|Our two dogs, Tonks and Jackson last winter "conning" me into|
believing they were suffering so much in the snow that
I had to let them indoors for cookies and extended belly rubs.
For most of us, it didn't work.
I don't know if the columnist, Chris Reed, has a beef against dogs, but he did take pains to erase what he said are illusions us humans have about our canine friends.
Basically, he said Fido and all his canine friends are manipulative parasites. Reed said he grounded his argument in science.
The science Reed cited is probably sound. Maybe. The conclusions perhaps not so much. But even if he has a point, hoo-boy.
Here's Reed's premise, in his own words: "That's because the more the human-canine relationship is examined, the more its parasitic nature becomes obvious - and the more clingy and forlorn humans come to appear."
Reed heavily cited the science journalist Stephen Budiansky and his book called "The Truth About Dogs."
Budiansky wrote: "Instead of the notion that over the past 40,000 years, manking domesticated wolves into present-day dogs, Budiansky says evidence strongly suggests that 'proto-dogs' cultivated mankind, intuitively grasping that 'mooching off people' beat 'fighting it out in the wild.' Early humans 'with their campfires and garbage heaps and hunting practices, but above all their social interactions, represented an ecological niche ripe for exploitation."
Which led to this conclusion from Reed: "Dogs had a secret weapon in winning over humans: Human nature, specifically our near-compulsive anthropomorphism - our habit of attributing human behaviors, emotions or intentions to nonhuman entities."
"So is that love in your dog's eyes - or is that the look of a con man sizing up his mark? Science says it's the latter. Sorry, world," Reed concluded.
There's debate over whether Budiansky's research is great or bullshit. Of course, if us humans are being manipulated like this by dogs, we love it. The backlash against Reed and the San Diego Union Tribune was swift and unrelenting.
The most common question posed to the newspaper: "Was this written by a cat?"
Kayla Knapp tweeted:
"I actually read the article, just because. And the premise is ridiculous. It says our dogs are conning us into spoiling them. Like, okay? They still make me endlessly happy so who cares if they're 'using' us! OPEN INVITATION FOR EVERY DOG TO CON ME INTO LOVING IT."
The all caps are Kayla, not me. But I can't disagree with her argument. Neither can my dogs Jackson and Tonks. Who are conning me at this very moment.
I just don't feel like I'm a victim of any kind of con from my two pups.