2018 is almost over, and with it will come the end of the Year of the Dog. Halle-freakin-lujah. These furry creatures are already getting enough attention without a formal 365-day dedication period. From endless Instagram dog accounts to bulldogs stopping traffic in the streets, they’re everywhere I turn. You won’t catch me cooing every time a four-legged beast comes your way. Here’s the thing: I hate dogs.
Signal the inevitable cries of shock, disgust and terror. “How is it possible?” friends and strangers always ask me. “Are you even human?” they will reflect after seeing me remain indifferent in the presence of a dog the size of a palm.
Supposedly, humanity is based on the worship of pets. Those who steadfastly ignore four-legged friends are stigmatized strangers. I’m sick of having to apologize for my opinions or tone down the intensity of my feelings just to appease the crazy masses of puppies. No, I don’t like dogs, and no, I’m not a cold-blooded monster.
My contempt for dogs comes from the way I grew up. My family tried to adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog when I was eight years old. “Attempt” is the key word. Her name was Romy and she quickly became the family chore as opposed to the family friend. She constantly needed time and energy. Quite frankly, we Gallardos are just not pets. It’s in our genes.
Instead of worship, I felt excessive apathy. I didn’t like Romy at all. Hearing her aggressive mid-morning howl to be taken outside for a walk didn’t really motivate me to feel love and affection. Standing outside in the freezing cold every morning with a dog bag in hand while waiting for some cool, warm animal poop didn’t give me a surge of excitement an owner might feel. Frankly, Romy needed way too much attention, which I just didn’t have enough to give. I was – and am – in a state in my life where I would rather interact with real humans than play with furry neighbors at the dog park. Romy took way too much work, and she robbed me of my independence.
After owning it for two years, I realized the undeniable fact: most dogs are dirty and smelly. You can literally smell when someone owns a furry creature. Maintaining their hygiene takes time and money that I don’t have. Plus, dogs never leave you alone. Maybe it’s my inner introvert talking, but I don’t wanna come home with a dog that pokes its nose in my stuff and demands attention. I want peace, quiet and solitude.
The idea of having to deal with a creature that can’t even hold a conversation with me isn’t appealing. It is a colossal waste of my money and my energy. This is where I feel like I have to make a promise: I swear I’m not a cold-hearted freak. I just have different priorities than dog lovers. I think dogs are smelly, unclean, boring, and ultimately too much work. I shouldn’t have to apologize for this.
Puppy bait doesn’t work on me. The number of Tinder profiles I have encountered with the cringe-like ‘It’s My Dog’ bios referencing dog owner personality photos made me realize even more how rare I am to never not be interested in sliding right.
Once, on a first date (after listening to 20 minutes of stories about his little Brewster’s obedience class updates), a guy got really serious with me whispering, “You guys. just can’t trust an enemy of dogs. I sipped my drink with a smirk and joked, “But what if they like doggy style?” He almost choked. I never saw him again.
It’s not just potential romantic prospects who don’t trust someone who doesn’t like dogs. Looks like it’s everyone. Contempt for dogs is met with stigma and shock. A quick Google search for dislike dogs leads to a downward spiral in the inner workings of online forums where people express themselves without restriction in the disguise of an Internet character. A Quora member wrote that finding out that someone he knows doesn’t like dogs “is a warning signal that something is wrong with that person, and I will avoid them.”
One of the things that makes humanity so beautiful is the difference in opinions and backgrounds among people around the world. Do we no longer believe in diversity? Enemies of dogs are the rare group who are not encouraged to accept their “difference”. Instead, the entire collective is deemed appalling.
This is completely unfair and my outrage cannot be kept silent. It seems we live in a society in which our personalities and dislikes are harbingers. Not a fan of chocolate? You are inhuman. You don’t like music? You are crazy. Don’t want a pet? Goodbye.
These judgments and denunciations are ridiculous, especially since we are in an age which advocates inclusion and acceptance. Inclusion does not apply to us canine condemners. We are simply “not human”. It cannot continue because our personal preferences are exactly that: personal. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, whether they come from family traditions, personal experience, or just a developed feeling.
Do not mistake yourself ; I get the lure of dogs. They can be someone’s best friend. They fill an emotional void with true unconditional love. As companions, they are loyal, obedient, and kind. They can even help people with medical disabilities. I think it’s amazing and I respect it – from a very far, very necessary distance. This respect must now come from both sides. I will respect the woof if you respect my opinion.