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The Chicago Tribune says dogs don't love us. They cite some so-called expert that says dogs only like us for the Pup-a-Roni snacks. The Trib says they don't miss us when we're gone and that their affection can be had for a plate of hamburger.
You can read it if you want, but I think it's a lot of humbug!
Okay, I get it. We're all kidding ourselves and nobody really loves us and we're naive to think so.
Man! You people at the Tribune are really depressing and I for one refuse to accept it. I mean these guys are from Chicago, the home of Barak Obama, the man for whom "Hope and Change" is about a massive government takeover, eternal debt and being able to tell us all what's best for us and making us like it. What do you expect? Dogs are far too much like conservatives. It makes sense the Trib would do a hit piece on them - trying to undermine our confidence in man's best friend.
Okay, I know that a dog doesn't exactly have free will which is something of a pre-requisite for true love, but what they have sure is a good facsimile of the genuine article. Dogs are designed with an innate instinct to belong to a family (or pack if you want to be all stuffy and scientific). They are fiercely loyal to the pack. Our dog was absolutely a part of our family.
Eric Zorn argues a dog can be bought off if you wave a chunk of meat in front of its nose. Well, you can run a naked lady past a group of old married men and instinct will probably make 'em look. That doesn't mean they are disloyal or don't love their wives. Love is about choosing who you go home and crawl in bed with every night, not about the odd distraction. You can steal a dog, feed him well and give him a comfortable bed for the night, but if that dog is bonded to his family, he'll hike 500 miles across the wilderness to find his way home to them. It happens and how do you explain that? I don't think Lassie would do that kind of thing because she was looking for a hamburger.
All I know is this. Our beagle Suzy was my friend and she was always happy to see me. In a cold cruel world, that means a lot. If I was in trouble with everyone else in the house, Suzy was still on my side! She may not have had exactly what a psychologist would define as love for me, but it was well enough like love to suit me and I certainly loved her well enough for the both of us. She used to cry if I left her behind when I went sailing. She loved to stand on the front of the trampoline on my catamaran with the breeze flapping those big old ears. Man I miss that dog!
I wonder if that's not why God went through all the trouble of creating us humans with the power to choose. Free will has caused a world of trouble since we picked it up in the Garden of Eden. You have to wonder sometimes, though, "Is all of this misery we're going through in the crucible that is life on Earth really going to be worth it in the end?"
I'm betting it will be. Humans give their lives up all the time for those they love, for causes they love and believe in. People live their very lives for the sake of those they we love and don't count the effort wasted. Our ability to choose to unselfishly love others is incredible and powerful.
Maybe that's why Christ was willing to give up His life to save us. Maybe God wanted there to be creatures in His universe that have the power to actually love Him by choice and not just to appear to love simply because they don't have the ability to do anything else. Maybe God loved us that much that he decided all the trouble was well worth it. Seems so to me!
As to dogs, I suspect God will send Suzy back to us in heaven and the new Earth. Her whole family loved her and were with her when she died. We blew through every box of Kleenex in Dr. Spence's exam room. If I were God I certainly wouldn't want someone I loved to lose a creature they loved that much, even if that creature only seemed to love them back. I don't think He would do that to us.
Cats, I don't know about.......
I'm just sayin'
*Okay, I was kidding about the cat thing. Don't write me a bunch of nasty letters. I'm sure Bootsy really does love you and that she's just being playful when she rips up the sofa if you forget to fill up her bowl with kitty chow.
That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. -Mark Twain