Chapter 2: The American Dog Epidemic

Look, I love dogs as much as the next person, but I have never been crazy about indoor dogs, mostly because they leave constant reminders of their presence. Oh look! Dog hair all over the couch! And hey, this food would smell really good if you weren’t breathing in my face Fido. Yes go ahead and bark your brains out at the small child next door, he terrifies me as well. The list goes on. I already knew all this when I crammed into the back seat of that Buick, but as I sat there amidst a flurry of shedding dog hair I knew that the condition of dog and human relations was at an all-time low point.

But before I get to that story, let me explain how I missed the clear and obvious warning of STAY AWAY FROM OLIVE. I first met Leah’s parents when we drove up to northern Oklahoma for a long weekend at the Bunkers’ time share. It was a fun trip filled with good food, horseback rides and golf (which I don’t play). But most importantly I got to meet Leah’s wonderful family.

When Leah’s mom told me, “We’ll have to get Olive used to you,” I should have known that I was in trouble. “We’ll let you give her some treats so that she’ll get used to you,” she said. I should have known that this was code for, “Our dog is extremely spoiled and she’ll probably hate you if you don’t talk to her in a baby voice and give her beggin’ strips.” You see, there’s an animal epidemic that has taken hold of America. I first began to see the results of this change in animal culture several years ago. Maybe I’m just a country boy who has never known much besides guard dogs, stray dogs and hound dogs, but I sure had never seen people treat their dogs like children. And I’m here to tell you, it is INSANE.

Young couples have made it a trend to buy or adopt a cute little puppy so that they can practice for raising children. You know, practice cleaning their crap, rocking them to keep them from crying and buying different colored bandanas to match every season. I mean, you have to raise little Fido right. Spend the extra $30 on that upgraded Puppy Chow and you’re puppy will always smile and never cause any trouble. Despite all the fancy dog toys, trips to puppy park and grade-A dog food, most of these young couples end up with a spoiled little dog who for all practical purposes wears that pants of the family. I’ve seen it time and time again.

See my point?

See my point?

Now I blame two things for this about face in America. The first is that little puppy from all those K9 Advantix ads. Yeah you know the yellow lab pup who wears bandanas and makes grown men with full-time jobs say “Awe!” These iconic commercials gave the little lab the voice of a young kid bringing the canine one step closer to the elevated status that dogs enjoy today.

(In case you forgot the commercial)

Yeah thanks again K9 Advantix. How can’t you fall in love with that little guy? He makes me want to spoil my puppy. Olive could’ve been just like that little fella when she was a youngster but I’m here to tell you that when they grow up and aren’t so cute anymore and they haven’t been trained properly they can be a pain in your backside. That’s exactly what Olive has been to me the second she laid eyes on me. I could tell she had that wild look in her eyes that said, “I hate you and will make your time in Iowa a living hell.”

The second reason is that people have forgotten where dogs belong… in the backyard sleeping in the doghouse, just like Snoopy. Instead, young couples convince themselves that they can rear a young pup in a small one bedroom apartment in a big city like Dallas. Of course the dog will have plenty of room to exercise in your I-just-got-married-and-have-no-money starter apartment. Despite what you may think, a morning and evening walk will not expend all the energy that man’s best friend has. Not a chance, unless your dog is fat and lazy, in which case you have a bigger problem… haha.

Dogs used to be considered man’s best friend. We have turned them into man’s most spoiled and misunderstood child. A dog should be a constantly loyal companion who will wag his tail when you get home at the end of each day whether you just got fired or just got a promotion and we should love them for that. But the minute you stop treating Buddy like a dog, the minute he’ll stop being your best friend. He’ll turn selfish, spoiled and unpredictable. If you don’t believe me, take a look around and I’ll bet my boots that you will meet a crazy dog like Olive who will be sure to become, your worst enemy.

From the get go she wouldn’t let me pet her, but still she didn’t really bother me. So my first trip to Iowa to visit my girlfriend and her parents was going well until one night when Olive stole my seat on the couch. And that night, the number two hit the fan.

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3 Comments

  1. Treating dogs well and with love is not a problem. Put this into perspective, my god. The problem is people buying puppies from a breeder and then tossing them to the side when they “get big” or when they have children and it’s “too much” to handle.

    Plus, this is just a joke.

    We are a young couple who spoil our dog, by your definition. We have no desire to have children, so your first assumption is just an inaccurate stereotype that you made up in your head.

    And what, exactly, is the problem anyway? You whine and go on and on without making any actual argument as to why “spoiling” a dog is even a bad thing.

    My dog gets treats just for looking cute sometimes. Indoor dog, of course, who has even been allowed to sleep in our bed most of his life. He is even *gasp* allowed on the couch! And, oohh you wouldn’t believe this…we don’t lock him up in a back room when people come over…because it is his home, too! What a concept.

    So. Apparently that means all sorts of bad behavior would ensue. Except…

    He is thrilled and excited every day that we come home. He is also entirely predictable around other people and dogs. As one other example, he even has a bedtime that he follows every night. He is also incredibly well trained–his favorite was agility class where he even impressed the trainer with his attentiveness and skill. He also knows many novelty tricks, but helpful assistance-dog type things.

    Not sure why you complain about the idea of a selfish dog. So. All you want is an animal that will wag their tail at you when you come home? Wow. Do you need an ego boost THAT BAD.

    What you fail to understand is that many people own dogs because it’s a MUTUALLY beneficial relationship. Some humans actually care about their dog’s happiness and want them to have a fun and exciting life. They realize that dogs are social animals…just like us…and that being ignored and left alone all the time is just cruel to them.

    Our experience with our dog invalidates every single claim you’ve made in your post. I also know a LOT of other dog owners, and they would invalidate this as well.

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    Reply

    1. I think you’ve slightly misunderstood me. Once again let me say, I LOVE DOGS. They’ve always been a huge part of my family, BUT they are still dogs.

      I’m sure your dog is very well behaved and adorable! But in your bed? That’s a little weird.

      Plus this is supposed to be humorous so exaggeration is a technique that I can use to that effect. Thanks for your input though!

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