This picture was taken a year and a half ago but it still looks the same today. Lu believes this king sized bed is hers and she graciously allows us to share it with her. She prefers to sleep on the pillow but my husband insists that she sleep on the other end of the bed. So after he falls asleep, she makes her way back up again. Who says dogs are dumb?
I was listening to Cesar Milan and he was talking about American dogs vs. Mexican dogs. He said that America is the only place where dogs have psychological issues and where we throw them birthday parties, and Mexican dogs, although they may be a little skinny, are well-adjusted.
I had to laugh. It’s really true. Statistically in America almost half of all dog owners allow their dogs to sleep in their bed. We are big on groomers, trainers, anti-depressants, organic food and clothes. I really love Lu. She doesn’t go to the groomer, but I do bathe her and comb her out once a month. She doesn’t have a trainer, although she is with me most days all day at work and so therefore being trained every day. She isn’t on anti-depressants but I credit Starbucks for that. She goes to Starbucks once or twice a week and they give her a free cup of whipped cream. I believe this act of kindness keeps her happy and well-adjusted, believing that the world is a beautiful place to live. She has regular kibble dog food, a good brand, but nothing earth shaking, mostly she turns her nose up at it. She prefers to eat what I eat. She hates popcorn, but if it’s a choice between popcorn or kibble, she chooses popcorn. She loves Kashi bars and she eats a salad with gusto, although she does play with her olives like a ball but eventually she eats them. She’s too big for clothes or she would have some but she does have a DIVA collar.
So what makes American dogs so maladjusted? I think it’s because we apply anthropomorphism to our pets. I know I do. I think I know what Lu is thinking at any given moment. My husband is generally rolling his eyes at me as I talk to her. And what makes us do this with our dogs? What about them makes us so obsessed with their happiness? Could it maybe be that as technology becomes a substitute for going out and making real friendships that dogs become our best friends? Could it be that for many of us, we don’t live near our family and so we create a family with our pets? I can’t really profess to have the answer to this but I know our dogs are spoiled as they never have been before. I mean, my grandparents would have never thought about a dog sleeping on a bed or taking the dog to a trainer or a groomer.
I recently heard about this book I will order soon called, One Nation Under Dog, Adventures in the New World of Prozac Popping Puppies, Dog Park Politics and Organic Pet Food by Michael Schaffer, that discusses this topic in depth. It instantly made it to my book list of things to read. As soon as I get to it, I’ll let you know its findings! I’m interested to know if the author has come to the same conclusion that we are humanizing our pets and therefore making it weird for them.
I was out walking Lu the other day and a guy said she was a good looking dog. “She’s not fat”, he observed, “she’s lean and very well behaved, good looking dog.” I stood there smiling and proud as a mom would be when her child is complimented. Yup, Lu has a good life. She doesn’t have all the luxuries of the other dogs but she is pretty lucky! I walked away patting myself on the back for having raised such a fine dog. Lu was strutting as well, she knows she has the “it” factor and she agreed with the guy that she is a good looking dog!