sub specie aeternitatis

Your dog really doesn’t love you

March 29, 2004

There’s a trainer named Carolyn Wilkie, who I write about in the book quite a bit, and I said to her one day, ‘If anything happened to me you’d have to shoot this dog because he could never live with anyone else.’ And she got in my face and she said, ‘Listen pal, if anything happened to you, I’d buy a pound of beef liver and in 48 hours this dog would forget that you ever walked the earth. And don’t you forget it.’

. . .

Dogs are the world’s most effective social parasites. That is, they have brilliantly injected themselves into the social system of another species, which very few species ever do. And they do this by tricking us, essentially, by showing a narrow range of humanlike emotions – affection, hostility, anxiety, neediness, play. And they trick us into thinking they have the entire range of human emotions, that they’re human. And so we therefore attach to them as if they were people.

These are from the March 5th show of Living on Earth, an NPR show I listen to frequently. I always find it to be interesting and entertaining, but I especially love their website. They put all of their shows online in .mp3 format (down with .rm!) as well as a transcript of each show. So if you never catch it on the radio, you can always catch it online. The above quotes were taken from the last segment of the March 5th show, and can be downloaded directly from here or from the March 5th show’s archived page.