Don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate a cute dog, just like anyone, but there’s nothing like a barking dog to interrupt a fully formed thought. In fact, I have a theory about dogs, at least some dogs. My theory is that people enjoy the loud barking because it interrupts their thinking. I believe that this is the real purpose of dogs and the real reason why so many people have them: because they don’t want to think about what’s really bothering them. They want to be interrupted and yell at the dog instead. People who own dogs don’t have to solve their problems because whatever they were thinking about just goes away when the dog yips and they yell at the dog to shut up or come here or lay down or whatever…and then those thoughts and feelings disappear. Whatever motivation there might have been to solve a problem vanishes. At least for the time being.
My hatred of most dogs (not all dogs) is really pretty complicated. And, in some ways very simple too. I think that a really annoying dog that barks all the time can help people in its own way. Buddhists claim that thoughts really have no value (yet it is a very intellectual religion… go figure) and so the yipping dog could function to help humans get rid of those useless thoughts. Yip! And the thoughts are gone. And there are some psychological/emotional benefits of having a loud annoying dog as well. A dog that barks all the time is a great scape goat for anger. Any time the kids act out or spouses are fighting they can just yell at the barking dog instead of each other.
In my own family growing up, I know that we always had a dog around to divert attention away from anything real that was going on. The dog sat on the floor between my parents during dinner and anytime an uncomfortable silence or a pregnant pause would fall over our little group of four, my dad would give some tidbit of food to the dog. Or my mom would yell at the dog for licking its penis while we were eating. In this way, we were able to eat together as a family every night at the dinner table and never have a full conversation about anything important even though my brother was gay and my boyfriend was beating me up. As such, the dog performed a valuable service, I suppose.
Now, I know that there are well-trained dogs including seeing-eye dogs and police dogs that are truly amazing creatures. I also know that some people discipline their dogs to shut the f**k up so they don’t wake the neighbors or disturb the entire neighborhood. I have friends with some very respectable canine creatures that are well-behaved for the most part. But most people don’t train their dogs or worry about the neighbor’s thoughts and it make me glad that I live in a giant fortress made of cement in a tiny town of only 400 people because I don’t like to hear the neighbor’s dog barking.
This may seem like a simple rant. Maybe it is a simple rant. I am tired of listening to dogs barking at each other. I hear one dog barking a mile away and before long the dogs in the two houses on either side of me are also barking. There are high barks and low barks. Fast barks and slow barks. And not one of the barks really serves a useful purpose except that the dog is entertained by listening to itself barking. These creatures are cute enough when they’re quiet, but they pollute the air with a type of noise that is very hard to ignore or tune out. Waking up without hearing the dogs barking in through my window is something that I’m really looking forward to when we get back home.
On the flip side, perhaps dogs are wonderful and my opinion is completely askew.