Updated: May 29
I often hear people say that they love dogs because dogs loves unconditionally, that they are so loyal and and don't hold grudges like humans.
Although I believe that dogs are more forgiving, don't care what clothes we wear, what political party we support, they don't love us due to the way we look or respect us more if we're famous, have loads of money, are poor. They don't even care if we havnt bothered to have a shower for a few days. Couldn't care less if we are fat or thin, clean for a living or are a Neuro surgeon. These are wonderful attributes of dogs that we should often learn from.
But, I also think that our culture of believing they love us no matter what does them a disservice. That the belief that dogs should just do as we ask, be bidable and loyal no matter what, puts them in danger, creates unhealthy expectations and doesn't show them the respect they deserve as individual, sentient beings. Why should dogs just do as they are told? Why should they just love us unconditionally? Sadly I feel this belief comes from the idea that man (And woman) have dominion over all other living things. The belief that we are some how better than other animals. Yes, dogs will often still do as they are told or behave as if they love their owner after being shouted at hit or abused. They will often do what is expected of them even if the only reason we have given them the idea we are in control of them and to be feared. When I see relationships between dogs and humans like this it makes me think of domestic abuse. Where a human will continue to show love and loyalty to their abuser. In my opinion, we have a duty to earn a dogs trust, earn their love, earn their respect and give them good reason to do the things we ask of them. Any relationship can be built on insecurity, fear, uncertainty, one individual being more dominant or more in charge than the other. But a relationship to be proud of is one built on communication, mutual respect, kindness and an understanding of each other. I am not my dogs owner, we belong to each other, we are family, friends and they deserve to be treated as such.