It’s Downright Embarrassing!
This week’s posting is devoted to the poor wretch of a dog who suffers humiliation at the end of a leash. Those of you who are unfortunate enough to be walked after dawn by a pajama-clad human know EXACTLY what I mean.
Sometimes it’s pajamas; sometimes it’s sweats that should have found their way to the car waxing cloth bin many moons ago. No matter the breeding, dogs can, and often do, find themselves accompanied by humans in attire unfit for criteria on Blackwell’s worst dressed list. Certainly, you cannot dispute the mortification of a dog being walked on the roadside with a woman sporting a head full of jumbo pink plastic curlers.
And while we're on the subject, not only are dogs disgraced by human apparel, but also by human behavior.
Pity the poor dog walked by the no-pooper-scooper human who suffers the disgusted looks of drivers-by for obvious reasons. Worse yet is the human escort who strategically puffs a pocket with one hand to simulate the appearance of the hidden plastic baggie. For a dog, it’s downright embarrassing to be on a leash with a socially slipshod human on the other end.
Then there are dogs who have no choice but to leave their business on the neighbor’s lawn since that is where their humans - leash in hand - deliberately pause and wait. If given that choice, dogs would much rather mark their own territory. Dogs know full well that marking the neighbor’s lawn clearly sends a mixed message to all parties involved. Often this situation results in a phone call or a visit from the offended neighbor who wrongfully comments on the DOG’S bad habits or obvious lack of manners.
And what about the business of the atypical human who meanders along puffing on a cigarette or sucking a brown stogie? It just LOOKS bad, you know? I mean, for Dog’s sake... you’re finally out for a walk! At least, give SOME semblance of routine exercise.
On an even more profound level, dogs can find themselves in exceedingly embarrassing situations, quite unexpectedly, when out with humans. Take the following scenario, for example. A dog blissfully trots along on the sidewalk attached to a leash, held by its owner. Suddenly, the dog is approached by a strange human walking from the opposite direction. As the human nears, the dog is inclined to do what comes naturally: it immediately sniffs at crotch level to explore the personality of the strange human.
Sad to say, this basic form of doggie communiqué has been known to be blown way out of proportion by humans in general. They are inclined to overreact when dogs exchange a greeting in this way. How embarrassing for a dog to have its owner violently jerk the leash to pull its head away, followed by the usual stream of explicatives or a loud and lengthy reprimand. In either case, the dog is made to feel entirely guilty and thoroughly disgraced for simply saying hello to a new human along the way.
So, then. What have we learned?
We have learned that humans not only embarrass themselves. They always take hostages. But… whether they act out of fear, desperation, recklessness, or just plain ignorance, we love them anyway. It’s our job.