for and against / dogs27 February 2015
FOR: Jakob von der Lippe
I don’t really understand why people find dogs cute. Sure, they’re pretty adorable when they’re puppies, but everything is cute when it’s little. For the first couple years of a human’s life, even we are cute, and we’re shaved apes that have been stretched out on some kind of medieval torture device. Depending on the breed, dogs grow in two ways. They either remain small and stunted, bringing into question why they shirked the apex cuteness of their puppyhood at all, or they become way more massive, bringing into question whether or not they could beat you in a fight if they decided to mix up the pack hierarchy that you just know is controlling their apparently loving natures.
Cats may not give a shit about their owners, but dogs’ feelings are somewhere between cringing fear and obsessive devotion. Dog ownership seems to come hand in hand with the delusion that dogs must totally and unconditionally love their owners, but honestly I think that’s just a really pleasant way to conceal the fact your animal worships you. Literally worships. Let that sink in. In your dog’s world, you’re basically God. Dogs, once trained, will follow your commands without question like little furry soldiers, and they love it. That’s fucked. In my cat’s world, I am a larger cat who can more successfully operate sliding screen doors and pour food into a bowl. She is a smaller cat who can sleep in more places. We are, in cat terms, peers. My relationship with my cat was built on an equal footing. As pack animals, dogs are just submissive social fetishists who are born wanting – needing – someone to dominate them. My cat, in contrast, simply doesn’t give a fuck. Once I moved where she slept a metre out of where it should have been, so she bit my foot. That’s about as close as an animal can get to a calm discussion about grievances. A dog is probably not even going to notice what is clearly a violation of their own personal liberties. Dogs don’t die in hot cars because they can’t open the doors – they die because they believe it to be the inviolable, infallible will of their lords and saviours, the owners. Advocate for yourselves, dogs. Take a stand, for once in your lives.
After writing this, I spent some time with the cat and she bit me for buying the wrong kind of Friskies. I think our relationship is becoming toxic. I need some time to sort this out. I think it’s safe to say that all pet ownership is kind of fucked up. Regardless, dogs suck.
AGAINST: Gareth Cox-Martin
When I was tasked with writing this piece, I consulted my girlfriend, who is the biggest dog fanatic I know. I sent her a text asking what a good thing about dogs was, and she texted back: “Having a bunch of dogs follow you and love you entirely is like being the leader of a cult.” So I thought I’d better interview her.
Q: What’s the best thing about dogs?
A: Their unconditional love. They’ll always think you’re interesting – even when you’re not. And when you’re sad they think they’ve done something wrong, so they’re really sweet.
Q: Dogs or cats?
A: Oh, I shouldn’t, but dogs. Cats are just harder! You have to give them so many treats and do whatever they want, and then they might like you. But dogs, you can do the smallest thing, like let them on the couch, and they’re eternally grateful.
Q: Dogs or People?
Q: Why do you think some people might not like dogs?
A: Probably because dogs are like good versions of people – dumb versions of people, but good – and I think bad people feel exposed around them.
Q: If you had a puppy to name, what would you name it?
A:I like the idea of a dog having an old man’s name. I always think of being in the park and yelling it in front of everyone, like “Harold!” or “Earl! Come here! Stop sniffing that other dog’s butt, Earl!”
Q: A house is burning down. In one room there is a suitcase with a million dollars. In another room is a dog and you can only save one.
A: Have I met the dog before?
Q: You haven’t met it, but you’ve seen a picture and you like the look of it.
A: Whose dog is it and what’s its personality like?
Q: It’s your neighbour’s dog. You’ve seen them walking before – never got a chance for a pat – but you like what it’s about from a distance.
A: What does it look like?
Q: It’s kind of like a medium sized, shaggy, shepherd-y type dog?
A: Ahhh no. Aww. Ummm-
Q: You know, with the white fur, kind of like the shaggy white-
A: Million dollars.
Q: Wait, no! What?
A: Ahhh can I just be selfish for a moment? Everybody else would say a million dollars, why do I have to save the dog just because I love them?! I mean, I’d feel bad – like, every dollar I spent I’d feel fucking terrible and then think of that dog… melting… but still, I want an apartment.
Farrago would like to thank the following dogs for appearing in our collage: tobey, sir nicholas, Roodie, ben, jin mao, pedro, monty, shelby, mimi, iggy, tully, duke, alfie, pippi, rose, soap, selby, bella, tamu, nzuri, peppa and roxy