Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Why I hate dogs...

Dogs are universally acclaimed to be 'man's best friend'. They are loyal and friendly, and are always there for your company. You provide them food, shelter and love, and they love you back, isn’t that true? They are great with children and are their best playmates. They are great watchdogs and keep your house safe from intruders. They can be trained to do a lot of tricks, much to the amusements of their owners and their friends. Overall, they can be a great pet and almost every 'ideal' family needs to have one! Who would not love these creatures?

I hate them. It is not so much as a hated towards an animal but it is a hatred of what they represent. They represent something that was abolished by Abraham Lincoln. Slavery is not a very difficult concept. You "rope in" some people, give them the barest of necessities, exploit them by making them work harder than they physically can, under-pay them, and kill them off when they protest because those ungrateful bastards deserve to be punished for their insolence. Isn’t that simple? The "white man's burden" was a very "noble" concept indeed. In Victorian novels, the ideal slave was very grateful to be in the service of the white man and yearned to be civilized by learning the language, manners, customs, clothing, religion, etc of the white man. Perhaps, one of the best example of this picture is in the book (and also in the movie) Gone with the Wind. The book and the movie have been criticized for this aspect for a long time.

For me, the concept of the dog as a pet has the same implications. In fact, a pet dog has an 'owner' to whom it is supposed to be loyal to. It is a 'dependant' much like the slave. Well, some might argue they are not human and therefore they cannot be equated to slave system of the 18th century (in the US, the discrimination did not end till the late 1960s). But then that was the beauty of the slave system, the black people were not regarded and hence, not treated as equals but as something sub-human and who could never be equals. A dog's relationship with a human being is never on the same level, no matter how well that person treats the dog as there is an inherent misbalance in the relationship between them as one of them is the "master" and the other is the "slave". They might be your "best friend" but they are unlike any other human best friends you might have had. It is quite interesting if you look at how dogs are treated. They are put on a leash when taken for a walk or to be tied to a post. They have extremely small dog houses/beds that are barely sufficient and sometimes all they get is a doormat to sleep on. They are castrated to prevent them from becoming aggressive due to high testosterone levels (I wonder what the dog's opinion on this would be).

In spite of all this hatred towards dogs in general, one of my pleasant childhood memories was that of a street dog named 'Johnny' by the neighbourhood. He was a free-spirited guy who roamed the streets of the place where I lived. He would be the first to notice a stranger in the area and would create a ruckus on spotting such a person. A watchdog who was loved by all. It was tragic the way he died though. He was hunted by a group of gypsies one day and it pained all who heard that our dear Johnny was dead. Of course, these are memories of a very young me and are highly likely to be exaggerated.

Do I hate all animals that are man's slaves? No. That is because most enslaved animals are represented as indifferent, mute labourers who do not show any loyalty to their owners. It is only the dog that is extremely glad to have an owner. It seems to conform to the perspective that man is the master of the world and all other beings should be grateful if man is nice to them! I think it is the Bible that says that God created man as the head of the planet. Noah, the guy who saved all those animals in his ark as ordained by God, is looked at as a great man.

The cat is a pet I like as it is its won master. A cat might have several names given to it by different people who live under the delusion that they "own" it. It is quite capable of foraging for itself - how many times have our moms cursed the stray cat that stealthily entered the kitchen to get a drink. And it is one animal that is a living proof of the fact that you do not have to big and strong to survive in this world nor do you have to be someone's slave just because you are weak. An apt example of the cat as a pet is the cartoon strip Garfield.

So, what are you? A cat lover or a dog lover?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

both!... i hate them both the same! kill them all!

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