My love for dogs almost knows no bounds. In fact, I am frequently of the opinion that I prefer dogs to humans. (Except for when humans give me expensive presents, which is an ability all dogs lack.)
Humans are unfortunate creatures that have a bad habit of creating and dwelling in their own misery. Unfortunately I am not above this cliche. However, dogs (usually) are.
In my own life I will confess that, when you boil it down, all I want is affection and love. If this means people patting me on the back for being famous and beautiful, then so be it.
I want people to like me in the same way people like Mary Poppins. “Practically perfect in every way.” I want to be able to say or do anything and have it be viewed as brilliant and magical.
I want to be the Tom Hanks of life: easily likable, hardly ever controversial, and unquestionably talented.
If Mary Poppins got pissed off or bitter or upset for some reason, people would be like, “Oh shit, what did we do wrong?” This is because Mary Poppins is always right. Clearly any grievance she suffers is not due to her own negative way of thinking, but because other people are not as good as she is. This seems to be widely accepted, and it’s a fact I would like to be applied to my own life.
Similarly, if Tom Hanks felt depressed because he was filled with some self-doubt about his ability to act and provide for his family, a whole flock of American citizens would rush to his side to soothe and support him in his time of need. “Tom, you’re the best, don’t let anyone tell you differently.” In fact, Tom’s depression (should this unlikely event occur) might even be seen as somewhat “endearing” and “down-to-earth.” “He’s so connected to real life,” people might muse, “and anyone who is out to get Tom Hanks is a fucking asshole. Let’s give him another lead role in Charlie Wilson’s War 2.”
Ultimately this is a convoluted way of admitting I am no different than most people. I want attention, to be viewed positively, and be beloved by all.
People are rarely able to fill these needs. People will like me, sure, but in general if I become grumpy, bitter, and/or angry then this is somewhat of a turn off. People don’t like hanging out with miserable people. The other unfortunate thing about people is many feel similar to how I do. They also want to be important and loved, and sometimes these truths create conflicting interests. We can’t both be Mary Poppins, especially considering neither of us actually are faultless.
Dogs, however, will stick around no matter the mood. Dogs are also accommodating. If I want to spend five hours bitching to a dog about how terrible my day is, the dog will listen attentively and lick my tears (because they are salty). A person might tell me to “suck it up” or “let it go,” and they would be right. But that is the wonderful thing about dogs: they can’t talk or offer (true) criticisms.
Dogs want to eat, and this simple fact alone is usually enough to have me be the most important person in their life. Dogs are much more apt to accept that I am the alpha dog in their life. Facts are facts and there’s no reason for dogs to “compete” with me to steal that title away from me. Instead they will provide love and affection and worship me as they should.
The best thing about dogs though is their unwavering ability to accept me as I am. No dog would bother to encourage me to be the best version of myself I can be, and this is a relief. Becoming a better, more mature individual is hard work. Having realistic expectations of people and things requires a reasonable view of life that accounts for the fact that I won’t always get exactly what I want. Learning to be a happier person requires the ability to find validation from within myself instead of relying on outside people and factors to provide it for me. A person in my life might point out this fact, or refuse to provide the validation I crave with insults or even indifference. Dogs would never expect this of me. They would lie on my lap if I demanded it and be happy to do so. Dogs would light up when they see me no matter what. If I asked a dog to give me compliments then it would not refuse, but instead would bark in approval of my greatness. Dogs are loyal and for this reason maybe they are stupid. I probably don’t even deserve to have my selfish, insecure needs fulfilled by an unquestioning creature. There is probably a lot of truth in the fact that a strong, happy, and self-assured person would be able to provide the love and affection they crave for themselves without demanding it of the world. But until I learn how to be more perfect I am still pleased that dogs (and, admittedly, some friends who are supportive, generous, and loving) are around. They make it easier.