Moxie and PETA

An animal trainer and advocate turned pet photographer gave advice for successfully capturing winning pet pictures. The trick is to get the dog to ‘cock’ its head in a questioning or puzzled look. To get a dog to do this, the trainer-turned-photog suggests getting the owners to stand behind your camera position and to talk to the dog or use whatever trick works for them. So far, fine.
But the point that is interesting is her use of the word, ‘human.’ As in, “Ask the dog’s human to stand behind you to get the dog’s attention.”
This is a language choice I’ve come across before. It is part of the politically correct sensibility of animal rights activist groups such as PETA. To use “owner” is demeaning in their philosophy, because it sets up a master/slave relationship. In their view this is akin to American black slavery, and it puts human and animal life on an equal playing field. Make no mistake, many of the policies of such groups and much of their activism is geared to accomplish just that. This is moral relativism in action. They have already influenced the circus, zoos and lab testing of animals. And now they are branching out into the field of pets, and one of their thrusts now is to change our vocabularies and hence our thinking about our relationships to animals. Owner is out: equal buddies is in.
But if I am not an owner, then a morning stroll meeting another dog with its human partner might go like this:
“Hello, this is my animal, ….”
“Hello, this is my human…”
Sounds strange to me.
But, if we are going to have a relationship of equality, between human and pet …oops, that’s  out also, for the same reason: let me correct that to “…if we are going to have a relationship between equals, human and animal alike, then I have a few complaints with things as they currently are practiced:
1. Dog License: I no longer will pay the city $50.00 for a dog license, nor will I get one. It’s demeaning to Moxie. I don’t pay a fee to have a human companion, do I?
2. Inequality: Although I love Moxie, I’m beginning to resent her freeloading ways. She makes no financial contribution to the household, and at the equivalent age of 35 years, it’s time she did so. I pay for her veterinarian visits, buy her food, her treats and her toys. This gets  expensive.
3. Responsibility: Am I my animal’s keeper? I am held responsible for Moxie’s indiscretions – if she runs off or bites someone that should not be my fault. I’m just her human and she’s my dog. We are partners, but she is a free being, no? And walking her on a leash? What kind of unenlightened city ordinance is that? A leash is the moral equivalent of shackling her in chains, demeaning, humiliating and controlling, limiting her freedom to explore her world. The leash is colonialism at its worst.
Oh, and one other thing, Moxie. I don’t mean to be indelicate here, but from now on you can bloody well pick up your own pooh!
I’m done with that!

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Walkin’ Moxie – or – An Alien’s Persepctive

          The pulling power of a 10 pound Shih Tzu is, frankly, quite fierce…not surprising since the name apparently translates to Lion Dog.  At the afore-mentioned 10 pound weight, or a bit less than 5 kilos in metricspeak which puts her at the low end of the weight category, Moxie nevertheless fulfills her obligation to carry herself with a “distinctly arrogant carriage,” as Wikipedia puts it. If an underbite and large, buggy eyes might be an invitation for human bullying, especially amongst children, the dog world seems blissfully unaware of such human-termed imperfections; moreover, as long as it’s dogs and not people, these characteristics apparently represent good breeding, so to speak.

          So there I am, being forcibly yanked at the back end of a ten foot leash by this miniature tow truck. From my position, of course, I see none of Moxie’s finer front-loaded  breeding qualities, only the end orifice, the presence of which in all mammals really should unite humanity in some sort of realization that given we share this back-end aspect of nature, there’s little sense in worrying about who has buck teeth, a given skin pigment, is short, heavy, or whatever.

           Or maybe there is! Maybe we distract ourselves with such trivia because we don’t want to be reminded about the back end, because it reminds us all too clearly as to what makes us us, and that the only time this biological process stops is not a time to be wished by most sane people. Dogs, once again, don’t much seem to care, not even about this, and have no remorse about exercising said orifice in public.

          Once, while waiting for  Moxie to perform that hind-site action, then bending low to scoop up the by-products of life, specifically breakfast and a couple of treats in this case, it occurred to me, that should a flying saucer be hovering in the stratosphere while scouting the earth, the aliens (who for all I know could be Shih Tzus) focusing a high-powered, super resolution telescope on me precisely at that moment, would see a small animal leading, its servant humbly following a respectable distance behind, stopping from time to time to scoop its poop. What more evidence could a space-being ask for in order to establish racial dominance? The scouting report would most definitely establish that the four-legged creatures on this third planet from the sun are the master race, they being served by a lesser species with but two legs, clearly less powerful, less able, far slower, and given its role as pooper scooper, possessing significantly less intelligence.

Even stranger, however, is that there are moments when increasingly I’m prone to agree with the aliens.

The superior species

Enjoying a royal rest