KATIE ZERR: Do they wonder what we‘ve done?


Watching the Westminster Dog Show is like taking a short escape from reality. The beauty, strength, grace, attitude and personalities of man’s best friend are showcased at the annual “Super Bowl” for dogs.

Of course the animals in the arena seem a far cry from those that crawl onto our laps every night, but some of the traits seen on the screen are those displayed by our favorite companions. Certainly the perfectly coifed golden retrievers are cousins to those that roll in the nearest dead fish on the beach or return from chasing a rabbit so covered in sand burs we wonder if they will ever come out of the tangled fur.

The commentators drone on about each side story, mostly with amusing quips that are supposed to make the dogs seem just like the one banished to the kitchen yesterday for finding used tissues in the bathroom trash and tearing them to tiny bits.

The prancing, primped canines may be same breed as the one that rubs its dirty face on the carpet after a meal, but one wonders if they are ever really left to be just dogs.

It seems such a waste not to let the hunters hit the field or the herders bring in the sheep.  There is nothing more beautiful than watching the instinct of a working dog take over as it retrieves a fallen bird, or herds the kids back into the yard.

Man is a part of their world and of the animal kingdom. We are probably the single most destructive creatures in that world. Man has done many horrible things to this earth and the animals that roam it. We have hunted them into extinction for coats and jewelry made of their horns. We have wreaked havoc on their environment, pushing them farther and farther away from the land that has been their home for thousands of years.

We think we are so superior that we are allowed to take whatever we want without regard to what it means to the other animals that roam this earth. We do things no other animal would do because we are the superior thinkers of the animal world.

But are we really? Just because we have the brainpower to change the course of history does not mean that we use it for the betterment of mankind and planet earth the majority of the time.

What is it that makes man take the turn to the dark side?

Power and money.

In a pack, such as wolves and dogs, the instinct to survive is part of hierarchy. Those animals that are the combination of strength, intelligence, tenacity and leadership are more than likely going to be the alpha leaders.

They are not given that position because they have enough money to buy the other pack members off. They are not bought and paid for by the wealthiest of the pack to be the mouthpiece while their contributors slink around in the background, plotting against others in the pack that don’t share the same view of the world.

Packs are straightforward and work together to ensure the rest are warm, fed, and safe.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t ruthlessness among pack members. It means there is a reason for the need of that, be it the safety of the rest of the pack or the instinct to survive.

We can learn a lot by watching dogs working together, whether it is in the field or in the pasture. They learn that by working together, they can accomplish what we ask of them. Their strong instinctive drive is not encumbered by outside influences that care more for money and power for themselves than for the good of the many.

Next time your dog looks up at you with those expressive eyes, try to imagine what it is thinking (make no mistake, they are thinking.)

Is your pet expressing the adoration we hope to see there or is it looking at you wondering where the animal world went so wrong?


– Katie Zerr –


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