Reporter Says ‘Dogs Are Parasites, Not Man’s Best Friend’

Hannah Bleau

I’m not offended easily, but in this moment– on behalf of all sweet and precious angels also known as dogs– I AM.

Look at this monstrosity.

In the first part of the article on The San Diego Union-Tribune, reporter Chris Reed laments about how much people love their dogs and SPEND on their dogs.

This crazy dog love keeps getting more and more costly. Spending by Americans on their pets more than quadrupled from 1994 to 2017, going from $17 billion to $69.5 billion.

A July 4th story in The New York Times detailed just how eager dog owners are to pamper their loyal, loving, obedient “fur babies” — even if the dogs don’t grasp that what’s being done to and for them is pampering. Writer Peter Haldeman described the millions of dollars that owners have spent on plastic surgery — plastic surgery! — for their dogs, in particular “tummy tucks, nose jobs and eyebrow and chin lifts.”

OK– the plastic surgery thing is insanity. But I have no problem buying my dogs toys and treats. It’s funny– my boy Sammy KNOWS when I come home from Target and gets really excited because he knows I usually come back with a new toy. If I put the bags on the floor, he’ll sift through them individually until he finds it. He won’t grab anything that’s NOT a toy (except for that one time I didn’t buy him one…he settled for my new washcloths instead. Honest mistake. I let it slide).

ANYWAY. Reed goes on to argue that dogs are parasitic creatures. F’real.

Instead of the notion that over the past 40,000 years, mankind domesticated wolves into present-day dogs, Budiansky says evidence strongly suggests that “proto-dogs” cultivated mankind, intuitively grasping that “mooching off people” beat “fighting it out in the wild.” Early humans, “with their campfires and garbage heaps and hunting practices, but above all with their social interactions, represented an ecological niche ripe for exploitation,” Budiansky wrote. Dogs had a secret weapon in winning over humans: human nature, specifically our near-compulsive anthropomorphism — our habit of attributing human behaviors, emotions or intentions to nonhuman entities. He wrote…

Human beings do it so instinctively that they are forever ascribing malignant or benignant motives even to inanimate forces such as the weather, volcanoes and internal-combustion engines. Our very cleverness is the start of our undoing when we’re up against an evolutionary sharpshooter like the dog. We are primed to seize on what are, in truth, fundamental, programmed behaviors in dogs and read into them extravagant tales of love and fidelity. …

Even people who are very bad animal trainers can usually make themselves understood to dogs. If you shout at a dog, it cringes. Does this mean the dog feels sorry for peeing on your Oriental rug? The fact is that it doesn’t matter, as far as the dog is concerned, whether he feels sorry or not. The cringe is a successful technique for deflecting aggression. Millions of years of wolf evolution have selected such behaviors because they are socially effective; thousands of years of dog evolution have fine-tuned such behaviors so that they are socially effective on people. Just as we are genetically programmed to seek signs of love and loyalty, dogs are genetically programmed to exploit this foible of ours.

I know the clinical coldness of these last two paragraphs is going to rub dog lovers the wrong way. But the case that Budiansky made in 1999 has only gotten stronger over the years — even if some authors try to soften the blow with semantics, such as The Verge’s 2015 description of dogs as “nature’s most adorable parasite.”

Dude. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?

It gets worse.

As for dog defenders, at least they can always find reassurance on YouTube. I am among the millions who have watched the April 2017 video of the North Carolina man who lost 50 pounds during a lengthy stay in the hospital and whose dog initially didn’t recognize him, only to be seemingly overcome with joy after recognizing his owner’s smell. It seems completely and believably spontaneous, not a “programmed behavior.”

But was the dog — Willie — overjoyed to have his friendly master back? Or to have his primary meal ticket back? As Budiansky writes, “when it comes to dogs, almost nothing is what it seems.”

So is that love in your dog’s eyes — or is that the look of a con man sizing up his mark? Science says it’s the latter. Sorry, world.

WRONG. Dogs generally love their humans. When you look in their eyes, you see the love, and when you go through hard times, you FEEL the love. I can see the change in their behavior when I’m stressed or during times of legitimate crisis. I’ve watched them sit sweetly by my family members during medical emergencies, trying to comfort them. Don’t tell me they only care about FOOD. They love us. There is no doubt in my mind.

WHO HAS HURT YOU CHRIS?! What made you this way?

I love that dogs are one of the FEW things that unite us all. Our love of dogs transcends politics.

Step off our pups, haters. They are precious angels sent from heaven, and I don’t know what we’ve done to deserve them.

h/t Twitchy