Americans don’t have a “Day of the Dead” or “Remembrance Day” like so many other countries. However, Croatia, where I live now, does. On November 1st, Croatians, my wife included, light candles and leave them in their windows, and take lanterns and flowers to the gravesites of their loved ones.
November 1st is marked on my calendar with the other Croatian holidays and it became the day on which I remember my father. I can’t visit him, none of us can, realistically, mom is too old for the trip and it’s just too far for Eric and Sophia. Instead we will have someone place a wreath for him at Arlington and mom will get a card. It’s what I can do on November 1st.
Arlington National Cemetery Ronald Blaine Schmidt Colonel, US Army Birth Date: 07/17/1939 Death Date: 02/28/2017
I love our dogs. They are my best friends. Dogs are better than people. These are things I think. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
It seems dogs are more loved and revered than ever. I find stories and articles about dogs every day in all sorts of media. Scientific: Do dogs love us? Do they think? What do they think? How did we “domesticate” them? Emotional: Dog saves woman from cougar. Dog food company sends condolences and flowers after dog’s passing. Dog visits former caretaker’s grave site every day. Dog takes bus to city on their own.
There’s a burgeoning industry around dog ownership. It’s been ‘burgeoning’ for a while now. There are endless indispensable accessories. (Note: One of our dogs has 3 sets of shoes that we used to protect his feet when he had a serious pad and nail condition.) Both of our dogs have rain coats, multiple harnesses, entire cupboards full of treats and toys… And why not? Some of these things are really helpful and we love our dogs.
I wonder though, do we love our dogs too much? Do we love them more than we love other people? Have we anthropomorphized our dogs to the point of withdrawing or re-appropriating feelings that we should have for each other? Our dogs, who love us unconditionally we’re told, who never hold grudges, who trust us, who won’t betray or plot against us, who will never lie to us, who would gladly die for us, are they now the repository for feelings we formerly had for each other, our neighbors, coworkers, peers, and friends?
Relying on media which wholly profits from all that is scandalous in human character makes us wary. We are compelled to be cautious, check trust, question loyalty, stay vigilant for betrayal and watchful for deceit. Around people, we withhold. But it is our nature not to and our feelings need an outlet. Our dogs.
The unconditional love that we have convinced ourselves that we receive from our dogs is a cool relief from the wariness that we have been told to, and now must, retain for each other. It is what gives us the freedom to love them, unconditionally. Somehow though, it doesn’t seem quite right to have elevated our dogs into a position of having better moral character than us. Like, if only we (other people because I’m fine) were as true as our dogs, how much better the world would be… Sad. Still, I love my dogs and they are better people than my neighbors. Would I be a better person if I didn’t feel that way? Probably.
Disclaimer: I know not everyone loves dogs. It’s okay.