"My dogs are like humans." "My dog is really a little person." How many times have I heard these phrases? Many, many and lots of other similar ones. So where does this sense of humaness stem from? Is it the fact that dogs are becoming a more increasingly important part of our lives? The marketing ploy of the dog industry to give us more human type products for our dogs? Or is it the simple fact that evolution is playing out before our eyes? We all know that our dogs descended from the wolf, what wolves and from where is still being researched further. I often sit and marvel that these "dogs" sitting by our side, live so easily in our human world.
After my visit to the Wolf Center in January I found it difficult not to compare. As I sat beside Luke, he did a huge yawn only an inch from my face. This action alone starts the ponder process. To be this close, this connected to another species is truly remarkable. The bonding process immense, the sense of trust a little amazing. And the trust runs both ways, I feel no sense of dread as his huge mouth opens only an inch from my face. He trusts me even though he is a very nervous type dog, we have grown to trust one another.
But are they becoming more human? No. I am very happy to say that they are and will remain to be dogs. I am not happy when I see people treating dogs as humans, little four legged furry people. Dogs have needs that we do not have. I have no sense of need to run down a rabbit in the park, but my dogs do. I also have no strong sensation to roll in things that smell really foul, which I'm sure the people who live with me are happy about.
What I really think is happening is that we are perhaps seeing dogs as a very important part in our life. As each person who lives with a dog is evolved themselves into a true dog person, everything changes. We spend more time with our dogs, we talk to our dogs and we are more active participants in their lives. All of these create a smoother coexistence, this is the evolution of our relationship. Our dogs made their initial evolution from the wolf but there it rests. The biggest evolution has been our own and how we see dogs in our lives.
There are many people who will never evolve, remaining in the dark ages when a dog was just a dog. To them a dog is an object and not something that you would purposely cater to with any concern. I remember hearing people say "are you kidding, the floor isn't good enough?" when I told them that my dogs had their own bed. I also know many people who would never consider nutrition when talking about "the dog," in their home. Many people dogs belong tied in the backyard, there to lead a sad and lonely life tied to a dog house.
Hopefully as more and more people evolve there will be a domino effect. Sometimes you just need to help spread the word by telling people your story. I am proud that I care for my dogs the way that they need to be cared for, and you should be too.
As far as I'm concerned dogs are just perfect the way they are, it is we humans that need the work. :)