Jennifer Ginsberg: Last Saturday night, I was invited to the birthday party of a family friend. As much as I wanted to go, I hesitated when responding to the invitation because I knew that I would have to deal with Shlomo, their big, stinky dog.
Before you burn me at the stake for admitting that dogs gross me out, let me make myself clear. I respect animals. I do not wish them any harm. I have been practically vegan for years because I cannot stand the thought of animals getting tortured. But if I wanted to cohabit with them, I would live on a big farm out in the country -- not in a single family home in West Los Angeles. And I even hold the highly controversial belief that dogs are not equivalent to human beings and do not deserve the same rights and privileges that people do.
There is nothing that disgusts me more than walking into someone's house and having Fido run up to me and hump my leg and slobber all over me. And dogs always seem to sense that I am not a "dog person," so they work extra hard to win me over with super-aggressive humping and double-wet and sticky licking.
It is freaking annoying when I sit down on your fur-covered sofa with a plate of food and your dog stands one inch from me, panting his nasty doggy breath and whimpering as he begs for my crudites. My 2-year-old daughter didn't enjoy when Shlomo sucked on her toes while she was eating birthday cake, either!
Even worse was the other couple who brought their dog Fifi to the party, who wouldn't stop yapping the entire time. The nonstop barking made it nearly impossible to have any adult conversation ... but maybe I missed the point and I was invited to a Dog Party. No, I DO NOT like your hat!!!
The owners of the yappy dog seemed to think their wretched little beast was cute, and went so far as to rationalize her obnoxious behavior by telling the guests, "Forgive her barking -- she's blind."
"Ohhh ..." was the collective murmur heard around the room. Nothing can bring a crowd to near tears faster than talking about your dog's illness or disability. I restrained myself from asking the couple if they had signed a Living Will (i.e., a no-heroic-measures document) on Fifi's behalf.
Perhaps I am a fool for asking -- but why does being blind rationalize Fifi's ear-piercing, incessant yelping? Now, if she was walking into furniture or crashing into walls, I would have understood the excuse of blindness, and even been able to summon some sympathy for the pathetic creature.
But blaming barking on blindness is like using menstrual cramps to justify Tourette's syndrome. Actually, I am going to try that -- the next time I go to a party, I am going to repetitively shriek, "MOTHER F**KER C**K-SUCKERS," and my husband will sheepishly tell the guests, "Forgive her -- she has PMS." Let's see if I garner as much sympathy as the stinky, blind, heinous doggy.
If you choose to cohabit with dogs, then how about putting them outside for meals and parties? I know that you consider them to be a part of the family, but they are animals, not people, and it is not acceptable for them to infringe on the comfort of your guests.
Humanizing animals is a glaring example of our society's broken moral compass. It's easier for some people to feel frothy emotion about the imagined plight of an animal over actual human suffering. It's also simpler to have a relationship with a pet than a person -- there aren't any real emotional requirements, and you get to feel loved unconditionally for no good reason.
If these self-proclaimed dog lovers really cared about animals, perhaps they would strive to meet their genuine needs, rather than attempt to turn their dogs into submissive love slaves. These poor dogs are tools for people to get their narcissistic needs met, while they deserve to be respected for the animals they are. The truth is, dogs don't belong in houses -- their natural habitat is outdoors -- and they certainly don't belong at a party with young children running around.
Needless to say, even the most tamed and trained dog can get spooked and attack a child. But dog-worshippers are magical thinkers who believe that their pet operates from a place of human intellect rather than animal instinct, and will go so far as to say, "My precious Fifi would never bite anyone!"
Humanized dogs even seem miserable, which is evidenced by their hyperactivity and manic barking. I bet if they could talk, they would say something like, "Man this sucks! I'm a freaking dog, for God's sake! I really want to be outside chasing a squirrel and licking my ass in private -- not at this dumb-sh*t party with all these neurotic, creepy people doting on me!"
And please don't tell me that dog saliva is more sterile than human spit, as I have never seen a person lick their butt, then run up to me and lick my face!
|Jennifer Ginsberg is a Los Angeles mother, writer, and addiction specialist with over 15 years of experience in the fields of alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. After receiving her MSW from the USC School Of Social Work and MAJCS from Hebrew Union College, Jennifer served as the clinical director of a 120 bed drug and alcohol treatment facility. She also co-developed an addiction prevention program for Jewish youth, which has been implemented in synagogues nationally. Jennifer now works privately with people who are impacted by the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol and writes about all topics related to motherhood, addiction, and women in politics. Read more about her life at angstmom.com|