Honey is such a good girl.
Does that make her a bad subject for a blog?
Stop Making My Head Hurt
A blogger I’ve adored for over six years said something interesting in a discussion last week.
“Well let’s face it! Well behaved dogs don’t make for good blogs.”
And I’ve thought about it ever since. Thanks for making my head hurt.
It’s true that mischievous antics, while messy and troubling at the time, result in amusing anecdotes. Heck, they result in bestsellers. And movie deals.
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Would anyone read a book about a charming Labrador retriever who came home with a family, fit in perfectly, and never chewed through a door or jumped out of a car window?
It’s true that I’ve followed many blogs that were compelling because the writer was facing a training challenge, trying to solve a medical mystery, or because the dog had a scrappy personality that could not be constrained.
But those blogs had more—good writing that drew me in, the ability to make me care about their struggles. And a goofy picture of a dog hanging from the top of a six-foot stockade fence (true story) didn’t hurt either.
So it’s not as simple as “bad” dog equals “good” blog.
And if that’s true, maybe we people who are lucky enough to live with easy dogs can tell a good story or two without racking up thousands in vet bills or tearing our hair out trying to help a dog who struggles to fit in this world.
What Every Good Story Needs
It’s true that so-called bad dogs (like the polarizing A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life) or dogs in bad circumstances (The Incredible Journey) make good stories.
But I’d argue that what makes a good story is a challenge.
And whether our dogs are highly stressed or happy-go-lucky, we’re all facing the exact same challenge: how do you communicate with someone who shares your life intimately but who doesn’t speak English?
And if you think the word “intimate” is too weird to use for dog, reflect on the fact that people can live with a spouse for decades without ever sharing a bathroom. But few of us can claim to have ever used a toilet without a pet for company.
I don’t have stories about Honey that I had with earlier dogs.
Honey has never amused my guests with Agatha and Christie’s most embarrassing (and slightly obscene) behavior.
And I’ve never come back bleeding from a walk, like I did with my last dog, Shadow.
But every day I have the same challenge with Honey that I had with my earlier goofy and reactive dogs. And that’s how to give her the best life that fulfills her physical and emotional needs.
So maybe it’s not that “bad” dogs lead to good blogs. Because every dog has a story.
Even a good dog.
Your Turn: Do you agree that “bad” dogs make better stories? Do any of you folks with easy dogs find them boring?