Love me, forget about the dog

| Forum Editor

(Kate Oberg | Student Life)

I do not like dogs.

They slobber, they drool, they shed, and they always manage to jump on me at the worst possible times. They also aren’t really that cute.

Yes, I am aware that this makes me a soulless human being. I know that you dog lovers think these foul creatures are man’s best friend, and I understand that you have this annoying “Love me, love my dog” mentality. I recognize that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals exists solely to protest the animal-hating likes of me.

Believe me, I get it. I come from a long line of irritating dog lovers. I am the black sheep in a family that will always side with the sheep-herding canine. They laugh when our two 90-pound mutts block my way into the kitchen or insist on infecting my newly dressed self with slobber and hair every morning. (Worse, we have one black dog and one white dog, and they both shed. No article of clothing is safe.)

So I understand that I am part of a despised minority here. But really, I think you dog lovers are being unfair.

I am entitled to my own likes and dislikes, and I really don’t believe I am made worse by any of them. My hatred of dogs does not make me a horrible person any more than your preference for green M&Ms makes you irrational or your aversion to chocolate cake makes you puritanical. I certainly do not understand these particular preferences, but I don’t view them as negative reflections on your character.

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Let me pause for a moment. The obvious direction for this column is to remind you that we should respect differences and not use one another’s diverse tastes and traits as ultimate definitions of character. You know, little kids holding hands on a mountaintop, etc.

But that would be obvious. A brightly colored poster designed for elementary school kids could convey the same message.

So back to the dogs. What you do not know about my evil dog-hating ways is that I have a small scar on my chin, barely visible but raised. I acquired it three years ago when a strange dog lunged at my face and decided he was hungry. One emergency room visit and several police photos later, I was no longer a dog person.

Being sensitive to differences is not just about accepting the obvious. It means being aware of what might be under the surface and the false assumptions we might be making.

This column is not really about the pro-dog teasing from the Lassie crowd. After all, our two dogs are the ones still living at home with my parents—if I’m going to malign their beloved pets, I probably deserve some mockery in exchange. Yet while my dislike of dogs may be a humorous footnote to my life, it is a stand-in for the very real instances in which we judge or joke without knowing the full story.

It happens when we throw around the phrase “That’s so gay” without knowing who might be listening or when we assume everyone here can afford to spend as much money as much as we can. It happens many times, in small, subtle ways, and usually we never notice.

We pride ourselves on being a pretty-tolerant community, and I think our intentions are generally good. After all, intentions are easy. We learned those in elementary school. Putting more thought into our daily words and actions is a lot harder.

But, hey, this is college. We can do better.

Eve is a junior in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at elsambor@wustl.edu.