“What do you think about dog shows?”
“I don’t know what they’re for?” she said. “The dog you love is the best dog there is, no matter what she, or he, looks like. I like a german shepherd with a floppy ear. I would pick that dog, over an ordinary one, with two ears up, since the floppy ear would give the dog character. It’s not a flaw. There are no flaws in the dog you love, or in any dog. Dogs aren’t for show, they’re for friendship and love.”
“You think so?” he said.
“Life doesn’t have to be so competitive that even our dogs and cats have to be better than someone else’s dog or cat. That’s just more mine’s better than yours, kind of thinking. And, let’s not forget the competition makes money and the winner makes a LOT of money, through breeding and everything else. Sometimes purebreds have more problems and health issues than mutts. I love german shepherds, but they have hip problems. It seems every breed has something. And think of all that constant grooming and practicing and all the commands and walking in circles and having some judge feel you up, and those people running next to you, pulling on your neck all the time.”
“I never thought of it that way.”
“How else could you think about it?”
“I don’t know, I just thought it was dogs in a ring.”
“Would you trade places with a show dog?” she asked.
“Cages, waiting, more grooming, and then more grooming after that, with your head often in a loop, so you can’t move and only one dog wins. It’s horrible and makes me feel bad. And don’t tell me the dogs get used to it and love it, because they never had a choice. It’s all they know. The puppies who aren’t show material are sold or given away, or sometimes killed, because they aren’t perfect and good enough, so they are worthless, since they don’t have what the BREEDERS want. Now, if I had my way the dogs would turn on the people and bite them, shake them, and make them run around the ring and the losers would get, well, let’s say, put out of their misery, since none of them are perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Take a look at them, sometime. They couldn’t win a single thing. The winner, the one person left alive, could wait on the dogs from then on, running in circles once a day, with a collar and leash, pulling his head up, being prodded, to stand up straighter, lift his legs higher, and remain silent, before he goes back into his cage. You know, all the stuff dogs are expected to do. I think there should be one rule for humans. Unless you want it done to you, then don’t DO IT to anyone else. The government and religion would dissolve instantly, everyone would become a vegetarian, and all the rapists and hateful people, the batterers, and icky people would be gone and then dogs could be dogs and women could walk freely and never be afraid.”
“I don’t think that will ever happen,” he said.
“Then men would be hung on meat hooks upside down and their blood drained and…”
“Okay, I get it,” he said, holding up his hands.
“Oh, you eat the cow, you just don’t want to know how it dies for you, is that it?”
“We were talking about dog shows.”
“I guess some of them eventually retire but by then their lives have been spent preparing for shows, being driven to shows and running in a ring.”
“I don’t think it’s that way for all of them. Some of them live normal lives.”
“The point is, why does one have to be better than the rest? Not everyone would agree with the judge. It’s like the olympics. People work out for their entire lives, every single day and then they have six minutes to do a routine that they’ve done ten million times but this time, they trip, or their hand slips, or one judge wants someone else to win, so he gives that person a lower score, just because he can, and all those years of work, just fall by the wayside. If people want to race and they can be timed, then the clock can tell the truth, but everything else is subjective. Perfection is subjective and highly overrated. Who decides what’s perfect? Some guy, or a group of people? What if no one agrees with them? Ordinary people set standards based on their prejudices and world views. Sure, they may be trained, but they’re trained to look for the subjective form of perfection that others decided perfection was. It’s just one more made up thing.”
“So you don’t want to go to the dog show with me?” he said, holding up two tickets.
He heard her laughing as she walked away.