My Dog, My Love

I see how dogs are treated.

Pet Parents who love them as their own family

They live indoors with all the creature comforts we enjoy

Central air and heating, a bowl of the highest nutrition they can afford.

The dog sleeps next to them, cuddling and spooning for warmth and peace.

They sit on the couch with the family and sometimes share a snack while watching their favorite T.V. show

The communication is amazing because they took the effort to learn how to do it through classes and effort, working each day to ensure they knew what to expect and what was expected of them.

Hugging and touching behind the ears, caressing the back and running the fingers through their coat as a constant tactile reminder that they are loved and not forgotten, that their presence in the lives of their friend is always appreciated.

This is accompanied by praise and reinforcement, sometimes for just being there and sometimes for their four legged friend knowing instinctively that the one they look up to is in need of a kiss on the hand or a snuggle when they sense there is pain, or maybe just because.

This relationship is a partnership of love and interpretation and it doesn’t mean that the pet parent or the dog is always on target. It doesn’t mean that a shoe doesn’t occasionally get chewed or that the parent had a bad day and snapped at the dog even though he did nothing to deserve it. But it is soon forgotten and forgiven because they know that they love each other and the mistakes that happen are something that all of us do because people or dogs aren’t perfect

But this isn’t always the case, unfortunately.

There are dogs that live their lives outside in a backyard,

Their friends are the brown tennis ball and the corner they can just reach from the tethered chain bound to a post in the weeds nearby.

The bowl is filled when the owner remembers and little care goes into the loneliness in a passionate heart that mourns the neglect even when the rain comes or the snow falls.

The owner becomes so wrapped up in their lives, they think of the dog more as a lawn ornament than a caring, thinking being whose evolutionary role is that of a member of a social group.

When the owner is sad, or in need of attention, they occasionally go out and pet the dusty matted bottom of the one who loves them most in the world, and for a brief instant, that spark of affection ignites hope and pleasure in a measure unbound for the dog always knew they would were loved and though brief, that moment keeps them going.

Misbehavior is dealt with harshly, of course, screaming at the animal before ignoring it for days or weeks again, so wrapped up is the owner in their own needs to feel for their friend. It is enough for the owner to know that the dog will always be there to love them when they need it.

Owners will keep this relationship in place for years, using the dog for their needs, not realizing the harm they do, not feeling the injustice they are inflicting. If they find their lives fulfilled, owners may tire of the cost of maintenance and get rid of their dog, thinking their lives are better without them. Dogs will never understand this and will always wonder what they did by simply living with unconditional love in their hearts and only wanting to snuggle on the couch with the one they love each day. How could such a thing have come to pass?

But such is the relationship between people and dogs.

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