Thursday, August 31, 2006

Love Me, Love My Dog !

Gerontologists say that older people, especially those who are alone, live longer if they have a dog. They get more exercise. They have someone to care for, someone who loves them unconditionally. I guess that’s true. The gerontologists fail to mention they also become a little bit whacko .When I grew up I didn’t have a dog. I didn’t feel deprived since none of my friends had a dog, nor did my extended family, nor did anyone I knew have a dog. I would conjecture that in the Ultra Orthodox communities in Borough Park or Lakewood or Monsey no one has a dog. I don’t believe there is a rule in the Talmud prohibiting dogs. It’s just not a heimish thing to do.

It took quite a while before I began seeing Jewish people with dogs. By now it has turned into something of an epidemic. On JDate more than half the people have dogs. They say things like ‘Love me, love my dog’. I assume the sentence is a command, dominatrix style:” If you are going to love me, you MUST love my dog! “, and not a plea, ‘Please love me & please love my dog”. All of a sudden a binary relationship has turned into a triangle.

Cat people never say ‘Love me, love my cat!’ I assume that’s because cat people frequently have more than one cat, and the cats being the sort of animals they are, frequently don’t like each other. The owners end up acting like a parent in a house where sibling rivalry is rampant. The cats being catty, standoffish and selfish are not even the owner’s friend. As a result there is a limit what one can ask of a companion

What these dog lovers are announcing is that a potential mate who loves them, but for whatever reason can’t warm up to their dog, will be ruled out in advance; it’s a deal breaker. If you had loved their dog it would have been soul mates forever and forever, but now it’s a non starter, because they can’t stand to be someone who only loves them, but not their dog. I keep on asking myself “Why? What would have been so terrible if their companion loved them, but was indifferent to the dog? Would this indifference take away from the love their lover feels for them?”

It’s not just that the pet mirrors the owner. We know people tend to buy dogs that bear some vague resemblance to how they imagine their own look or their own character. Dogs and their masters over time begin to act in the same way. A frazzled, discombobulated owner ends up with a similar pet. A neat, organized, obsessive- compulsive type usually has a dog that sits when it’s told to sit. Nevertheless, if dogs were only a mirror, people would not be so attached. It also can’t simply be that the dogs and the master are twins. Twins, even identical twins don’t say ‘Love me, love my twin’. It must be, I see no way around this, that the dogs are part of the owner. Their sense of self has somehow merged with their pet, so they are now one. We have a situation where the dog has been incorporated into the owner’s self; to a point if you don’t like the dog you thereby don’t like the owner.

Jewish dogs, or rather Jews with dogs, give new meaning to a remark in the Talmud, I believe at the end of the Tractate Sotah. (I am not getting paid enough to look this up). The Talmud after saying that in pre-Messianic times chutzpah will be on the rise, a prophecy that has been confirmed many times, goes on to illustrate this by saying the faces of the generations before the advent of the Messiah will be like the faces of the dogs. It now all makes sense. In Genesis it says God created man in His image. Before the Messiah arrives there will be generations of Jews who feel their dogs are isomorphic to their own self-image.

Here is an actual JDate profile: “If it is true that a dog is "man’s” best friend, then I am going to try to aptly describe myself in those terms. Consider the following: 1/2 Golden Retriever-(devoted and loyal to family and friends; trustworthy, kind and easy going; warm, playful and fun; well-trained; classic with a twist.)1/4 Lap Dog-(likes to be at home reading, watching movies, listening to music, and yes, napping!)1/4 Unknown/Stray-(loves to travel and explore different cultures, neighborhoods, restaurants, galleries, etc.)”

I rest my case.

3 Comments:

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tikvah says "woof woof"

 
At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i liked that vort on pnei hador kfnei hakelev.

 
At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site, I am bookmarking it!Keep it up!
With the best regards!
David

 

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