cynanthropy


cynanthropy n. a form of madness involving the delusion of being a dog, with correspondingly altered behaviour.

Ms. Stella - My Own Beloved Canine

Dogs are in their heyday – a veritable canine renaissance is occurring as I write this. They have their own boutiques and wardrobes, gourmet food and superstores. They wear rain coats to keep their fur dry and have special sections of the park just so they can run and play with their fellow dog-kind. There is an entire industry of groomers and pet photographers that make a living off of primping up their fur and making them pretty. They have entire charities existing to save them from the harm of puppy mills, hoarders and general mistreatment. It’s even safe to say that some dogs have it better than some humans. The top 1% of dog society probably lives better than I do…so would it be so “mad” to want to be a dog?

I suppose many years ago, before dogs and cats became only second to humans as domesticated animals, being or acting like a dog would have appeared as somewhat alarming. Perhaps someone with this type of madness would drop down on all fours and begin herding people or animals. Maybe they bit random followers or sat by the front door keeping watch and barked when strangers came by. Perhaps they chose to live in a glorified hovel called a doghouse in the backyard. I do believe that although some dogs still perform the aforementioned duties,  the majority of canines live a much more luxurious life these days (do you know anyone who houses their dog in an outdoor shed?) and that having the delusion of being a dog would not be that far afield from being your average college student.

Let’s examine this, shall we?

College students sleep quite a lot, as do dogs – over 10 hours a day. I fondly remember my slumber as a college student. When you have minimal responsibility in life and the only reason you really have to get out of bed is to read Ulysses and sit for an hour to listen to a professor ramble on about Kant, you sleep really, magnificently well. It’s that deep kind of sleep where you wake up feeling new and refreshed. (Once you have a child or a job, this never happens again.) My dog sleeps very much the same way I used to so long ago. She is a 60 pound figure of peace laying amongst down throw pillows on my memory foam mattress…the bed I worked half my life to afford…for at least 10 hours a day. It is arguably her bed as she sleeps in it far longer than I do. So one point for dogs in that respect. My bed in college was a glorified twin cot…which was an upgrade from the top bunk of my freshman year.

College students don’t tend to eat very high quality food – mostly what can be scrounged up cheaply or found at the school cafeteria – cold pizza, cereal, ramen noodles. One would think that humans would win out on the food argument, but unfortunately I have evidence of the latter. Recently as I was in the pet store buying some supplies for Stella, my own personal Holstein – doppelgänger, I scoped out the selection of kibble being offered. Honestly, I don’t think most college kids could afford to eat what some dogs routinely enjoy. $40 seemed the average for the medium-sized bag. This food had organic lamb and rice or bison meat – no chicken beaks or grade B meat. I even noticed Gluten Free dog food – because dogs get celiac too, apparently? And it’s not as if most dogs even exclusively eat only kibble. They get half of what their humans eat most of the time. Since most students will have to do a minimum of dish washing and microwaving, the dogs win this point too as their lack of opposable thumbs means they will never lift a finger in the kitchen.

Well, college students have indoor bathroom facilities, you say? Have you ever been outside a college watering hole on a Friday night? Well – there is a bathroom in the bar, but let’s just say some collegiate members have been frequently known to squat when they need to – males and females alike – especially if the bathroom line is too long. I would think that fraternities and sororities could support this point as well. I have heard stories but have no firsthand experience with the Greeks so I would call this one a wash between dogs vs. students.

I could go on for days but, all in all, I wouldn’t say wanting to be a dog is completely crazy or even very much delusional. They have to be one of the most loved species of animal in existence and are finally coming into their own. It’s quite arguable that dogs are treated better than a good percentage of humans. However, they mustn’t rest on their laurels. If the internet is any indication, it would appear that the cats are hot on their heels…

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