Animals

 

Jeff Masson's GREAT new book: The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving

huffingtonpost.com | Jeffrey Masson | 10/04/10

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In 1997 I wrote a New York Times bestseller called "Dogs Never Lie About Love." Yes, the title is a bit dorky, but it struck a nerve and sold over a million copies. Since then I have never stopped thinking about dogs and love. Some dogs just exude love the way teenagers exude defiance. Case in point is my dog, Benjy, the "hero" of my new book "The Dog Who Couldn't Stop Loving."

That's him all right. Colossal failure as a guide dog for the blind ("just doesn't want to work, but a real sweetheart"); and (just between you and me) not the brightest dog I have known. He couldn't figure out how to be a seizure alert dog in spite of a trainer who loved him to bits. He flunked the exam to be a therapy dog (visiting old people on a dementia unit), but the trainer took pity on him and let him pass.

But there is one trait in which Benjy excels: this dog knows nothing but loving. He can't help it. He loves other dogs, and every human he ever meets, and our pet rat, and all four of our cats, and birds he meets on the beach, and rabbits, and especially, most visibly and most emphatically, children. You can see that in the pictures. the-dog-who-couldnt-stop-loving.jpgDogs' faces are not as expressive as those of primates, including us. So sometimes he looks sad. But like all dogs, he has learned to express his pleasure in ways we cannot mistake. He rolls on the floor and lets his tongue hang out; he makes a great imitation of a human smile; his tail practically dents our floor; he gives mini howls of happiness. In short, he is: the dog who simply could not stop loving. That is why I felt impelled to write yet another book in praise of this dog, and of dogs in general, and to make yet one more attempt to get closer to the mystery of love, which seems to be embedded in the hearts of dogs.

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Are all the authors' pets including this one Vegan? I ask because it is impossible to ignore the hypocrisy of our speciest culture. That domesticated pets live decadent lives on the pain and death of so many billions is reprehensible. Daily I hear individuals declare their absolute love of animals and then sit down to a hamburger or steak. Unless and until we begin to face the stark truth and reality of domesticated pets, we will never make the progress we need to for those other voiceless animals who suffer as I write this. Across the board plant based culture must be achieved for all to live peace and harmony. All non-human animals are wonderful, adorable, precious and deserving of a chance at life. The worst thing we ever did as human animals was domesticate animals. The feral cat and dog populations are out of control everywhere in our country. Not to mention the fact, that people feeding feral animals attract the attention of bears and other wildlife who inevitably get shot to death for finding the food. Either way, they can't win, thanks to us.

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A well intentioned author with mainstream romanticized and idealized notions about human and sentient animal relationships. Dogs and cats are persecuted and suffer on the whole the most aberrant abuse at the hands of dog loving humans. Why? Because they continue to be human PROPERTY and they possess NO rights whatsoever. Their lives are regulated like all other domestic animals. The millions upon millions of dogs killed in shelters often are purebred, or purebred misfits, abused, abandoned, used to breed and dumped streets, dumpsters, worked in carnivals, sports events, used to hunt other innocent animals, circuses, left alone in back yards guard dogs, left with unsupervised children. Hollywood films profit regularly by the selling of fashionable dog of the year movies. Families run out and buy these dogs, only to learn dogs, especially, purebreds, have special needs and may not be suitable for their homes. Consequently, they are dumped in shelters to be killed as there are far fewer homes than unwanted dogs. Regarding dog breeding: these animals suffer more illness, disease and shorter life span as a result of the excessive inbreeding. The list goes on and on. In Rhode Island alone, efforts were made for the barbaric return of gas chambers to facilitate destroying these "personalities" that Masson's book describes. Over half of dogs killed in shelters have been pit bulls. Every day, someone somewhere is to blame for the suffering and death of every animal humans OWN. A book like Masson’s colludes with mainstream thinking on animal ownership as it places value on a dog's worth in direct relationship to their usefulness to humans as psychological therapy. Dogs, very likely evolved into this role out of necessity when they first realized that humans would provide food while they would provide a mutual benefit of protection to humans.
We define our love for dogs especially in how they serve or benefit us. This is self love, self centeredness, human arrogance, rather than LOVE for the being in his own right, following his wishes and needs.

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I totally agree with the 2 comments above. Very well stated! Animals teach us so much about unconditional love and if given the chance, will respond to love. I am talking about the ones people eat as well.

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