Could dogs hold more virtue than us?

Copper, golden retriever

Copper, golden retriever

They lay across their bed in the corner of the room unassumingly waiting for something, anything really, a toy, a snack, a good scratching. They’re my dogs, Copper and Katie, they eat most things, carrots, potatoes, meat scraps, even butternut squash. But I would never consider them to be greedy creatures.

It’s unfortunate how dogs have been represented as food hungry, savage little things. Taking bones, stock piling them deep in a hole out back. Or stealing food right off the counter. It does happen from time to time, but they’re opportunistic feeders, can’t blame them. Unlike us humans who have a choice in our behavior.

There’s plenty of business people in our communities, going by many terms, real-estate moguls, tycoons, developers, but by any name, they’re always on the move. Snatching up this piece of land, developing a mega-mall here, or suburban strip there. Giving little thought to the land that they’re flipping, just seeing the potential for cash.

Katie, golden retriever

Katie, golden retriever

They may throw in a little park to say they’re giving back to the community. But what really motivates them is profit, greed.

Now what motivates Copper and Katie? They want to eat, or play, they want a scratching. I get it. A real estate developer has got to eat too.

When my dogs get to eat, play, or get some loving from me, I get something back. I see a sparkle in their eye, the love in their heart, and I  get a real sense of compassion for these guys, they’re family.

Howabout when a developer decides to play or eat? When their firm builds up a shopping center on an old patch of farmland. How am I connected to that? Do I feel a sense of compassion for the asphalt parking lot, the fast-food chain that sets in next door, or the increase in the amount of traffic and noise polution. No, we feel a connection to family, nature, the land, and each other.

When they call that shopping center “progress,” what’s that mean? The part-time employees making minimum wage minus benefits, the foreign made goods to be bought there, or what about the GMO food they sell at the center’s grocery store. That’s progress?

When Copper and Katie misbehave I try and tell or show them what went wrong. Sometimes, not often though, I do see a change in behavior from them. My actions cross the boundaries of interspecies communications, again, this is seldom, but nevertheless I can see an impact.

Unlike Copper and Katie you can’t motivate a firm through a dialogue, or show them what’s wrong. There’s no communicating, they’re focused on their plan and motivated by profit. There’s no understanding of the public’s best interest, because as we all know money talks. People can hold protests, pickets, and rallies, but there’s no stopping a money hungry development firm.

So what, then, are we to do? Well, we continue to go to rallies, pickets, and protests, we challenge plans and ideas that are not in the public’s best interest. And we hold on to faith, our spirit, our resolve.

Turning back to dogs, they’re funny, in that they have the ability to form an intensely strong bond. It’s a pack instinct, and it can be a bond with other dogs or humans. But it’s the strength in that bond we should study and we should harness – staying committed to our cause – to ourselves, to nature, and our community.

There’s always been a bunch of insults suggesting the social class of dogs. “I wouldn’t let my dog eat that,” for instance. Describing a dog as a lowly creature, quite the contrary, because, I’ve seen a dog do far more noble deeds than some humans.

Why do you think money trumps all? And what can we learn from the noble dog?


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