Unlike some people, I don’t believe dog lovers are more honest, loving, or intelligent. We’re just as screwed up as everyone else.
But there’s something special about people who love dogs. What is it?
Loving People Who Love Stuff
If you want to see me truly happy, sit me down in front of an enthusiast.
There are few things I love more than people who deeply love and appreciate something, practically anything—synagogue architecture, building models, comic books, Celtic music, NASCAR racing.
When someone talks about what they love, their eyes light up with joy.
I’ve known people with autism spectrum disorders whose greatest point of connection with other people comes when they talk about their obsessions.
And my husband can’t believe how much I adore John Waters for his many quirky interests, from true crime stories to Chesty Morgan. There’s no one more enthusiastic about his passions than Mr. Waters. He’s the king of enthusiasts.
So maybe I love dog lovers because they’re enthusiasts? Nah, I think it’s something more.
Loving People Who Do Hard Things
There are lots of people obsessed with Game of Thrones or Scandal. But hearing folks talk about television doesn’t hold my interest long.
Television and movies are fun. But it doesn’t take much effort to enjoy them. You flip a switch or buy a ticket and sit passively for an hour or two.
The real fun comes in talking about it later with your friends.
But people who climb mountains or sail across oceans fascinate me. So do people who spend hours making tiny stitches on fabric patches. And folks who spend an hour just preparing the rice to lay under sushi.
Really great interests take an effort.
And there’s no denying that having a dog takes work—feeding, walking, training, and more.
So maybe I love dog lovers because dogs are hard to care for? Or is there something else?
Loving People Who Love Dogs
Nineteenth century synagogues are beautiful. But they don’t love you back.
And it’s hard to climb a mountain. But the mountain doesn’t care if you climb it or not. It will be easy or hard based on weather, a climber’s skill, and just dumb luck.
Dogs are one enthusiasm that can love the enthusiast back. And whether they’re easy or hard to care for at any moment depends on the independent mind of the dog herself.
My golden retriever is definitely an “easy” dog. But she has a mind of her own. And if she decides she’s hungry a half hour before breakfast, she’ll bark to let me know.
She’s not just an object I can admire and obsess on. She’s a living creature with a mind and heart of her own.
Based on these reasons, it’s not just dog lovers I adore. You could say similar things about horses and cats and birds and other animals we closely share our lives with.
I do love me a crazy cat lady. They’re awesome.
But what makes dog lovers different is that I am one too.
When I see someone clicker training their dog on a walk, I know I’ve met someone from my tribe. Those other folks who spontaneously say “dog” when they spot one are my twin sisters from another mister.
And cuckoo people who like writing about, reading about, and taking pictures of dogs feel like old friends no matter what country they live in or who they vote for.
In truth, I’ve made great friends who are very different from me because of a shared love of dogs. Because love opens our hearts. And expands the room we have to love others.
Because who’s better at teaching about love than a dog?
Your Turn: Do you find dog lovers more appealing than other people? Why do you think that is?