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.
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.
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.