There are dog people, and then there are DOG PEOPLE. The first are people who like dogs. I’m one of those. They are cute and fun, entertaining to play with and enjoyable for the affectionate attention and company. I’ve been dog-sitting for a friend for the past ten days and have had a wonderful time doing it.
The other kind of dog people – I kind of hate them. You know the ones I’m talking about. They refer to their dog as “my child” – and do so unironically as though it actually is a child. And they love it like it is a child. That’s sweet and all, until it isn’t. I realize there are lots of cities where dogs are extremely popular, but the people of Los Angeles have taken it to another level. It could be argued that because of the nature of the entertainment business, many people delay having actual children while they focus on their careers, and dogs serve as a sort of placeholder/halfway house. The problem with that is that they genuinely grow to believe their dogs are, and more importantly should be treated as, actual children. And treated as such by everyone around them.
We’ve all seen the dog-as-accessory people, where it seems the dog is just like the hat, the shoes or the bag and is purchased to be the final additional to any and every outfit. Then there are the “service dogs” which are extremely popular in Los Angeles where getting a dog certified is about as difficult as getting a marijuana license. This allows them to take the dog into any establishment that does not normally allow pets. I’m rather certain that your “emotional trauma” is not so intense that you cannot make it through ten minutes in Starbucks without your precious “child,” it’s just more convenient for you. It annoys the crap out of the rest of us who can obviously see that there is nothing “service” about your obnoxious dog, and we all collectively think you are an asshole for it. The less legitimate the “service” being provided by the dog, the more hostile the owner will get when challenged. It’s actually illegal to ask about the service the dog is providing, which is just a convenient loophole for douchebaggery to go unchecked.
The following scenario has occurred more than a few times in my Los Angeles life. A group of us are sitting at a dinner or gathering in the evening. The time comes where the decision is being made to have another round of drinks or just move the event to another location to continue because we are all having a wonderful time. In almost every single instance where eight or more are gathered, you can guarantee that one individual or couple will offer this reason for not staying, “I/we’d love to, but we have to get home to the kids.” Seriously. For a moment there is confusion, they don’t have children – oh, wait – they mean the dogs. And they’re serious. It’s not a clever excuse to say they want to leave, you can tell by their growing agitation that they genuinely want to get home to their dogs. It’s often followed up with, “they’ve been inside all evening and we really need to let them out.”
The thing is, no, no you don’t. They’re dogs. Not children – dogs. They can handle it. Just like people, they can deal with being left alone for a number of hours on their own – far better, in fact, than actual children. They don’t need to go out right this second, they can hold it. They manage to make it through the whole night while you are sleeping, they don’t have to go out every two hours. The worst thing that happens if they don’t is you have to clean up some pee or poop when you get home. How is that really terrible when you follow them around picking up their poop outside anyway? You’re going to go ahead and cut short the fantastic time we are all having out of some misguided need to ensure that your precious “children” don’t feel lonely without you? News flash – they don’t really care. Honestly, they don’t. They will be excited to see you whether you are gone for five minutes to take out the trash, or all night with your grown up friends doing grown up things and having a grown up good time. You feed them, you walk them, you pet them – they are not going to sulk passive-aggressively in the corner like an ignored lover because you stayed out another hour.
One more thing, stop telling me to “look at that face!” like your dog has some magical personality shining through it’s adorable little expression. First, I don’t need to see pictures of your dog, I can barely handle looking at pictures of people’s actual children for more than a few seconds. In person, absolutely, hours of entertainment, but that photo does nothing for anyone but you. Second, I hate to break it to you, but your dog doesn’t smile at you. That’s just their face. The tail wags and affection are because you are the source of attention and food. Dogs are whores. If anyone else pet and fed your dog for long enough, they would grow to feel the same way about them.
So dog people, it’s great that you love your pet. Seriously it is. I will happily watch you romp with it for hours when we are together. But it is not a child, and pardon me when I giggle in your face because you think and act like it is. I don’t mean to offend, but seriously, you can’t be serious. Right?