Thursday, January 4, 2018
An open letter to dogs
First of all, dogs, let me just say thank you for reading this. I know this won't be the easiest thing for you to hear, and it's not easy for me to say it, but I want you to know I come in hopes of friendship and say all of this only with the sincere ambition of being constructive, as much for your benefit as my own. I deeply respect your willingness to read it.
I think there are some things you should know about yourself, some unpleasant things.
Maybe it is just a matter of no one having told you. Or maybe you have been confused by all the people petting you and giving you food. It is possible you are insulated by people fussing over, adoring, walking, and indulging you. This may have caused you to lose all perspective.
But I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I am going to assume that you simply did not know. I can see how easily that is possible. And though you may find some of the things I'm about to tell you here to be uncomfortable, I believe that you can take this knowledge and become better from it. I believe that the truth can set you free and let you take your place in friendship with all the peoples of the world, not just with the small group that likes to own you.
And that maybe is the first hard truth: You are owned. I know that might be uncomfortable, but it is best to start from a place of real honesty. You are owned. They may like or love you, but they own you. They may indulge your ignorance from the idea of protecting you, and they might do it to protect themselves, but there is a lot they don't tell you. And those of us around you at a remove are the ones who really suffer for it.
This is because your behavior is frequently rude and offensive.
Again, I don't think you know you're doing it, or know what it means necessarily, but the thing is that you are often discourteous, uncivil, violent, and invasive. You yell at everything. You invade personal space. You physically attack people or suggest you might, with trifling, almost non existent provocation. You go to the bathroom offensively in plain sight of everyone, and then you just leave it there! You lick yourself gratuitously in public.
It is not good.
However, if we can amend these grave faults, which, fortunately, come in a short list, we can lay clear your many other sterling qualities in a way that everyone will be able to see and appreciate. I know that you can be friendly, warm-hearted, faithful, amusing, peaceful, and congenial. But these things are, for many of us, hidden behind your flaws. And so I have laid out a short list of rules for you. Follow these few rules carefully and the pain of who you have just discovered you are will soon be a mere anecdote of your wayward youth.
1. Always use your inside voice. You should be quietly saying "Woof", never yelling "Woof!". If people are often saying to you "What was that?", then you are on the right track. You and I both know you speak best with your eyes and tail anyway and have always had least to say with your voice.
2. Don't let anyone see you go to the bathroom. If you simply cannot master a toilet (and I see the structural difficulties), find a deep, hidden place, perhaps in thick bushes, for all your needs. Make sure no one is nearby when you go.
3. Approach everyone at a sedate walk. Stop at five to ten feet distance to see if the party you are approaching is interested in contact. They will usually be moving towards you as well, with hands out and a friendly countenance. Only then should you continue for a nearer approach. If these welcoming signs are not forthcoming keep a quiet and respectful distance.
4. Yes, I know it's important to you, so you can smell and lick the people you come in contact within the template of rule three. However, try if you can to be less obvious about it. A few light, ambient sniffs can do you just as well sticking your whole face in, and likely will reveal far more.
5. No biting, unless they bite first. Likewise with the snarling.
And that's it.
While it may not be easy going at first, with these mere five rules you, I assure you, will be reformed! Good luck.
I look forward to a long and fruitful friendship with you and yours. Welcome to the community of civil beings.