I have some important dog information to share with you, and I know it is 100 percent true, because my dog told it all to me. According to my dog, there is a problem between dogs and humans today, and the problem is this: humans have forgotten what a dog is.
I know, this seems crazy. How could we have forgotten what a dog is? I mean, I feed my dog human food, sleep with my dog in my human bed and dress my dog in a T-Rex costume. That is how I know what my dog is: a tiny, adorable T-Rex.
Wait, I mean, not a human. A dog is not a human, of course! A dog is better than a human. For one thing, a dog’s purpose, or even a dog’s journey, is not just to make money. I know because I have seen each of those movies seven times.
Now, my dog told me that dogs are working on solutions for this issue. First and foremost, dogs want a rebranding. Dogs are tired of being thought of as dull-witted, mess-making slobs. They want to be seen as smart, clean and organized. In short, they want to seem more like cats, but without being more like cats, because we all know (my dog says this, it is not me) cats are idiots.
To achieve this, my dog says, dogs really want to try the most popular rebranding technique, which is a name change. As part of that, they really want humans to stop calling them human names because that just makes humans even more confused about what a dog is. Humans are already very confused. So very confused, bless their hearts, my dog added.
I love my fellow man as much as the next dog, but I can back my dog up on the fact that human/dog boundaries can be a bit unclear. For example, I know for myself that when my dog puts on her skinny jeans so we can go and ride our skateboards and also do a photo shoot (because my dog is an influencer with several lucrative advertising deals), I sometimes forget my dog is my dog and not a cash cow whose purpose is to pad my retirement fund — or at the very least, increase my prestige. Just like my adorable children.
My dog thinks, in fact, humans are not only confused about what dogs are, they are confused about what humans are, too. Thankfully, my dog says, dogs know very well what humans are: unfortunate, hairless dogs who bark weird, run bizarrely and are obviously scared to death. This is why dogs are always trying to give humans emotional support, my dog added, because humans are clearly so terrified. It is like they are afraid to live. What is a human’s purpose, anyway, my dog asked me plaintively, if not to enjoy the best life has to offer? Yet humans act like poop is not even worth tasting!
In response to this, I gave my dog a treat and rubbed her tummy and told her humans have a lot of stress, and that is why they love to take out their devices and watch little movies of cats being cute while knocking things over. This just about made my dog cry, so I reminded her of a dog’s purpose, which is to rebrand. She pulled herself together and told me specifically how dogs are planning to do this: by renaming themselves after office supplies.
Dogs got together, my dog explained, and made some decisions about their names. Take Charlie and Bella, she said, two of the most popular dog names of last year. From now on, Charlie will only answer to “Mousepad,” while Bella will be known as “Hand Sanitizer.” A dog named anything else — e.g., Fluffy, Sweetie or Henry — will be “Laser Printer,” “Toner Cartridge” or “24-Pack of Paper Towels.”
Humans could then help dogs further, my dog informed me, by taking a minute each day to put themselves in their dog’s shoes, (Dogs hate their shoes, by the way, she added). Here are some things to remember when you do that: A dog’s primary sense is smell, followed by hearing and then sight. Compared with you, your dog actually does not see very well. She is missing a whole range of colors — from green to red — and according to the American Kennel Club, she not only sees the world as less bright than you, she also has less visual acuity than you do.
This is why, no matter how many movies a dog stars in, she is always going to see the world more like a character in a Dickens novel, and not just because she is always begging for more food. It is because she sees about as clearly as someone walking around London at dusk, in the fog. And because her sense of smell is so much more developed than yours or mine, it is likely she smells the world like it is the summer of 1858, when Dickens was indeed alive, and when the Thames was overflowing with human waste, in a period now known as the “Great Stink.”
Yet, despite these major dog/human differences, my dog sighed, humans continue to behave in ways that support the belief that dogs are just like them. They dress their dogs in little sweaters, push them around in baby strollers and fill their homes with bizarre dog totems, like wine bottle holders that make dogs look like drunkards, when it is humans who are drunkards, my dog complained. And also, cats.
If that were not enough, my dog added, humans also make movies about dogs’ lives that are voiced by human actors speaking human words about what seems like every human’s dog fantasy, namely, that dogs love them wholly and forever, like perfect, furry parents — that is, if parents were beings that humans could easily overpower and put in a crate if they had to, which, frankly, may just increase the fantasy for some.
Of course, my dog does love me like a perfect, furry parent. But I am sure she is the only one who does that. The rest of you are probably just saddled with regular dogs, which is to say sweet, adorable mammals who have been known to eat dirty socks, garbage, and, on occasion, their own sickly newborns.
That is why the best dog name may not even be any word at all. The best way to call your dog, to show her you really understand where she is coming from, is if you could somehow appeal to her strongest sense — smell — by trumpeting a powerful scent from your body, say from somewhere near your lower extremity. If only you could do this, your dog would be sure to respond.
Personally, I have never heard of such a thing before, but my dog assures me this is possible.
The whole mixed-up situation, my dog confided at last, was really making her anxious. She told me what she thought would really help: if she could get a pet. If she could have another living thing that is totally unlike her, that she could name and tame and dress up, that would make everything better.
I suggested she get a cat, but my dog gave me a withering look and reminded me: Cats are drunken idiots.
Maybe a fish, she mused. They are so soft and cuddly.
I asked her what she would name her fish.
“Bella,” she sighed, dreamily.