We need to start treating people like dogs. Here’s why
We all agree how funny, cute and joyful dogs can be. After all, they’re man’s best friend right?
You’re walking down the street and those big, delicate eyes can’t stop staring at you like “come here! I want you to rub my belly and scratch behind my ears!” Before such irresistible friend request, there’s no way you won’t stop what you’re doing. You bend over in front of the puppy cosseting him in every possible way: ears, nose, belly as his silent instructions convey.
No need to talk. You’re enjoying the moment as much as he does. Pure satisfaction… In case you have some snacks in your bag, “there you have good boy!” Empathy is clearly evident and your following questions turn out to be the best signal of it:
What is your pet’s name? Does it have any specific meaning?
How old is he?
When did you get your pet?
You get what I mean.
All of a sudden there’s this sense of freshness spread over your pants and shoes. “Oh My God I’m so sorry!” Your eyes cross for brief seconds and then he puts a big smile on his face pretending that nothing happened. Amid that awkward moment, everyone laughs and you’re like “it’s fine! No worries.” On top of that, he even gets an extra dose of fondling which makes him the happiest dog in the world. “Look at you, so happy!! Good boy, good boy. You’re so cute! Do you know that good boy?
It’s incredible how human beings can be so kind, responsive and tolerant in regard to dogs no matter the social context we’re inserted in. Whether in a party or in the middle of the street, we release our “social animal” skills by embracing them as members of our family.
In reality, we’re not afraid of looking like a fool, stupid or cheesy every time we do those childish sounds to them. Maybe because they don’t ask us questions; maybe because they don’t judge us the way people do; maybe because they’ll always be there when we most need; maybe because they give back the unconditional love we show them.
Protection. Care. Understanding. Loyalty. Love. All in one package.
One could argue that humans can hardly beat this outstanding curriculum and that’s the reason why we’re more likely to empathize with struggling dogs than people in difficulty. Dogs may find themselves helpless as much as unable to look after themselves the same way as children. One afternoon I was working out in a park when something caught my attention until late at night. There was this middle-aged woman sitting on a bench right in front of me together with her dog. Chilling, enjoying the surrounding river landscape in absolute peace of mind. Not long after that, a young couple came up to them with a big smile on their face to pamper the dog. So far so good! But what really impressed the most was the absence of a single word towards the owner!!
In a few seconds, I had witnessed a shocking act of negligence and coldness between human beings as opposed to a royal welcoming ceremony for an animal. Hold your horses!! I know what you’re thinking but avoid preliminary judgments. This is not a sign of disrespect concerning the Animal Kingdom in the sense that there’s a massive learning curve we humans can take from it. For instance, treating everyone equally. How often do you smile at people? How often do you ask them “how is your day going?” Or “is there anything I can help you with?”
Whoever refuses to think this way doesn’t believe in the values and moral principles representative of an inclusive, cohesive society.
In turn, dogs embody a fundamental value lacking in human-to-human relationships: trust. They’re not afraid of finding unconditional love whenever they find someone they might want to mingle with. And I’m sure this life approach makes a huge difference in their overall happiness.
So what about us? Why are humans so hesitant to love unconditionally, especially someone that we’ve never met before? Apart from the weirdness of reaching people to lick their face and say “OMG I love you so much, let’s be friends forever”, what is preventing us from acting like dogs? Ones may say that in most cases human rationality overcomes our emotionality. That is to say that we never know who’s on the other side so better play safe. Just in case you know? He or she may be a serial killer or have a mental disorder.
Others may be convinced that the social desirability bias is a strong hindrance to our inner impulses. In reality, we hate to fail and feel embarrassed before everyone around watching. Having said that, let’s avoid doing what society would certainly condemn! Imagine you see a guy start talking to a girl in the street: “of course he wants to get laid…” Imagine you see a young guy approaching an old man when the sun goes down: “oh no he’s gonna rob him!”
Dogs don’t do this because they trust you. The same way they do with everyone else. With this in mind, let’s be open-minded enough to make the world a better place to live. Step-by-step in our small circles. Let’s start treating people like dogs.