Opinion: Dogs are people, too
While it would be fair to say that we like pets in general, we have a preference for the canine variety of domesticated beasts. Millions of Americans invite dogs, cats, gerbils, fish and countless others of God’s creatures into their homes (often sleeping in the same room if not the same bed). At a recent conference on merger and acquisition activity held here in Central Indiana, several of the panelists representing investor groups and investment banks pointed to the growing spending in the pet area. More than increasing quality in food provided for our cohabitants, it seems that we are attentive to the overall quality of life they experience. Clothing, furniture, spas, resorts and countless other products and ideas prove that in spite of what has been a difficult economy, we LOVE our furry friends.
Most of us don’t completely buy into the aphorism that “dogs are people, too.” But, it is understandable that we personify them. Empathy, attention, joy and concern are all on the docket for the routine interaction with a pet. And, they display an amazing array of what can only be called personalities. Some are engaging, extroverted beings that seem happiest when interacting with their human counterparts. Others are shy, introverted animals that appear to prefer a quiet spot in the sun to the chaos of daily family life.
Whether demeanor is determined by breeding, socialization or a combination of both has long been debated, and not satisfactorily answered, but can they help us to understand our own interactions with other animals of the human variety? Do we bark at anyone that enters the space we believe to be our own yard? Do we welcome with a wagging tail – or mostly disinterest? Do we growl when threatened or hide under the couch when the postal carrier comes to the door?