Something that never ceases to amaze me is the obsession that some of my colleagues in the anthropology, natural resources and yoga worlds have with their dogs. In fact, in some instances, I would go so far to say that some people I know have inappropriate relationships with their dogs.
Before anyone accuses me of hating dogs -or animals- in general, I will tell you this: I have a dog (a Papillon), two cats and four chickens. I am also a keen birdwatcher and adore parrots in particular (although Grey-Crowned Babblers are currently my favourite bird). My animals are part of my family, however, they are not humans… Homo sapiens.
This is my dog
Take note of those last words: not humans. I love my pets, but acknowledge they are not humans, and thus, do not pretend that they are. Thus, if you invite me to your house, I will not turn up with my dog, my cats or my chickens. (Unless you were to specifically request their presence – and I wouldn’t bring my chickens, so wake up to yourself before you ask).
Thus, I fail to understand why people feel the need to bring their dogs to my house if I invite them over, why they would ever want the hassle of taking their dog camping (especially in National Parks where dogs are BANNED) or why they would want to take their dogs on work trips.
Furthermore, for some reason I have never understood, many people I know who work in Aboriginal communities, adopt camp dogs as pets. In some ways, this is to prove their affinity with, and understanding of, Aboriginal people. Camp dogs are those that are born in Aboriginal people’s camps. Whilst some are treated as pets and well-looked after, many camp dogs are little more than half-wild, mangy scavengers, continually breeding and being a dangerous nuisance around communities. That half-wild ‘edginess’ never leaves camp dogs, even those raised from puppies as pets.To me, there are many other ways to demonstrate your affinity with Aboriginal people: learning an Aboriginal language is a far better and more deeply authentic way of gaining an understanding of people’s lives, minds and culture than adopting a bloody dog!
So dog owners please spare a thought for your fellow Homo sapiens: just because you love you dog, doesn’t mean anyone else will.