The Dog Who barked Wolf

20 Aug

I’m not much of a dog person. I never have been, really. I like to blame it on the fact that I have allergies, and it is difficult, to be sure, to develop an affinity for an animal for whom you do not have a respiratory tolerance. Nevertheless, the reality is that I don’t really like dogs that much, while my father who is just as (if not more so) allergic to dogs appreciates them much more.

While we could talk about my general displeasure with live animals, I do understand the affinity that so many have for them. They can be a companion to the companion-less, a protector to the vulnerable, energy for the lethargic, an encourager to the depressed, or one of many other roles that they may find. Not to overly personify animals, but there are definite benefits available to those who are willing to rely on a pet.

One of the easiest benefits to see for a dog is the fact that they can protect you. Some (like Bishop Ducky Felipe) have ferocious beasts of animals. Others have tremendous barkers who could warn you when danger is forthcoming. The one type of animal allowed in most places is the seeing eye dog. I even saw a TV show recently where they proclaimed that dogs can tell you when your blood sugar changes to dangerous levels.

The one area I would like to point out, however, is the barking. First, because it seems that it is something every dog can do. Second, because it leads me to a story. Barking when something happens can be a tremendous asset. It can function as a warning for so many things. A criminal who hears a dog bark is less likely to commit a crime. However, barking, just like anything else, can be ineffectual if the hearer does not know.

The dog who lives next to my bedroom window has a propensity to bark at anything between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM. And by anything, I don’t mean small children walking by to give him gummy worms, but rather I mean the fact that he stepped on grass. He barks so much that it has gotten to the point where we give him no credence. It sort of reminds me of the elementary story about the boy who cried wolf.

This dog is so worthless in his attempted warnings because of that. Tonight, however, I believe he knew the storm was coming. Now, I am not a knower of the the dog code, but it just seems cruel to me to leave a dog out in a viscous thunderstorm. I’ve written before about how I think people are cruel to their animals.

This tells me that either there is some obvious thing I am missing about how to treat dogs or that we, in general, treat our dogs poorly. Of course, this should not surprise me. We, in general, treat our families poorly. We, in general, treat our friends poorly. We, in general, treat everyone with whom we come into contact poorly, unless, of course, they can provide us with something that will benefit us.

This is why it would be a poor idea to go to your neighbor and say, “Yo, next door chum, you gotta put the silencing act on your canine of choice.” It just wouldn’t be appropriate. Those are things you can only say after you have developed a relationship with someone. Knowing this, I think, is why frequently when people attempt to befriend you, you look for the hidden agenda.

Before I ago off on on any of these philosophical tangents, however, just celebrate the knowledge that people are usually vastly more interested in what their friends say than what random strangers say. And now you can all feel enough of a friend to me to know that I am frequently awake at 3 AM listening to a dog bark!

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