The current, and recurring dispute in our home is whether we should get another pet. Having all but capitulated (don’t tell my kids!) the discussion now revolves around the breed of dog. My wife is campaigning for a Havanese, but I am adamant that we own a Vizsla. A relatively unknown breed, this Hungarian hunting dog has some outstanding virtues. A beautiful breed, the Vizsla is affectionately called the ‘velcro dog’ for its attachment to its owners. Sociability and intelligence are winning characteristics but the real gem is that this dog doesn’t shed and doesn’t smell. It sounds like my future best friend.
One persistent misconception about me is that I don’t like animals. In honesty, I have nurtured this mistaken belief because I enjoy the reaction it brings. But I do like animals—particularly dogs. What I don’t like is filth and stench! And this is the predicament I find myself in, I am attracted to animals that turn my nose. So here comes the Vizsla to the rescue, finally a dog that grooms itself and practices good hygiene. It has no minuses and all plusses, I am ecstatic! I am also aware that my infatuation is delusional.
Sometime in the future I will, pooper-scooper in hand, be complaining bitterly about this one-sided relationship. I do all the hard work while my Hungarian master chortles at my servitude. And yet, I will persist in this injustice because I made a commitment when I invited this dog into my home. Even when the dog proves to be less than I had believed him to be, he will still be my dog. Pooper-scooper and all, we will do life together.
Why do we persist so valiantly with dogs and not with humans? Why do we stay the course with these furniture-eating, dirt-dragging animals only to cut and run from our own kind? Perhaps it’s because people sin against us more viciously than dogs do. But I believe there is a deeper reason too—our thoughts about relationships are just wrong. When we receive an animal we assume a responsibility, but when we begin a relationship we expect a return. Our roles in relationships are too often characterized as consumer and vendor. So when the vendor fails to provide a satisfactory product, we start shopping around.
Let’s give people the same consideration we show to dogs. After the infatuation has been eroded by yet another disappointment, persist. Correct, rebuke, encourage and keep loving one another. I know that people can do more damage than pets, but they can also accomplish much more good. People are worth the effort. Pooper-scooper and all, we do well to live life together.