Attitudes toward Animals Matter

Question:
I’m concerned about the dog Dodo mentioned in your 2/10/17 column. “Dodo” can mean a stupid person, not one who might warrant respect.  Or someone who acts stupidly, as the dog in your column who walks in a circle with his head tilted. I think these people should rename their dog:  Sunshine, Sunny, or something that sounds like they care about him.

My neighbor had a sweet pit bull whose name was Dip Stick.  See what I mean?  How awful! I’ve noticed that whenever I’ve dwelled on something with feeling, by continually looking at a picture or by being apprehensive about something, I got the almost exact thing in real life. If you continually think of something with feeling, it happens.  I’m afraid that’s what these people are doing by their ridiculous name of their dog.

Dr. Nichol:
When I got your email my deadline was looming, I’d already answered the next question, and was about to hit “Send”. But I had to respond. Disrespect and derision can only lead in one direction.

We certainly do create our own destiny, starting with a thought. The good outcomes in my life, as well as the bad, has each started with a choice. The experiences of raising pets and a human family have also taught me that my choices affect more than just my own well-being. We influence the emotional states of those around us.

Our treatment of pets and our feelings about them have ramifications. They are not less worthy of respect than we are but we own them, leaving them few, if any choices. You and I can decide where we want to live, with whom, and whether we want to stay or go. I didn’t choose my name but I can change it. Dodo has none of these prerogatives. He’s stuck with the human attitudes that determine his existence.  He can only play the hand he is dealt.

Dodo’s family clearly loves him but I have to agree; they could have chosen a name that suggests kindness instead. Interestingly, it was the dodo bird’s inability to fly and their fearlessness of humans that made them easy prey and led to their extinction.

Our pets love us despite our shortcomings. They can be powerful teachers. I’m glad you wrote. Respect for others makes us better.