We have been dog owners for over two years now. Having Lincoln in our house has revealed a divide that I feel like sociologists should study. The divide is along gender lines, which I don’t think is coincidental. I never took a sociology class, but my daughter did, and she got an “A” in it, so I think I am uniquely qualified to give you my analysis of what happened here.
Let me give you a little background first. Lincoln is a 20-pound mutt, a shelter rescue. The shelter told us he was a beagle mix who was three months old when we got him. Now that he’s two and change as the Earth revolves around the sun, and probably about 19 or 20 in human years, we don’t see much if any beagle in him. He looks to me like a Jack Russell/Whippet combo. He’s a high energy dog. He runs fast and he’s nimble. He likes to chew, but he has a soft, bird-dog bite. He’s a terrible tracker, but enjoys a good sniff. He’s easy to teach tricks to, and he can balance rather well on his hind legs. He’s not a lap dog, but he likes a good snuggle, and he sleeps every night pressed against my lower leg.
My daughter and I believe that he was put on this planet to spread goodness and light. He makes everyone laugh with his boundless enthusiasm. Everyone he meets is a potential friend and treat source. We recognize that he is never going to get a job or be independent. He would be a horrible service dog. When he is playing fetch or tug-o-war or snoozing in a puppy-puddle all curled up on his blanket, he is doing exactly what he was meant to do. His only ‘use’ is to be a recipient for our love and affection. So long as he only chews up his own toys and doesn’t hurt anyone, we’re good.
My husband and son, on the other hand, believe that Lincoln’s tricks are cute and all, and yeah, who doesn’t love a good belly scritch, but all of that must be done within the context of discipline. We, as humans, are the alphas. Lincoln must know his place. He must be polite in front of company. Shushed when he barks out of turn. We dominate. He submits.
I get what they’re saying. I do. But here’s the thing: we live on 18 acres. We don’t have close neighbors to bother. Lincoln is by nature a good doggo. He doesn’t chew up our shoes or our furniture, not anymore, and he only barks when he thinks he is protecting us from killer squirrels and lizards or those horrible people who dare to walk down the road in front of our house. He’s not aggressive. He’s not an escape artist. He just wants attention.
I know this: When I come home from a long day at work, when everybody wants something from me ten minutes ago and everybody else is standing in my way of getting it done, and I open the door Lincoln comes running towards me like he hasn’t seen me in three years and he wasn’t quite sure I’d make it back. Holy moly that puppy is glad to see me. So what if he almost knocks me down in his excitement? That’s how I know he’s excited. When they yell at him for being excited I feel like they’re telling him not to show his love quite so much.
Maybe – probably? – I’m just personifying his behavior. Who knows, who cares. It makes me happy. And in this world, in this year, I’ll take that wherever I can get it. And you will NOT take it away from me. I’m going to spoil the puppy because it makes me happy.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.