One of the most wonderful things about dogs is that they are immune to the craziness that goes on in society. Well, not entirely immune, but not so easily affected as their human housemates. Without access to social media or possessing any understanding of the content of news broadcasts, they lose no sleep over what’s trending or the latest scandal making headlines. Dogs do not care about social injustice, elections or political affiliations. Dogs do not care if you don a hat or march with a sign or a flag, as long as they can come along. Among dog society, they care little about whether or not their friends have been to a rally or protest, except for the interesting smells they may have picked up. Dogs are largely indifferent to what society says needs to change, unless it directly affects their food bowl or their people.
Within the canine community, there will be no shunning of red dogs or blue dogs. All dogs are welcome. And no stigma is attached to a dog whose humans have red or blue affiliations. If he can run and the game is chase, he is welcome to play. While on a walk, a dog will exercise equal opportunity to lift his leg on either party’s lawn sign. There is no hidden agenda—he is simply fulfilling a biological need and the sign is handy.
A dog’s identity almost always aligns with his biological make-up. He knows whether to lift his leg or squat on the grass without any guidance. As long as it happens outside, humans typically do not care how he chooses to relieve himself. Likewise, a muscled German Shepherd does not care if you name him Cupcake Sassy Pants or Bruce, as long as you call him in a happy tone. And what kind of costume he wears at Halloween is entirely up to you. If it is a pink, frilly tutu and tiara, he will tolerate it if it keeps his human happy. Unless it’s itchy—then it’ll be removed and discarded in a shredded mess.
A dog’s sensitivity to the moods of humans is where things get sticky. If a human is ranting and raving, shouting and pacing, the dog will be uneasy. This is where what goes on in human society affects the dog. If his humans are in a constant state of whipped-up anger, fists up, fighting the fight every day, the dog will not fare well. He will pace, cower, hide, or possibly come to your side—maybe all of the above. He does not care what his human is agitated about—he just wants whatever caused it to go away.
Dogs are not disinterested in all societal subjects. For instance, whether or not their humans work from home greatly affects a dog’s day-to-day existence. A work from home human equates to impromptu walks and opportunities for cuddles and midday last bites. Informal polling (rubbing ears and asking) reveals that dogs are for it, as long as it doesn’t impact their rations of kibble. As to school closures, if it were up to the dogs, small humans would stay home indefinitely. Sure, they might miss their friends, but they would have more time to play with (you guessed it) the dog. As long as the small humans can be distracted with a game of fetch, dogs unanimously lean toward the all-day, kid-at-home experience. The dog can even help with the homework, by sitting quietly while a child practices reading out loud.
On the subject of children reading, you may have noticed the homage to the works of Dr. Seuss in the title of this story. I recently heard that his books are under fire for sending out the wrong messages for woke society. I disagree. They are full of lessons that kids need to hear: empathy, diversity, humor, kindness, unity, critical thinking. I especially like “The Sneetches,” which is perhaps most pertinent to the issues of today. “The Sneetches” tells the story of creatures that look similar, except some have stars on their bellies and others do not. The starless are left out and not happy about it. Soon, a creature comes along with a big machine, that can imprint stars on the bellies of those without. The machine can also remove unwanted stars. So, a war begins over putting them on and taking them off as popularity over stars shifts back and forth. In the ensuing chaos, the only one who wins is the creature whipping up discontent as he applies and removes the stars, his pockets full of cash. Eventually, the Sneetches wake up, look around, and decide that it is far better to accept everyone, stars or not. The story provides a lesson about prejudice, envy, abusive capitalism, inclusiveness and, ultimately, acceptance of self and others, which celebrates unity. Sounds spot-on to me.
How very like the attitude of a dog! You see, dogs do not care whether or not you’re a person of color, how you dress (stars or not), your political leanings (for or against stars), or how you voted (red or blue). Dogs do not care if you are an immigrant or natural citizen, rich or poor, disabled or able-bodied, young or old. Dogs are pack animals, which means that, generally, they like to be part of something. And a dog’s heart is made of super-elastic stuff, with the ability to expand endlessly. In short, the more the merrier. Pack, tribe, family, community, whatever you want to call it, the dog is eager to be part of it. They like a peaceful environment, enough food to go around, and do not mind sleeping in a heap. One dog, two dogs, red dog, blue dog. If only we could all aspire to be more like a dog.