This photo was taken by Bain News Service in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1910.
I was watching the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics, and they showed Queen Elizabeth’s Corgis. They’re super cute, and were following her around just like Maggie and Zoe would with me. That’s when an insight occurred to me that I hadn’t ever thought of before:
Dogs don’t care who you are.
It’s because we genetically engineered them that way, I know. Back in the murky history of when humans and dogs got together, we rewarded loyalty and devotion with perks like “treats” and “not getting killed.” That’s why I get involved in animal rescue: we created dogs to be our unconditional best friends. We ought to return the favor.
But dogs don’t care whether you’re a reigning monarch or you’re homeless. They think you’re pretty awesome, and will stick with you. It was back during the Olympics that I thought of the “queen/homeless person” comparison.
Look at this photo, though. Puppy and man, taken around 1910, now on file at the Library of Congress. They’re both long dead now, but for that moment, they were staying warm and keeping each other company. The puppy has a doggy “smile” in the top photo.
Hey, he’s out in the fresh air, watching people go by, sitting by his master’s side. What else could a dog want? He has a little tin cup around his neck–maybe his job was to do tricks for passersby and beg them for coins. Most dogs love meeting strangers and extending a paw to them. Best day ever.
People get all caught up in status and money and belongings and our position in society. For a dog, any day where you have a person to call your own, a warm place to sleep, and a full stomach is the best day ever. Even if the next day is a terrible one.