I just came across this CNN report about a man who killed his family pet, a dog, with the intention of eating him.
Generally considered a social taboo, eating “man’s best friend” is quite normal in other parts of the world. Muslims and Jews are forbidden to eat dog meat. Many people here in the States see dogs as inherently emotional and near-human. It’s so deep, in fact, that there are people here who are more tolerant and loving of their dogs than of other human beings.
The other day, I walked passed my local dog run in Inwood Park (were segregation is alive and kicking!), and happened upon a pretty loud screaming match between a Dominican lady and a white man. The dog run and baseball field are very close to each other in the park and it’s inevitable that a baseball or two land, mistakenly, into the canine Shangri-La. And so it happened on this sunny, beautiful day in the neighborhood. A ball landed and thankfully, no dogs were injured. However, a few people’s egos were. An older Dominican lady approached the fence and asked for the ball back. I think her teenaged son or grandson was part of the team of boys drilling on the adjacent field. The dog owner, almost foaming at the mouth and full of rage passed the ball to another woman who I think tucked it in her fanny pack and literally ran to the other side of the dog run. So the Dominican woman, in broken English, said, “It was a mistake…Oh, fo’get da ball. ¡Carajo!” She walked away. I thought it was over.
But, no. This very tall white man with long goldy-locks and a cowboy hat (I’m not shitting you) rushes the fence and starts to scream at the much smaller and older Dominican lady. She called him an “asshole.” He responded, “Yes, I am an asshole” as if it were a badge of honor. A verbal fight ensued. And The Man demanded to speak to the baseball coach, who was trying hard to maintain his composure. The coach, also an older man, said, “You should no talk to older lady like that, man. Have a respect, man.” The baseball players, all in their teens, were getting angrier. And the older woman, who was talked too like she was worthless by this large animal lover, turned to face her compadre and said, “Mira, ese hombre es un loco. Dey sink dey own da park.” I got it. The subtext in this 10 minute exchange spoke volumes.
I began to watch the dogs, who were running and playing with one another in harmony. Black dogs, white dogs, and my favorite chocolate labradors, were playing peacefully. They wrestled with toys and drank water together. They sniffed one another, ran laps around the run, and enjoyed themselves. Their owners, on the other hand, acted like animals. And as I walked passed the dog run, my love for dogs grew deeper. “Why can’t we be more like them,” I thought to myself?