Few dogs get to develop relationships with their loved ones. Dogs are slaves, born to do what we want, not what they want. Even on the rare occasions when we see with any clarity what our animals desire, our wishes have high priority, theirs have low priority, and we convince ourselves, however wrongly, that we know what’s best for them.
I have been reading a rather interesting book called “The Social Lives of Dogs” by Elizabeth Marshal Thomas. She recounts the lives of her dogs and has some interesting observations to make. Some of her inferences make no sense to me. But some of her observations are indeed astute.
In one touching story, she recounts the story of her dog, Sundog, who falls hopelessly in love with Bean, her carpenter’s dog. The carpenter brings Bean over everyday and Sundog and Bean frolic around, like any young couple might. Eventually the carpenter’s work is done and he needs to move on to his next contract and is unable to visit Sundog anymore. Despite lengthy dialogue, owners of Sundog and Bean are unable to find a solution where they can let the dogs meet often. Neither owner is willing to let their dog go live with the other, for obvious reasons. They love their dog too much to give the dog up. In their love for their dog, they seem to forget the love their dog has for the other dog.
Eventually, the author makes a rather provocative statement that has had me thinking about it for a while and has been increasingly making me more uncomfortable. Everytime I read it, it turns my stomach in a knot. I don’t know how to reconcile with this. Here is what she says: