Wednesday
Oct102007

« Shoulda Been Born A Dog »

buber on kelli's breast, oh so adoringI think maybe this was all a mistake.

I should have been born a dog.

Then I wouldn't have had to worry about certain things.

The dog only needs to learn a few things, then it is set for life. It does not have to perpetually be reeducated to advance with new job descriptions. A dog just has to be.

No one berates a dog for not going to college to get a degree. A dog is spared crushing student financial aid debt.

Any doggie debt is soon forgiven when he smiles and wags his tail and comes running to the door to greet his master. Forgiving debt among humans undermines the economy and makes people jealous of one another.

No one expects the dog to keep up with where the parents were at his age.

buber found in the county animal shelter, huddling next to the wire enclosure so someone can see how eager he is to be pettedA dog with a broken family somehow gets more love when people realize his fractured past.

A dog's leash does not function the same as the way humans are led around these days, thinking they are free to come and go. The leash at least keeps the dog near his keeper, who probably loves him more than anyone else would. Not really the same in human terms; the things that restrict our freedoms are not the things that keep us in close touch with what is best for us.

That said, who are we to lead dogs around on leashes?

People feed and house dogs without question, but humans create elaborate laws to justify why other humans must starve or remain homeless. We call it sound economic theory. We wage war to enforce these policies. We call it the facts of life. Anything else seems foreign or idealistic. We arrive at this conclusion with the same mind that blindly says the Bible is the literal word of God, and that every word within is true. Except maybe some of what Jesus said about feeding the poor and housing the strangers and orphans.

buber looking out the doorway into a blast of white lightDogs sense a world beyond the world humans understand. Every now and then, certain humans sense a world beyond what other humans understand. To humans, a curious dog is a novel conversation piece between dog owners who meet in passing. But a human that runs off the track and investigates other worlds must be kept in line, and talk about such a person is conducted in hushed tones as if he did something wrong. Maybe prescribed drugs, maybe full time work, maybe imprisonment will knock a sense of "reality" into such a person.

People will stroke a dog for hours out of pure love and affection, but can go to the office and function within a system that destroys lives in any of a number of ways.

If someone gets a dog to jump for a frisbee or play catch with a ball, it's good the for the dog to get exercise. But if humans make other humans "jump" or "catch" it is to belittle them and keep them somehow in an inferior position as a play toy. This second scenario is not conceived of in order to get fit and to bond; it is to degrade another human.

People will adopt stray dogs of uncertain origin but to adopt stray people from other nations is politically dangerous unless they are exploitable somehow, then the tune changes to justify doing so because its good for the economy. Likewise, adopting stray people from down the street is just weird unless it is holiday season, then everyone wants to do it for the news cameras.

Dogs do not understand capitalism and its motives. If they did, they might actually be mad because it is so contrary to everything they know. They really just would like to be fed and petted and let out for a shit.

Speaking of dog shit, it is unfortunate that dog shit laws do not particularly carry over to laws regulating humans. Dog shit, still an organic substance, is still mild compared to the stuff that is legal for humans to dump. But the national and global economy does not depend on dog shit as much as it depends on other waste-creating activity. Dogs shit because it is necessary. Industry takes a shit and walks off, considering cleanup to be an "externality" for which it is not responsible because it is not a profit making activity.

buber on the floor looking up with the look of expectancyDogs are considered marvelous for their diversity. People even rave about the diversity of the dog world. A black dog has as much chance to be petted and fed as a white dog.

If a dog could laugh, it would laugh at how humans are so vain. Every dog knows you just need to lick yourself to stay clean and attractive.

The dogs at the local humane society (a private affair) have spiffy little apartments which are cooler than most of the places I've ever lived. And newer. And people visit them because they are on a mission—looking for someone to love. The neighboring animal shelter (a public institution) isn't as posh, but the dogs there still have brighter days ahead in most cases. You won't see such eager faces or such nice spaces at the penitentiaries or SRO hotels that house unwanted humans who fell through the cracks of life.

Dogs don't have to worry about the end of the world. Maybe they think about the end of the day. The next meal is not far from their minds, but there is no dog heaven that isn't already being lived or not. Dog heaven probably exists around feeding time and extended petting time, not to mention off leash running time. Dog hell might be at bath time.

Dogs probably don't know hate though they do know fear. Conditioned aversion that is accompanied with barking might seem aggressive. They certainly don't live hateful lives. And they certainly don't wrap it up in religious piety or nationalistic fervor. Humans aren't content to just piss on someone else's property to claim it. We need to kill or exploit people in the other yards we visit.

buber lounging around on the couchA dog that sleeps any time of day is regarded as cute. A human who sits around is regarded as lazy, unproductive, worthless. A human who does in fact work hard might end his day being "tired as a dog" which is regarded as a good thing since it signifies a job well done, even though the dog didn't have to do all that work to justify sleeping throughout the day.

A dog is a simple creature who has no need for technology as a labor-saving device. He has no labor to save, and has nowhere to be except at the bowl at dinner time and at the fencepost at piss time, and at his master's knee or lap at all other times. Technology that would benefit a dog would be one that allows him to get into the food bucket when master is gone. But a cell phone, computer, and automobile he has no use for. And thus is spared the headaches and bills. This is why he is still able to love you at the end of a long day and you just think he's barking and needy.

Dogs do not "waste" time because they have no clocks to measure it. And who are we to say a dog's life is boring or could be improved if we could just bring him more technology to mess with?

Dogs are microchipped to possibly save their lives. People could be microchipped so that their lives could be stolen.

Dogs have their balls cut off to save the world from overdogulation. Hah. Like humanity is in a place to determine what is bad for the earth!

the sign from the animal shelter with the Martin Buber quote, and the cover of Martin Buber's I and Thou bookDogs may not know anything of philosophy but they have everything to teach us about it.

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