SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

March 8, 2013

Why do people talk about their dogs like people?

Q: I have an acquaintance I see from time to time. Whenever we bump into one another, she launches right into the latest medical trials of Louie. For the longest time, I had no clue as to Louie’s identity. I thought he was her husband because she kept talking of “elderly Louie’s liver problems.” Finally, when I ran into her a few weeks ago, she told me about Louie’s doctor finding a nasal passage tumor and an age-related heart murmur. She finally referred to Louie’s doctor as a “vet,” so I figured out Louie is her dog. Why must people talk about their dogs like people?

A: Even if Louie were her husband and not her dog, she would not make any distinction. There are unfiltered people who launch into personal conversation as if the listener knows all the players intimately. Your acquaintance is guilty of this.

To her and many others, dogs are people. And she obviously treats Louie with all the care and concern of a human relation. Nothing wrong with it except if she treats Louie’s medical problems and ignores a human family member’s health concerns. Then, it’s nutty.

By the way, her scrupulous veterinarian is pretty amazing to conduct checkups that can reveal nasal passage tumors and age-related heart murmurs in an elderly dog. Dog Lady adores her darling senior terrier, but she’s not sure darling (or Dog Lady) could endure this kind of rigorous medical detection.

Q: My partner recently moved in with me. My Shih Tzu, Chloe, who has been with me for about two years, loves him. We recently added a Rottweiler, Boscoe, to our home. The dogs get along well, especially Boscoe who is quiet, patient and tolerant. Chloe goes her way, and he goes his.

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