an alien species.
My dog has a name that I gave her: “Tully,” and she recognizes it, but she doesn’t give a shit about names, or politics, or money. She barely gives a shit about the weather, although she loves to lie in the sun.
I am glad my dog is not a human being, because she helps me forget about all the awful things that human beings do to each other. She doesn’t even think about global warming, immigrants, real-estate prices, LGBTQ rights, poverty, or anti-vaccers.
To her ‘social justice’ means that her expectation of being fed in the morning is perfectly justified.
She knows things that no human being knows. She sees things that human beings can’t see, and smells things that human beings can’t smell.
She makes hilarious groaning and yawping noises, but these are not the equivalent of language. She does definitely act like she likes it, though, when I get down on the floor with her and make similar noises.
She talks with her ears and her tail, and the shape of her lips, but the things she says have nothing to do with human concerns. She doesn’t expect me to understand what she says, but she is quite gratified when I do.
She amazes me by looking where I point. She astounds me by gazing at me in such a way that I receive a telepathic message direct from her mind to mine. I fear I frustrate her more than I amaze her, especially when I have no clue what she is barking at.
I’m certain that I love her, and I’m equally certain that it isn’t relevant whether or not she “loves” me.
It’s altogether fine that she wags her entire self whenever I come home, and that she wakes up when she’s not sure whether the noise I’m making is laughing or crying, and comes over to put her chin on my knee. It’s quite a bit more than fine when she wags her tail in her sleep, or falls down without warning to present her belly to me to be scratched. In fact, these things are so satisfactory that I’m willing to put up with my Kindle being chewed, and my bird book shredded, and my hand-lotion eaten.
The whole point of this little rant is to make it clear that I am never going to demean my dog by gushing over her, or expecting her to play the role of a surrogate child. I promised that I would never make high-pitched squealing noises at her, or pin her head to my chest in a hug, or make her wear a pink sweater, or torture her nose by letting the groomer spray perfume on her coat, or confuse her by insisting that she be the one in charge. I promised that I would learn the customs and language of Dogdom, and that I would never expect her to be something she is not. I promised that I would treat her with dignity and respect, because that is how she treats me.
It wasn’t necessary for her to make any promises to me, because dogs have built-in integrity, and are always true to themselves without having to even try. This is exactly because dogs are not human, and that’s what makes them so cool. Thank God my dog is not a human being.