The Mistaken Dog

The competitive spirit burns strong, but when does it become unhealthy? Circumstances will definitely dictate how much fighting spirit that individual or group is willing to accomplish their task. Does apathy swallow empathy? Why are we (collective) still using the excuse that it’s a “Dog eat Dog” world? It’s funny how people who I speak with still circle back to the animal kingdom to validate behavior, and still we domesticated the dog. Our ancestors changed the nature of the dog, which I’m grateful because some of my best friends are dogs. This piece is on the ugly side of our nature, and of course there is the debate of “Nature vs Nurture” which is something for another day.

If I was a dog, I would be quite offended that a more intellectual species (debatable at times) use this phrase to validate wrong doings. Animals do what they have to do to survive. In Iraq there were wild dogs who had very little food, so they ate what was given to them. One day there was a pack of wild dogs hanging around on a busy road with their heads down. Some were chasing others away from that spot, what I learned about the behavior of dogs from reading, watching nature shows, and having my own is that was a feeding frenzy. It was a little strange, and yet understandable that these animals took what they could get in order to survive another day. This example is much different then the previous; I’ve had real dogs in my family for as long as I can remember, and my job has always been to feed them when it’s time to eat. Some days a mediator had to be there to make sure both of them have the opportunity to eat. There was some scuffles around the dogs bowl, and their uncertainty was felt, tensions ran high, this electrified the room. Snarling echoed through the house. They were in a protective posture, guarding that food with their lives. They’re animals, that’s what they do. They don’t make up excuses on why they behave the way they do, they just are.

These two examples can be compared or contrasted to each other, and it can be used as an excuse for people to use to walk all over another. I get the whole self-interests, but isn’t it time to detach ourselves from this type of ideology. It’s a teacher of greed and apathy, and it shows that people don’t matter. I can do crime surveys, unemployment surveys, get statistics on the homeless until I’m blue in the face, and it still doesn’t change that this ideology is still fused with our society. How can we change?

The first thing that I have to do is change that question from “we” to “I”, and figure out the role I play in the dog scenario. Am I teaching this type of thinking to my kids? There are people who don’t have a choice because their backs are against the wall. The hopelessness and despair fueled by urgency is a dangerous cocktail. If you add all the other variables in society that limit options, life can be overwhelming. These variables can range from the socio-economic to human rights being taken away. Instead of pushing a person’s back up against the wall, reaching out may result in a positive outcome. Let’s do something different.

If anyone has any thoughts, whether they want to add anything or disagree, my ears are open. I want to end by wishing everyone a Happy New Year.


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