Dogs and Nature

A few hours ago, I rode Amtrak for the first time ever. At the ticket booth, they had displaying a video informing about the importance of being alert as to one’s surroundings and actively reporting suspicious activities. I appreciated many things about the video in terms of not feeding stereotypes: lots of African Americans in charge, a non-male terrorist, bad guys in example scenarios not acting in ways that obviously say that they’re the bad guys (many walking normally, not wearing sunglasses, not necessarily looking very tough), and most of all (and I think this is very important), example scenarios that end with “it turns out things were all right after all, but it’s still important for us to have known” rather than “and like that, we saved the day from a bomb exploding”: an acknowledgement of reality.

But it also brought something up that touches on something I’ve recurringly felt disturbing. The video showed several instances of police dogs loyally helping the police fight crime. Of course, this is a wonderful thing. But I’d like to think a bit more of the dogs. Dogs are very well known to be exceedingly loyal and often obedient species, but they are so much so that I really wonder how much exactly domestication has done to them. I pity the soul that spends its entire life believing its most important goal is to be a servant to one not even of its kind, and cannot believe that such a sufficiently complex form of life does not have a natural thirst for freedom. So my wishes go out to the dogs that are still wild and free, to stay free and stay wild, to stay disobedient and unleashed. Of course, I don’t want man and dog to not be friends either. They can definitely be friends, and it seems like they can be very good friends. But I think dogs should have more dignity and that it be emphasized that we are friends and not that we own them.

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