In the same vein as the classic dog loyalty story Hachiko (which I’m still gearing up to watch), comes another real life tale of how dogs seem to have this knack of staying true to whoever it is they have an attachment to. In this case, it’s a dog refusing to leave the side of a friend who was injured in the recent Japan quake/tsunami. Without words, he even seems to be asking for help from the humans, pointing and leading the way to the injured dog. Just like Hachiko, who went to the train station everyday, for years, long after his master died, this dog wouldn’t leave his friend no matter what.
Here’s another video that illustrates the same type of behavior:
I don’t know exactly what goes on in the minds of these animals when they do this, because many animal behaviorists warn against anthropomorphizing dog behavior, or ascribing human behavior to animals. People like Cesar Millan say we often wrongfully attribute human emotions like jealousy or loyalty to dogs, when in fact the behavior we labeled as such mean something very different to the animals. For example, what to us looks like jealousy when we favor one dog to another is actually a pack dominance struggle. It has nothing to do with jealousy, but more with ranking in the pecking order of the pack. But that said, when I see dogs do these very un-animal things, it really hits a nerve. It’s no secret that I love animals, and I’m especially attached to the companion animals in my life. As awful as it may sound, I often infinitely enjoy animal company over its human counterpart. I don’t get humans a lot of the time. I’m often burnt by how humans behave and I’ve grown to be suspicious of them. Dogs on the other hand are much easier to figure out for me. I guess its the fact that I have a closer affinity for dogs than I do with humans that account for my social ineptitude.
It goes without saying that I’m in a bad place right now, and I truly find so much comfort whenever I’m with my dogs. I spend so much time with them, and it eases a lot of the human-borne stress. in my life. Actually, my distrust of humans grows at such an alarming rate, that I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up like those loony hermits in the forest who live out their days communing with bears. Can you blame me? Dogs are so uncomplicated, so open, and you don’t need to figure them out too much. And they’re always glad to see you. So if one of these days I suddenly disappear, you know where to find me. I’m probably in some forest, hairy and dirty, running naked with the feral dogs. But if I don’t seem to recognize you as someone of my own species, just leave me be and don’t come any closer because I’ll bite.
In my honest, although slightly bitter, and most likely misguided opinion, humans can learn a lot from animals. We often describe “bad” humans as “no better than animals”. That’s unfair. I can think of many people who would put the most vicious animals to shame. Oh well, ask me another day and maybe I’ll be singing a different tune, and maybe I’ll be praising the “innate goodness of humanity” in another post. But for now, I’m biased, so consider me TEAM ANIMAL. Oh no, I really think I’ll be crazy one of these days. I just hope I won’t embarrass myself too much, like that crazy guy back in my college days, the one that walks around naked in Philcoa. I can imagine the people now: “Ay, si Joe D’ Mango, tuluyan nang nabaliw!”