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February 04, 2006

The Dog Whisperer

Yesterday, something hit me like a ton of bricks. It was about Americans and their dogs.

Now I'm not the kind of person that goes around looking for things that are wrong with Americans, but I did grow up black. That means I've had the 'natural' opportunity to look at things like an outsider and smirk. As a critical tool, the outsider looking in can be very powerful. It can also be overused, but listening to this dude talk about who we are as Americans was something from straight genius. His name is Cesar Millan, and you've got to absorb him.

He said that if you ask a person from the Third World about their dog, they say it's a dog. You ask an American and they say it's their baby.

Here in the United States, we often refer to our dogs as our children, our brothers and sisters, and even our soulmates! So if they ever display severe aggression towards another animal, we’re shocked, sad, or may even feel betrayed. We think of that dog as a “bad seed.”

That's so wrong, and this man is so right. He says he doesn't even speak much to dogs - that people talk to their dogs as if they were people. He said that in Europe, people regularly bring their dogs into cafes and restaurants and they never fight with other dogs. Why? Because Europeans know how to treat their dogs like dogs. Who is the dog and who is the master is clear, whereas here most Americans don't know who's the boss. He said America is run by dogs and children. Funny, I was just cartooning about the children part. Now I'm encouraged.

Catch his show on the National Geographic Channel. This is better than Dr. Phil

Posted by mbowen at February 4, 2006 09:35 PM

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I have to say, the English actually have a greater love for their pets than Americans do. Contributions to animal charities dwarf those of children's charities. In fact, put a cute baby up against a puppy of any breed and more people will gush over the puppy. The theory is that it is taboo for the English to show emotional attachment to people, so they transfer these natural human feelings to their animals. You will see otherwise reserved people gush over their animals. The only people I have observed treating animals as animals are farmers and hunters.

I am convinced that if the use of dogs in bomb plots in Iraq was made more known over here, the tide of opinion throughout the country would change to be broadly in favour of the war...seriously. In fact, I imagine if a newspaper were to turn it into a campaign like "Stop the Canine Killing" the money would flow to the military here.

Posted by: James G at February 6, 2006 06:18 AM