I could care less about dogs.

Gladys Gitau

I mentioned that I don’t like dogs, but it’s really nothing personal. The only reason I’m adamant about not liking dogs is because people nearly fainted when I said it, as if dogs died in masses as the words were leaving my mouth. As if I was inherently less human for thinking that. This is what I mean by white interest being perpetuated as universal ideals. Not everyone has to like dogs. Here are my reasons:

  1. It seems that Americans care more about animals than they do other people. I saw an ad for starving African children the other day, and as moved as I was by it, several moments later I saw a similar ad for abused animals. As much as abused animals need a good home and all, it seems to me like a parody of the African children, as if they both are so foreign and beyond humanity and can only be saved by us higher beings. Also, the juxtaposition between animals in America and starving children in foreign lands makes it seem as if America has solved all its human related issues. I know there starving kids in America, but I’ve never seen an ad about it.
  1.  I didn’t grow up with a pet so I never got to experience the love and tenderness I hear only a puppy or kitty can provide. I also grew up with cheap African parents which explains why I couldn’t have a pet even if I wanted to (“a dog is another baby” my mom always said). Back in Kenya, we kind of had a cat, but it did whatever it wanted. It used to leave the house for weeks at a time and just roam. When I saw it (I guess “his” name was Rojas) I said what’s up. I did me. Rojas did him. No one tried to own the other. Rojas could take care of himself. By the time I was four, I never saw Rojas again, and I accepted that. No posters needed. The next closest thing was my great-grandma’s guard dog that slept outside and watched her house. I guess in America that would be animal abuse, but in her defense, we lived on the equator and it was warm out. It wasn’t a pet, it served a purpose like the rest of the animals on the farm. If the dog slept inside the house, we would also have to allow the ducks, chickens, goats, and cows in as well, which brings me to my next point…
  1. People pout over dogs and cats, but no one cries injustice over the soul of a cow when they bite into a cheeseburger. If animals have rights, why do some have more rights than others? Do the more domesticated “civilized” animals get more rights?  I guess all animals were created equal but some are more equal than others.
  1. Americans have this weird obsession with owning other living things that they perceive to be lesser and more helpless than them. See the African example above and connect the dots.

Alright, before you think I’m heartless and fly home to hug your cat, I completely see the argument for animal rights. Animals cannot stand up for themselves like humans can. Humans who abuse animals are very likely to be psychopaths. I understand that pets can be great comforters in time of grief. I also understand that a nation that cares for its animals is a nation that is doing pretty well. Maybe as an African, I’m upset that Americans see African kids the same way the see animals, maybe even as lesser. Maybe I just don’t understand what’s like to have a dog to snuggle with because I’ve never had the luxury of having one. Maybe I think it’s ridiculous that there was a story in the Huffington Post this week about the passing of George Bush’s dog but nothing about the deaths of black youth in Chicago. In any case, I don’t hate dogs personally. Maybe one day when we all humans are doing well, we can all adopt from the pound, and might even get myself one. That’s a big maybe, though.