This video has come up a lot lately, posted or referred to by people who think it’s hilarious.
I have an advantage over most people in that I had an extraordinary dog named Tito the Mighty Hunter, someone — and I deliberately say someONE and not someTHING — who managed to get it across to thick-headed me something of what goes on in dog heads. He did that by … well, I couldn’t begin to describe the process to you. But mainly he was just being himself, subtly encouraging me to stop TALKING AT him — which is what most of us constantly do with pets — and one day start LISTENING TO him.
What’s taking place in this video is bullying. The cats are bullying the dogs. And no, I’m not kidding.
And the people are letting it happen. Which means they, too, are bullies.
Picture any one of the dogs in this video as a two year old, and the cat as an older child threatening to hit him in the face if he tries to pass. Now imagine the dog’s owner as the parent, gleefully beckoning the kid past the bully, laughing at how funny it was that he was afraid to pass.
On a feeling level for the dog, THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING. It’s not funny. Not the least bit “cute.” It’s mean as hell, and the dog knows it. But his stupid owner is unable to read the dog’s VERY CLEAR expressions and body language.
Now add this into it: If the incident DID involve kids, any decent bystander would stop it, maybe even call Child Protective Services. But these animals have nobody like that in their corner. They’re stuck with people who think it’s funny, people who are not just willing to let it go on, but who WANT it to go on, so they can laugh at it, so they can film it to show to others.
Think about it: If the dog actually did defend himself, he really might face getting kicked out of his home. A 70-pound dog who bites a 12-pound cat? Which one is the bully? Gotta be the dog. Gotta get rid of that vicious dog. But it would be the owner’s fault, not the dog’s, for allowing the situation to take place, for egging it on and not doing anything about it.
Question: How many dogs get adopted by prospective owners who already know that this animal will attack and possibly kill other household pets? Answer: Zero.
Pets are not toys. They’re conscious beings with feelings at least as intense as ours. It disturbs me that so many people, even plenty of pet owners, are either unaware of this or willing to ignore it.