I want to talk about why most animals are better than most people. I doubt that there are very many people who would disagree. There might be those who dislike dogs or cats, but such thinking to begin with thoroughly makes the point.
Right now my dog is asleep on the floor. I can see her slumbering peacefully. She is a mixed-breed Boxer/Border Collie, and she was a rescue. She has been with us for over a year now and is four years old. She was horribly abused and originally trained as a dog fighter in some North Carolina pit. Her face and her chest and her stomach are scarred. She has a few areas where hair will no longer grow. The fact that she is still alive almost undoubtedly means that she has killed other dogs. And she hates other dogs. She goes crazy when she sees them nearby in our neighborhood.
But there is a point to this tragic history. A person with a background such as this you cannot hope will ever really recover from such trauma. They take their rage out upon the world. They often treat their own families–that is, if they ever find one–in a similar way. Their lives are random acts of violence and they tend to come to bitter ends. Now I understand that this is a broad generalization and that there are certainly people who do not fit this mold, who have become victim’s advocates and helped to promote policies to protect battered children and others, but these are sadly rare examples of good coming from horror (and not . . . not fictional horror or entertainment. In many ways there is nothing quite so pure in exploring the human condition as horror stories).
My dog, however, and many other dogs I have met with backgrounds resembling her’s (and I have encountered a tragically large number of these animals), is a gentle and kind and very loving sweetheart. She seems to actually appreciate her new home and her new life. A person–take an adopted child old enough to remember what caused them to live in a public house originally–are more often than not withdrawn, terrified creatures awaiting the next brooding misery that will take their lives away from them again. A dog, on the other hand, just loves you, even if you keep them around for a limited time.
Pit Bulls so often get condemned for the wrong reasons. I want you to consider something for a moment: Say you are born and then thrown away by your parents. You are rescued by some malicious thug who decides to train you to be a killer. To make sure that you maintain a killer instinct they constantly beat you, sometimes starve you, chain you to the wall just out of reach of some juicy critter in a tank, and finally set you free to destroy the little thing and develop a taste for blood.
This goes on, translating dog years, for about the first fourteen years of your life. And then you are shoved into some fight club with no idea what to expect, a place where money is wagered and exchanged and all fights are to the death. Also, you might be sold to another gangster looking for an assassin he doesn’t have to care about. How would you turn out? Would you be worthy of staying alive, of being given another chance? Would it be proper to show you some kindness if only to explain that the whole world is not like the limited space you have known?
Pit Bulls are among the most loyal dogs you could ever hope to find. They are obviously excellent watch dogs, but they will rarely eat the baby in the crib. Most dogs will not do this, even if they hate the baby. Far more older siblings smother their crying sister or brother because they are jealous, than dogs will seek a mid-afternoon snack.
And so we come back to the ‘handful of bad apples,’ we like to trumpet whenever desperately trying to defend a condemned group of people. And among dogs there are certainly some of them, although all of them have been brutalized. And a poodle or a pug is just as capable of devouring a screaming baby as a doberman. With children and adults, sometimes it is just a strange urge, an obsessive thought that causes them to go inside a family’s house, slaughter them all, then write Satanic or Muslim or Christian or Jewish or Hindu justifications on the walls in the victim’s blood and shit. A dog gone wild in a school might bite someone before being contained. A kid with a gun may shoot fifty people before turning the gun on themselves.
So who is really better, morally, ethically, characteristically and with the pure sense of what we for some reason keep calling human loyalty? Who is a better friend? Will your dog break up your marriage if your partner also loves dogs (and why even date someone who does not?) Will they cheat with your husband or wife? Will they take your money and never pay you back? Will you go into business with your pet and see them run off with all the money once the company starts to fail? Or will they just lick you? Will they sometimes interfere with your sex life? Will they always be happy to see you and never take out their misdirected anger on you.
Dogs are better than people. Let us just agree on this. . . .