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2018 is almost over, and with it will come the end of the year of the dog. Halle-freakin-lujah. These furry creatures already get enough attention without an official 365-day period of dedication. From the endless Instagram dog accounts to the bulldogs stopping traffic on the streets, they’re everywhere I turn. You will not catch me cooing every time a furry four-legged beast comes my way. Here’s the thing: I hate dogs.
Cue the inevitable cries of shock, disgust, and terror. “How can that be possible?” friends and strangers alike always ask me. “Are you even human?” they’ll ponder after watching me remain indifferent in the presence of a palm-sized pooch.
Supposedly, humanity rests in pet adoration. Those that are decidedly disinterested in four legged-friends are stigmatized outsiders. I’m tired of having to apologize for my opinions or mitigate the intensity of my feelings just to appease the puppy-crazed masses. No, I do not like dogs, and no, I am not a cold-blooded monster.
My disdain for dogs comes from how I grew up. My family attempted to adopt a Bernese Mountain Dog when I was eight. “Attempted” is the key word. Her name was Romy and she quickly became the family chore as opposed to the family friend. She required time and energy constantly. Quite frankly, we Gallardos are simply not pet people. It’s in our genes.
Instead of adoration, I felt excessive apathy. I didn’t care for Romy at all. Hearing her aggressive howl mid-morning to be taken outside for a walk didn’t exactly motivate me to feel love and affection. Standing outside in the freezing cold every morning with a doggie bag in my hand while awaiting some fresh, warm animal poo didn’t give me a rush of excitement that an owner might feel. Quite frankly, Romy needed way too much attention, which I simply did not have enough to give. I was — and am — in a state of my life in which I would rather interact with real humans than play fetch with furry neighbors at the dog park. Romy required way too much work, and she stripped me of my independence.
After owning her for two years, I realized the undeniable: Most dogs are dirty and smelly. You can literally smell when someone owns a furry creature. Maintenance of their hygiene requires time and money that I do not have. On top of that, dogs never leave you alone. Maybe it’s my inner introvert talking, but I don’t want to come home to a dog sticking its nose in my business and begging for attention. I want peace, quiet and solitude.
The thought of having to care for a creature that can’t even hold a conversation with me is not enticing. It is a colossal waste of my money and energy. This is where I feel like I need to make a promise: I swear I am not a cold-hearted freak. I just have different priorities than dog-lovers do. I think dogs are smelly, unclean, annoying and, ultimately, too much work. I shouldn’t have to apologize for this.
Puppy bait doesn’t work on me. The number of Tinder profiles I’ve come across with the cringe-inducing “That’s my dog” bios referencing dog-owner personality shots has made me realize even more emphatically how rare I am to not be interested in swiping right.
One time on a first date (after listening to 20 minutes of stories about his little Brewster’s obedience class updates), a guy got very serious with me as he whispered, “You just can’t trust a dog hater.” I sipped my drink with a smirk and quipped, “But what if they like doggy style?” He nearly choked. I didn’t see him again.
It’s not just potential romantic prospects that don’t trust someone who doesn’t like dogs. It seems like it’s everyone. Dog disdain is met with stigmatization and shock. A quick Google search on disliking dogs leads to a downward spiral into the inner workings of online forums where people opine with zero restraints under the disguise of an internet persona. One Quora member wrote that finding out someone he knows doesn’t like dogs “is a warning signal that something is wrong with this person, and I would avoid them.”
One of the things that makes humanity so beautiful is the difference in opinions and backgrounds amongst people everywhere. Do we not believe in diversity anymore? Dog haters are the rare group that isn’t encouraged to embrace its “difference.” Instead, the entire collective is deemed appalling.
This is entirely unfair and my indignation cannot be kept quiet. It appears that we live in a society in which our personalities and distastes are warning signs. Not a fan of chocolate? You’re inhuman. Dislike music? You’re insane. Don’t want a pet? Goodbye.
These judgments and denouncements are ridiculous, especially considering we are in an age that champions inclusion and acceptance. Inclusion isn’t applied to us canine condemners. We’re just “not human.” This can’t continue because our personal preferences are exactly that: personal. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, whether they stem from family traditions, personal experience or simply a developed feeling.
Don’t get me wrong; I get the appeal of dogs. They can be someone’s best friend. They fill an emotional void with genuine unconditional love. As companions, they’re loyal, obedient and kind. They can even help those with a medical impairment. I think that’s amazing and I respect it — from a very far, very necessary distance. This respect now needs to come from both ends. I’ll respect the woof if you respect my opinion.