Identity Crisis, but I still love your dog

I have a separate dog blog now, which you may have heard about once or twice, and I do want to talk about dogs right now, but not in the way I do there. I’m not going to talk about how awesome my own dog is or isn’t, or about the training we’re working on; if you’re interested in that, head over there.

What I want to talk about is my identity as a dog person.

I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is, and what I mean when I say I am a dog person.  I am, for sure, a Dog Person.  I think I have a sixth sense about dogs; I will notice a dog two blocks away and be able to tell you the breed and probably predict the majority of its medical conditions, if applicable.  I can read most dogs’ moods pretty quickly.  I can talk about dogs quite extensively; I started the Flying Dingo so that I can stop talking the ears off of people who don’t especially care about dogs.

But the thing is, I am not a squealer.  I am not a Get Up In Your Dog’s Face and Be Happy That It’s Licking My Face.  Do you know where that tongue has been?  I am not a fan of dogs in costumes, or Cute Overload, or anything where we just sit around oooh-ing and aaaah-ing over the cuteness of these animals.

okay, yeah, so i do let her lick my face sometimes

On Monday I went to an open house for a Master’s program in Animals and Public Policy.  It’s not a professional degree; it’s not like how you go to dentist school and then you’re a dentist, or law school and then you’re a lawyer.  Kids, you don’t go to Animals and Public Policy school and become an Animals and Public Policy-ist.    But the program did sound really exciting, and got me thinking more about what I want to do.  Is it just behavior? I’m not sure that it’s just behavior.  I think it’s bigger parts than that: it’s how do we live with our dogs and our neighbors?  How do we live, happily, with healthy, well-exercised dogs in our society?

I don’t want to hug your dog.  Well, that might be a little bit of a lie: if your dog comes running over, tail wagging and ears happy, I might (read: will definitely) try to find your dog’s favorite scratching spot.  I will enjoy rubbing behind your dog’s ears.  I might talk in a voice reserved for these situations.  But also? I want to talk to you about your dog.  I want to know about what you think of training, about how you live your lives together, about how you ended up with this here dog and what it does for you.

other people's dogs: Macaroni

Um, somehow this can be something I do professionally? Someone please tell me yes.

I’m trying to find a place in blogland where I can be a Dog Person, without the costumes and with the interest.  And I’m also trying to figure out how to write my damn personal essay.

Dog owners, what are your thoughts?  Are you costume-dog people?  Are you dog-people at all, or are you the “I only love my dog and no one else’s” type?  Please discuss.



Filed under Menagerie

15 responses to “Identity Crisis, but I still love your dog

  1. Sue B

    I am a dog person too, but I am also a cat person. One does not preclude the other. I am also the kind of dog person you are. I don’t like costumes, and I know exactly where my dog’s tongue has been and I don’t want it anywhere near my face. I have trained my dogs not to lick people, but unfortunately the other kind of dog people think it’s nice to get sloppy dog kisses all over thir hands and face and let my girls lick away, thereby undoing any of the training.

    I don’t feed my dogs people food, because when I eat my dinner I want them to go lie down , and that’s what they do. I do not like dogs who sit there drooling next to me waiting for the plate to lick and pawing me when they think I should be giving them scraps.

    I will always pet your dog if you say I can and try to find the best scratching spot. I think one of the real issues is that dog owners need to understand that not everyone likes dogs. And that if you want to own a dog, you must teach that dog how to behave around everyone, but especially the people who don’t like dogs, because ineveitably that is where your dog will get into trouble. My girls are not the best example of a well trained dog, but I do understand that I must have control over them if they are to live in peace with the non dog lovers of the world.

    • Oh Sue, I totally hear you about other people undoing training or just not listening when you tell them what to do! Yes, there are some crazy dog owners who are like, “You must wash your hands before petting my baby” but most people who tell strangers how to interact with their dogs do it with good reason. There’s a REASON I say ignore my dog – it’s so that things stay peaceful and no one gets spooked or injured. I swear I’m not just making things up. How frustrating for you! And for me hearing about it, haha.

  2. Kristine

    I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to turn my dog obsession into a career. I’m still not sure I have hit on the right concept yet. But yours sound perfect for you. And definitely think you should go for it. It sounds to me as if you have the foundation for your essay right here in this blog post.

  3. Hi there. I’ve never heard of this degree, but I have a master’s degree in public policy. The degree lets you do a variety of things, which is great, but it’s also hard because sometimes you have to make your own path. With my degree, I could work for a nonprofit that serves or advocates for people, work in government administration, be a budget analyst for government, lobby government, be a politician, work for a think tank, be a researcher, do some kind of program coordination, etc. Public policy can involve a surprising amount of numbers – I had to take a lot of statistics and economics classes. Also a boring class on taxation. But there were some cool classes too, and it can be a good platform to do work on something you believe in. Sometimes I wonder if I should have done social work instead since that might be more my personality. Feel free to contact me if you want more info. Good luck! -Melissa

    • Oh this sounds really interesting – I love numbers! Yeah the Animals and Public Policy program is pretty specific, but sounds like it combines the things I am really really interested in. I might be in touch as deadlines get closer – thanks for the offer!

  4. hey, it just occurred to me that you might be interested in my mom’s dog blog. she writes about training her two standard poodles for dog agility, mostly. if you’re interested, she’d probably be thrilled to have another reader!

  5. I am the kind of dog person that Sue B is. Unfortunately, Ashley’s dad is the kind of dog person who un-trains all of the training. We are in a constant battle to undo his undoing anytime we take Snickers over to visit. But, on the upside he is one of the few men that she likes.

    Snickers is a mini Aussie that we ‘rescued’ from a friend’s younger sister. She basically lived outside in a cage with a pit bull cross and when we first saw her she was so scared of people that we thought she was a We had to bribe her to with cheese to even come near us. Now her favorite treat is cheese.

    I could go on about her forever but I won’t. I may stop over at your other blog though and share her exhibition pooping tendencies. lol

    • Ah, yes. My dad lets Daph jump all over him every time she sees him. Would be bad if she liked anyone as much as she likes him, but really he’s almost the only person she jumps on, so if they’re both game, who am I to step in?

      Haha, I want to hear more about Snickers!

  6. I think that a dog in a costume can be funny. I appreciate a daschund in a hot dog costume. Do I need to buy my dog a costume every halloween? Absolutely not.

    I think dogs need rules and structure and boundaries, just like people need structure and boundaries. We treat our dog like a part of the family, which means that we don’t ALWAYS get along (Charlie, DROP the leash!), but we always love her.

    I do not love every dog, but I think I like more dogs than people. I am not sure what all of that amounts to- I am definitely not and every-dog person, but I am a my-dog person through and through.

    • “I think dogs need rules and structure and boundaries, just like people need structure and boundaries.” YES! And I would take this even further to say that we people in communities need structures and boundaries WITH our dogs, which is something that is lacking at least where I live. There are a lot of ideas about how to have a dog, but few rules about how to interact with your dog and let your dog interact with other people & dogs out around town. THAT’S what I’m really interested in…

  7. Hi, squealer here. Oh dear geebers I Love Dogs. I love talking dogs, I love playing with dogs, hanging with them, taking care of them, generally being around them. Dogs in costumes? Meh, amusing, but it’s mostly for human amusement and yeah, it’s sorta mean. I know I used to put first dog in clothes as a young kid because he reacted strangely so it was hilarity for half an hour at least, but you know, I stopped.

    I’m also not reserved just for dogs, I’m an animal person in general, though there are animals I’m not so fond of.

    There’s a lot to be done in dog/animal advocacy in the bigger picture, or training and behavior analysis and correction in the smaller picture. I think there’s *a lot* you can do with animals professionally so really, take it away!

    • Hi! Your comment made me laugh out loud! Yeah, I’m working on figuring out where my passions are and where the need is… I’m sure I’ll find something that will be perfect for me – eventually. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I wouldn’t say I’m a Dog Person as opposed to a Cat Person (although because of Eric’s allergy I sadly won’t ever be a Cat Owner again). Obviously, though, I love my dog, and I love learning about training methods and breed traits. It’s definitely been an interesting learning curve, and we’ve found a huge discrepancy between what we expected our training to be like, and what’s actually working.

    It will be really interesting to see what you can do with that degree. I definitely think that dog stuff could use more academic rigour though!

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