Most people realize this now, but in case you didn’t know, you can get swimming lessons for your dog. 

And counseling with anti-depression meds.  And designer outfits.  And bar mitzvahs.  This top-emailed article in the NYTimes  currently describes how devoted people are to their dogs – humanizing them at every turn.

I have a dog.  I pushed my wife to let me get him for my birthday.  We’re pals.  We run.  He pulls me on my skateboard when I’m too tired to jog.  He’s smart and surprisingly intuitive.  He’s a great dog…and given the near-impossibility of friendship because I’m in residency (or maybe because I’m a punk), a case could be made for BFF status for the two of us.

But one thing I like about him is that he’s a dog.  He’s an animal.  He doesn’t wear clothes or care about parties.  He pees in places I’m not allowed to, slobbers his water and howls at stuff.  He never has to worry about cleaning up after himself when he has diarrhea – “gross, look what I just did…somebody clean that uuuupp.”  He smells like a dog.  He has teeth.  He’ll tear the throat out of lesser dogs if he can.  He’ll run away to fight or hump…or both, if lucky.  My dog’s name is “Fetch” and he loses interest in fetching before he returns with an object we went to get for me.. a totally irrelevenat irony to him.  I like my dog because he’s a dog. 

My generation has probably been watching more Disney – where anthropomorphism is rampant – than is good for our psyche.  We’ve come to believe that dogs really are people.  More, we think they want to be humans.  If I was a dog, I’d disdain us.  We’re slow, fat and have tons of strange rules for living that make no sense. 

Why would I want to be me if I could actually be a dog? 

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