Humans have been living with dogs for some 12,000 years, using them for hunting, protection, and friendship. Yet as both human and dog populations have grown, so too have the problems between the species. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator Julia King has discovered that with warmer temperatures, the furless and the furry often find themselves nose to snout in public places:
Humans have been living with dogs for some 12,000 years, using them for hunting, protection,
and friendship. Yet as both human and dog populations have grown, so too have the problems
between the species. Great Lakes Radio Consortium commentator, Julia King, has discovered
that with warmer temperatures, the furless and the furry often find themselves nose to snout in
Fifty-three million dogs live in the United States – more per capita than in any other country in
the world. One out of every three households here includes a canine companion.
Despite the fact that they drink out of toilets and roll in a wide range of things unspeakable, we let
them sit on our sofas, give us big slobbery kisses and ride in the front seats of our cars.
We like to think of our dogs as our better halves. And sometimes they are, with their wagging
bodies and their penchant for forgiveness. And because they forgive us our trespasses, we’re
inclined to do the same for them.
“Oh, don’t you worry,” said a gray-haired lady in the park recently. “My Rover wouldn’t hurt a
flea!” Meanwhile, her dog snarled at my left thigh. Eventually Rover grew bored of tormenting
me and I jogged (ever-so-gingerly) into the sunset unharmed.
But each year some four and a half million other Americans aren’t so lucky; that’s how many dog
bites are estimated annually in the U.S, according to canine aggression experts. Nearly 335,000
victims are admitted to emergency rooms each year. The insurance industry estimates more than
a billion dollars in dog-related liability claims annually.
Despite all the chew toys and rawhides we shower on them, dogs bite us. Not because they’re
bad, but because they’re dogs. They don’t know any of the good swear words. They can’t pound
their fists on the kitchen table, or throw plates when they’re really mad; instead, they have sharp
We should love our dogs. But loving them doesn’t mean expecting them to be human; it means
acknowledging that they’re not.
As the weather warms up so, too, does the likelihood that humans and dogs will “mix it up” out
on sunny sidewalks and in public parks. That means those of us with dogs have some added
Yes, yes… we know… Fido is a perfect dear, wouldn’t harm an ant. Just the same, please do us
all a favor and keep him on a leash.
(Bark!) Hey, ( Bark! Bark! Bark!) get back here!
Host tag: Julia King lives with a man, a kid, and a dog in Goshen, Indiana. She comes to us by
way of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.