Any time a dog parades down the Main Green, looking so fluffy and happy and immediately wiping the concept of finals out of everyone’s minds, a strange sight emerges. Some people run up immediately, beginning to pet the dog. Others watch from a distance, staring, contorting their mouths into puppy dog lips and ‘awwww’-ing. Dogs clearly bring immense joy, but is the way in which we greet dogs, or dog-calling as I like to call it, problematic? Are we ignoring the wants and needs of pooches and their owners and treating doggies like a common good?? The horror!!
As a dog approaches, the dog-caller’s eyes lock on, continuing to stare with intent interest the entire time they pass by said dog. But maybe the doggo just wants to walk in peace! Do you think it likes being stared at? Do you like being stared at? I’m gonna guess not.
For owners, it’s as though someone is just aggressively checking out their significant other. Practice a little bit of the Golden Rule on this one, people—completely ignore dogs when you see them; it’s the only responsible action in this situation. And, if you really can’t avoid the urge to stare at that smushy doggo, just cover your eyes and don’t pull that classic family movie move:
The staring may begin at a distance, but as human and dog move closer, humans often start uttering the most obnoxious ‘awwww’s and ‘ooooo’s imaginable. Dogs have way better hearing than us and that noise is even annoying to people—imagine how insufferable it is for pups! But dogs are so well trained to appease us that they just stick their tongues out and crack a big ol’ fake smile.
This is the only true dog smile: If this is not the response a doggo is giving you, you’re forcing a polite faux smile.
Another ridiculous things us humans do to dogs is forced touching. We ask their owners if we can touch them, as though they have the end-all be-all sovereignty over their pooch!! And worse even, many people just pet doges without even asking anybody—particularly not the dog itself! I know I hate being touched without my permission (I’m calling you out @ every creepy dude who gets all touchy-feely on public transport—the train is empty! You don’t need to be that close to my butt!), so why should we think that dogs feel any differently? As far as I’m concerned, strangers coming up and affectionately scratching your head hasn’t become commonplace yet, so let’s bring that cultural standard back for dogs.
Overall, the only sensible response to seeing a dog is to remain put, completely avert your gaze, and continue to internally combust about finals. Good luck!