Last week I had the pleasure of visiting with a good friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while. (I’ll call him “Joe” for now). Joe and I grew up as neighborhood kids together. He of all people knew how badly I wanted a dog all my life since we were kids, so when he met Jack my first ever dog, I anticipated the meet would be special for the both of us, or so I thought… Up until then, Joe had only seen photos of Jack online, so it was nice for him to see my pride and joy in all his physical presence and glory. That being said, while I was thrilled to catch up with Joe, my blast from the past, I’d also like to add his ignorance and confusion about animal affection inspired me to blog this post about affection and communication with my Fido, not to be confused with “bestiality”.
Joe was not really a dog person to begin with growing up (or much of an animal person for that matter) so I forgave him for his difficulty in understanding the various steps in relating and knowing how to communicate with animals. The day he stopped by our home, at one point he was subject to seeing me comfortably laying on the floor on my back while Jack was lay on my stomach facing forward (very similar to this image above of a man laying down with what appears to be a kangaroo?.. hehe). Joe looked at me with a concerned look at his face while we chatted it up and I multi-tasked holding Jack on his back in my arms. To me, this physical position for both Jack and I was a form of communication which I have been working hard to establish the past two years.
What took me back was when Joe said the following statement: “Tania, it’s kind of strange how physical you are with that dog… No offense but it looks like bestiality”. While I understand that naturally not all humans are used to seeing this type of bond between parent and pet, one thing I knew for sure was that my relationship with my dog Jack was far from bestiality. Right then I realized how far gone Joe’s ridiculous statement really sounded. I mean come on bestiality… Jesus, really?? For those of you have never heard the term bestiality, according to Urban Dictionary it means the following: Sexual intercourse involving a human and a lower animal or also referred to as “inter-species erotica”. The art of performing a sexual act with a member of another species. While its ironic my blog is called Barking BEAST, my affection for my dog Jack is anything but bestiality. I am not some sicko not running a Barking Beast-iality.com over here, my God!
After a long discussion explaining to Joe why I choose to be physically affectionate to my dog Jack the way I do, I was able to forgive the schmuck for saying his thoughtless statement. After all hey, not all of us are as blessed to understand animals and other higher forms of love and affection. Later on though, I began to wonder if there are others in the community as affectionate with their dogs as I am with mine?
Ever since I became a dog owner, I believed accepting your dog’s affection lovingly as opposed to shooing or pushing them aways spoke incredible volumes. People always ask me how my Jack turned out to have such a wonderful disposition. While a lot of is has to do with me socializing him well, I’m sure it’s also a result of the physical and verbal affection I communicate toward him.
I believe dogs learn a lot when you hold them and talk to them. You can develop your own language and share an intimate understanding of your companionship. Showing physical affection and compassion for your dog is an essential form of communication and strengthens the relationship between parent and pet.
Dogs just want to be loved. A scratch on the tummy, a massage, a hug a kiss on the face is all part of exercising your communication abilities with your dog. Dogs can’t talk other than understanding certain commands and associating certain emotions based on the tone of voice we use with them… For the most part physical affection and body language is how they understand their owner and the world they live in…. Time and affection spent with your dog is a major sign to the dog of your commitment. Call it “bestiality” or what have you, but at the end of the day, owners who showcase high levels of physical affection toward their dogs are the ones who will turn out with pets who will have low anxiety and high confidence with calm disposition levels like my Jack.
Below is a video of me being physically affectionate with my old dog Pivot back in 2007… Once upon a time I was a co-owner of a dog who is the spitting image of my Jacky. In fact, the reason why I fell in love with Jack when I first saw him at the shelter was because he reminded me so much of Pivot: a dark Shepherd lab mix I spent everyday with until the day of the break up with my former boyfriend who now has full custody of him today. This video showcases the type of the physical affection I share with my animals, my “children”. Is it “bestiality” or true love?? You decide ….
Here are some more photos of me and Pivot. He looks very similar to my Jack, only Jack doesn’t have a white patch of on his front chest.