Obviously everybody have a different perception of things; but it seems somehow funny to me when talking with people who love dogs and I hear how their concepts about them change depending on what are we talking about.
Personally, I am not a dog lover and doubt I will ever have one in the future. Nothing really against them but hey, I’m a cat! I am an Aspie, remember? And we Aspies are like cats. And just like a cat can be friends with a dog, it would be very rare to see a cat going out searching for dogs to befriend.
And just like you can never completely trust a human, no matter how cultivated and refined he might be, in that he never will have moments of returning to the most basic instincts from the human animal, the same way I don’t completely trust dogs. It is in their nature to be friendly and playful, but also it’s in their nature to be hunters and territorial creatures. In fact, that was the very first reasons why dogs became domesticated, to help in hunting and to protect the owners.
Nowadays, and especially in the US, dogs are more of companion to humans than protectors of their owner’s property, although they are still kept for the last in many houses around the country.
Now what is funny to me is that, when talking with a dog owner and especially with someone who loves dogs is that, if we are talking about the levels a dog can feel compared to humans, usually they would insist dogs have a capability of feelings very close to humans, if not the same. I do agree dogs have a very high level of feelings of love, friendship and loyalty, but I would disagree that those levels are at the same levels of humans, except maybe for loyalty, where it seems to me dogs are naturals at loyalty, which is something not to say the same about humans.
But then, if someone loves dogs and understand dogs have a very high level of feelings, why send them to concentration camps where they will be slowly turning crazy, and feed them small amounts of hope just to keep their sanity a little longer, perhaps making them suffer even more with that?! If you don’t know what I am talking about, just consider this:
Many people get a dog for companionship and sometimes to help protect the house. They bring it to their home and allow it to roam around the house and the back yard with complete freedom, except for going out to the streets, which is only allowed when with the owner. Dogs can be happy at first and for a while, and it is common to see them running in the backyard, exploring every corner with their infinite curiosity. But after a couple of months, maybe even just weeks, the yard becomes a know place for the dog, with no secrets left to uncover anymore. So the dog enters a life of boredom and stress of not feeding it’s animal instincts.
By being instinctively territorial creatures, dogs can quickly adopt their owner’s house and feel it as their own territory, so they can become very jealous at protecting them. But by being also instinctively hunters, dogs need the exploration of new places and search of possible prey; dogs are design for that. And so by spending years living in the same environment everyday, every time the same place become smaller and smaller, so dogs switch to live for those precious moments when the owner arrives at the house and the possibility of being taken out to open spaces where they can once again run free and explore everything around. But mostly, since it is the big majority of time in their lives, dogs start living for what is outside the fences of the house; anyone walking by; another dog; a car; anything or anyone they can see at the other side of the fence would provide the dog with something new, something different, and with it, a small light to the boring and stressing life they have.
I know; I am not a dog psychologist or dog owner, so I understand many people will disagree with me; but just by simple observation of dog behavior, it is easy to see that dogs who spend most of their time in a backyard, after several years of the same, they tend to either spend their time laying somewhere and yawning, or running straight in almost attack mode in the direction a new element can be seen at the other side of the fence. Those are the dogs that almost never stop barking.
Now, if you were placed in a concentration camp where you have the room to sleep and the yard to walk, and you spend 20 years there (remember one year in a dog’s life is several years in a human’s life), you will reach the point of extreme boredom, and most probably would spend your time either laying somewhere, completely resigned to your fate, or having short bits of light in your heart when you see something different happening outside the fence. You may feel at that moment there is a hope to get out of the concentration camp, or maybe enraged by seeing and being reminded that freedom exists outside, and that you don’t have it.
Obviously, in the case of humans, by having a bigger range of possible emotions, the feelings you may experience at those moments is more varied of what a dog can have; and by having a developed language at your disposal, something dogs don’t have, you could better explain what is what you feel and want, while a dog is limited to just bark all the times. Those who know dogs very well can tell the differences in emotions a dog is having by listening in the slight variations in the dog’s barking; but still it is a very limited way of communication.
So you see, there is not much difference between a dog who spend most of the time in a back yard and a human left in a concentration camp. If the one who placed you in that concentration camp is a good person with good intentions and believes he has love and friendship to give you, you could feel somehow happy to see that person coming back every day as it will mean you can have at least some entertainment for a moment; your day (and your new life) will brighten for a couple of hours! But since that person still keeps you locked in that concentration camp, if you see a slight opening; a tiny chance to get out, you might go for it and run for freedom! The difference in brain capabilities a human and a dog have will then lead them to different paths; you will never return, even if the one who kept you captive was very friendly to you; while the dog would get exhausted by having its instincts satisfied after running and exploring for a couple of hours, to then feel tired and happy to return to the one who is friendly to it; and to the place that, even though it can be like a concentration camp, still would be also the dog’s home.
One of the reasons I wouldn’t have a dog is that I am a cat, as I explained before. But another reason is that I really don’t see what good can be given to a creature that was created to be free, in having it locked most of the times. Unless the dog will have more of a farmer’s dog life, where it can go anywhere anytime, and even have participation in some of the chores around, to then jump in the passenger seat of the pick up truck to go somewhere with the owner, which will give the dog a life of freedom, I really don’t see what good can be given to a dog by having it locked in a house and back yard, like it would be to a human in a concentration camp. Have you noticed farm dogs bark a whole lot less than city dogs? And farm dogs don’t tend to run in almost attack mode at the first sight of a stranger, like city dogs do when seeing someone walking at the other side of the fence!
Seems to me most city people tend to own a dog mostly to satisfy their own need of friendship and companionship, with complete disregard of the psychological needs of the dog. They provide food and veterinary works, and they do play with the dog from time to time too, but it is mostly around the owner’s schedule rather than around the dog’s needs. So the dog becomes more like a TV set, which is cared for when needed, and the rest of the time forgotten.
It surprised me when I hear some people claim they love dogs and have one or more, yet when analyzing the behavior of the owner in relation to the living environment and life the dogs have, you can clearly see dogs are being used in a selfish way by the owners to satisfy their needs of receiving friendship, companionship and loyalty, but the dogs are given very little of the same in return.
This takes me to the point of seeing it like if city dogs were given a good income and way of life (in the form of processed food in bags; toys to play with and a nice house to live in), and a good health insurance benefit (in the form of veterinary visits, vaccinations and medical treatments when needed), but in exchange they have to cope with a stressing city life of living away from nature; dealing with strong and hurting city noises and contamination; and the typical life of confinement and oppressiveness of the city. So many humans would love to be able to get away from that, but instead bring dogs to the same kind of life they have, just to provide themselves with what is missing in their lives, even to the expense of the dog’s life.
Just a cat’s personal opinion.