In Dating

  • 66 percent of men and women would not date someone who didn’t like pets.
  • 70 percent of singles think their dates’ reaction to their pet is important.
  • 35 percent of single women have been more attracted to someone because of their pet.
  • 72 percent of single women say that a dog is the “hottest pet a guy could own.”
  • (I think data is from match.com)

On Earth

  • There are ~one billion dogs on earth.  Only a quarter of them are pets, the rest are strays.
  • Dog breeds are mostly a result of human work done during the 1800s, but some are at least 3-4K years old.
  • Anthropologists believe that early dogs and early humans were symbiotic, helping each other with food, protection, warmth.

In America

  • 40% of households own at least one dog.
  • There are more cats than dogs.
  • Pets outnumber children 4 to 1.
  • 3-4 million cats and dogs are put to sleep each year, about 50% of the ones that end up in shelters.
  • In the 1950’s, many dogs were kept outside, for protection/walking companions.  In the 80’s, humans began to rely more emotionally on dogs.
  • Cats and dogs cost about $10K over a lifetime

“The most common reasons for not owning a pet are lack of time, lack of suitable housing, and lack of ability to care for the pet when traveling.[22][23]

My reasons are different.  They are both practical and intellectual.

Practical- The natural behavior of dogs includes barking, digging, rolling in and eating feces, fighting, urine marking.  They slobber everywhere, smell bad, shed hair, stain carpets, damage furniture and shoes.  Since my ideal living space is quiet, clean, and designed for minimal maintenance, a dog (or any pet) would be an inconvenience.

Intellectual objections are many.  To go along with the “In Dating” section, a couple more quotes:

“a study of conversations in dog–human families showed how family members use the dog as a resource, talking to the dog, or talking through the dog, to mediate their interactions with each other.”

Dogs “offer physical contact with another living creature, something that is often missing in an elder’s life”

 

This is all discomforting.  The evidence suggests

  • We gravitate towards pets because they are guaranteed to feed our egos.  The buying of a pet is highly similar to prostitution, buying of a friend, or even a slave.  Human friendship is also something I have intellectual issues with, but at least human-human dynamics are more obscured by complexity.  I rarely think about them.
  • A dog is a woman’s best friend too, because through contrast to a dog, a woman feels more prim, beautiful, clean, refined.  This is why women want to date dog owners (if he loves his dog, he can love me), and why women pay attention to how a dog reacts to a man.  But it’s illogical, people of different races smell different, some dogs just hate bicycles, etc.  They’re not smart enough to judge “character” in a way that a human should find meaningful.
  •  If we can assume that many women are driven by evolution to desire children, then a pet is possibly the best substitute.
  • Dogs are stupid, so they make us feel smart.  A dog is loyal.  A dog is safe because it has no choice, it depends on us even more-so than a child.
  • There are men (and women too?) who buy dogs primarily for social purposes, a way to meet people in the park, or a way to take better okcupid or instagram pictures.  Pets are similar to travel (the subject of a future blog) in this way.
  • Couples use pets as a way to have something in common, and to facilitate conversations when they can’t otherwise confront their emotions directly.
  • There are many objections to breeding humans, mentioned in yesterday’s blog, but purpose breeding dogs is ok?  For me it’s the opposite.  If anything I’m less hesitant about messing with my own kind than with other species.  For the same reasons as I have more sympathy for women than for men, and for children > adults.

I’m not comfortable with the idea of NEEDING anything, including “physical contact with other living creatures” or “to reproduce” or “to love”.  Subjects for the future.

What’s logically next in this sequence- rights for minorities, rights for women, rights for the handicapped, rights for homosexuals—- is— rights for pets.  I would not be opposed to outlawing “ownership” all-together.  It might lead to less cruelty and suffering, but that’s not the main goal- the main goal is to motivate productive behavior as opposed to coping mechanisms.

 

 

 

One thought on “Dogs, pets are for coping

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