As you know, I'm a dog. And as dogs, we aim to please. Not so our canid cousins. They aim to kill – to survive. Wolves, jackals, coyotes, they've all retained the killer instinct that we dogs once had. The instinct to survive is no longer our strongest. As we became domesticated we softened. Now we aim to please. And that’s not always a good thing. Sure, fetching newspapers or balancing biscuits on our noses won’t kill us, but sometimes the desire to please gets us into trouble. Deep trouble.
Time and time again we do things that are not in our best interest. A person tells us to jump, we don’t ask how high. We just jump as high as doggedly possible. Many a muscle or tendon has been torn in the effort.
*photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Samuel Renteria
We would die of thirst to please you.
|A working military police dog recovers from minor heat exhaustion.*|
*photo by Tech. Sgt. Dawn M. Price
Dogs trained to withstand extremely loud sounds such as gunshots and explosions suffer permanent hearing damage or post traumatic stress disorder. They overcome the urge to run from such sounds, all for the goal of pleasing someone.
|I bet the people have ear protection.|
*photo by Master Sgt. Scott Wagers
Search and rescue dogs frequently work in hazardous situations, subjecting themselves to everything from sliced feet and puncture wounds to life-ending respiratory illness.
|searching for victims after a truck bombing*|
There are countless stories of dogs rescuing their people from hazardous situations, only to end up dying for their effort.
|Duncan died in a house fire after he saved his owner.|
(full story at abcnews)
It all comes down to wanting to please, to be liked. I worry sometimes about our future. If we continue in this vein, I fear we won’t last. With that possibility in mind, think twice before you ask us to do something that might not be good for us. We’ve shown that we will do anything for your praise. People, you have great power. Use it wisely. You don’t want to end up with a world without dogs, do you?
In an effort to please you right now, I would love to leave you a juicy bone, but it’s not really possible over the internet. Failing that, I leave you with my most winning smile. I hope you like it.
|Do you like me now?|
*indicates public domain image.