Oh my Dog

What do you call a world without dogs? A Cat- astrophe! Ha! Ha! I love this joke and laugh every time. Until I think about it and then it’s not so funny. Imagine a world full of cat owners? They can be so … catty! Double Ha! Ha!

Fellow Toastmasters and honored guests, yes, it’s a VALENTINE TRIBUTE TO OUR POOCHES! So, if you’re a cat lover you might want to stop reading and go work on your self-esteem, because as sure as heck your kitty ain’t gonna give it to you. It’s a well-known fact a cat’s main mission in life is to erode your self-worth with floods of rejection.

It’s no joke. Last year a study found that dogs’ eyes evolved to appeal to humans. Another study (mine) revealed cats’ eyes evolved to … judge you. And always find you wanting. Now I’ve been rejected by many people, the last thing I need is to be shunned by an animal.

That’s why I love dogs! Dogs are life’s answer to my lack of self-esteem. Forget stupid advice about ‘having a positive attitude’ or ‘focusing on your achievements’. Sounds like a lot of work for one futile, pointless lifetime.

In contrast, a dog will INSTANTLY make you feel like you are the SUPER-SPECIAL-MOST-IMPORTANT-HUMAN-BEING-IN-THE-UNIVERSE. No ifs, no buts and I don’t even have to ‘embrace my inner love’ or any of that idiotic malarkey. Just dangle the keys in front of your pooch and it turns into American Cheerleader:

TWO! FOUR! SIX! EIGHT! 

WHO DO WE APPRECIATE?

THE HUMAN! THE HUMAN! YEAH! THE HUMAN!

Cats on the other hand (no offence to my Gallic cousins), cats are French.  Show them the keys and they look at you as if to say, ‘I’ll show myself out. It’s called a cat flap you imbecile’.

Now I come from a long line of dog lovers. Ever heard of ‘White Privilege’? Well, that’s dog poo compared to my family’s practice of ‘Dog Privilege’. For example, last Christmas my Dad’s Labrador got a silver-plated collar. Me? I got a shower gel. 

It doesn’t stop there. As Catholics we pray to St. Rocco, the Patron Saint of Dogs, ‘Bless our dogs and deliver us from temptation of ever having a cat’. Ever heard of a patron saint for cats? No. Because cats aren’t Catholic. They have all these lives? We suspect they might be Buddhists.  

Before you judge me as a ‘catist’, someone who believes a particular animal species (dogs) is superior to another (cats), let me tell you about my dog Maki.

Maki is a wise and wonderful ‘Water Dog’, a breed affectionately known as ‘The King of Dreadlocks’. Water Dogs became popular in the Obama administration, as the official ‘White House Dog’. It made history as the first democratically elected Rastafari!

Dog-whistle politics aside, Water dogs need a lot of space. The White House Lawn is perfect, my tiny flat in London is not. My Mum comes over from Spain, looks at the space, looks at the dog, raises her eyebrows as only Madrid mothers can, and says (OK, shouts), ‘That dog is suffering! It belongs in the ‘caserio’ (a big farmhouse). I’m taking the dog back!’ I protest, ‘You can’t do that! It’s MY dog, MY life, MY decision!’

Never disagree with a Spanish mother. It’s like when I tried to argue with the Toastmasters judges about not placing in the contest. Their look of contempt was a direct order to: ‘DROP IT’. 

So, the dog’s back in Spain. But he’s happy! Herding, hunting and enjoying life. Because dogs need to work. Hence the phrase ‘working dog’. Ever heard of a WORKING CAT? No. They’re French. They are permanently on strike.

Finally, almost 8 years into the Brexit-dog-poo-process… I might be barking up the wrong tree but don’t you think the results would have been different if the referendum had included dogs?

Imagine if they said, ‘German shepherds, French Poodles, Spanish Mastiffs – they all have to go back to where they came from!’

Even the most die-hard Brexiteer would have changed their mind and voted for the more compassionate doggy command: ‘STAY’.

Cat people still reading this?  Time to get a dog.  

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Sonia Aste is a Harvard MBA, Engineer, Meng, and a Toastmaster at Riverside Communicators Club.  More from her on websiteTwitterFacebookInstagram.

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