Dog is man’s best friend. But woman is dog’s best friend. Or should that be mommy. I went with Camera Girl to the vet’s office with Kaylee, our older dog. She’s a 13-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer and she’s starting to wear down. Camera Girl loves her dearly and has been very worried that she won’t make it through the winter. Now this seems like an unnecessary concern. Other than progressive arthritis and a certain amount of mental confusion she seems relatively healthy. She still enjoys her food enthusiastically and can keep up her normal activities, only at a slower pace.
But because of her concerns I went along in case any bad news was forthcoming. When we got there, we entered the office and the receptionist began engaging in the typical female baby talk that is reserved for pets. Then we got to the examination room and the vet tech came in and she too commenced with the mewing and cooing that passes for woman to dog communication. And finally, the vet showed up and she also began the embarrassing babbling. Now I will admit that both the tech and the vet were pretty adept at their medical tasks. They vaccinated Kaylee and cut her nails quite skillfully. And the vet convinced Camera Girl that Kaylee will make it through the year at least. But as a man it was pretty comical listening as three grown women coaxed and comforted a large dog as if it were a three-month-old infant.
Now, full disclosure. I have a very soft spot in my heart for all our dogs past and present. And since I’ve had to be the one holding them when the vet puts them to sleep for the last time, I know exactly how close is the bond between a man and his dog. Of course, they’re not human and certainly not our children. But they think they are. And that obligates us to treat them as family. Since they lack the wherewithal to be responsible for themselves in human society, we become their guardians and keepers. So that’s the logical underpinning for our position. But the emotional relationship is much, much closer to a parent-child relationship than anything else.
So, fine. We treat them in many ways like children. But why do these women pretend they’re talking to newborns? Dogs have the intelligence of a young child in many ways. And they have the ability to respond to verbal commands and prompts of all kinds. Why do these women chirp at them in this embarrassing manner. As a mother and grandmother Camera Girl has always been quite good at teaching and disciplining little children and once they’re beyond a year or so she speaks to children in English with a minimum of singsong and baby words. Why does she insist on using it for dogs. In fact, why can’t she discipline her dogs as well as she did her children?
For the majority of our married life, I’ve been at the office during the week and she was home with the kids and dogs. And without exception she has spoiled every one of our dogs rotten. All of her cooing and babytalk is useless in getting the dogs to obey her. Finally in desperation she asks me to take over and I have to growl at the dog to get obedience. And this is a very bad situation. For larger sporting breeds bad training can be dangerous. But my protests have always been in vain. She just can’t treat a dog as anything but a baby.
But at last, there will be a changing of the guard. When in the fullness of time we need to get a new puppy in the house I will be home much more of the time than formerly and I intend to train this dog. And it will be a revelation to Camera Girl. This dog will obey my commands immediately and unerringly. This dog will be a manly chap who will eschew all baby talk and respond to the curt guttural syllables reserved for a dog in the field. Sit! Heel! Down! He’ll be used to good solid pats to the ribs when he succeeds in his chores and maybe a scratch behind the ear while we’re watching tv together. I’ll allow this dog a modicum of self-respect as a carnivore in good standing. No goo-goo gah-gah. Sure, I won’t stop Camera Girl from chirping at the dog and lavishing affection on him but I will not allow her to undermine the training.
A man and his dog. A woman and her dog. So different.
This dichotomy is so true. My dad undertook the bulk of the training of my parents’ rat terrier, Atticus. My mom undertook the bulk of his spoiling. Atticus responds well to commands and comes when my dad calls, but he knows who butters his biscuits. Mom will worry and fuss over him like a toddler, and feed him all sorts of high-end table scraps out of fear he’s not eating enough (despite dad and I saying, “he’ll eat if he gets hungry enough”). Of course, I’m a bit overly indulgent with Murphy, my nine-year old bull terrier. She’s a good… Read more »
Tyler, I appreciate your support on this important issue. Let the women spoil the cats if they want but dogs are acknowledged as “man’s” best friend. If he is to remain in fealty to us we cannot allow the gentler sex to corrupt them. And long term I’m sure the Democrats intend to give dogs and cats the vote and then figure out how to harvest their votes. Some kind of paw print copying technology of some sort.
I will do my part to hold the line against canine coddling.
Canine coddling. An excellent turn of phrase.
I’m ready for the show ring.
I’ve seen “Best in Show.” Stay far away.