The other day, as I was walking past a shop, I saw a sign for a store-- I forget exactly what it said, something like "Closed Monday" or "No Checks"-- and there was a bull-dog's face on the sign. Not a pit bull but a French Bulldog. Now, I had just finished handing out flyers at the Pet Parade, so I was particularly aware of dogs, but I realized that the sign meant many things to many people. Not what the sign said, but what the dog on the sign represented. Some people may have seen the dog and thought it cute. Other's may have harkened back to the Winston Churchill sort of bulldog, vigilant, brave and fair. To a few, the dog's face seemed stern. What I realized is that dogs are used so often in advertising, signs, symbols, etc. because they are not only fun to look at, but because we relate in our own way to them.
PBS ran a show locally last night about the meaning of dogs and cats in our lives. They mean many things to many people. Some folks are rescued by dogs while others are rescuers. The show tried to explain why we love our animals.
The loyalty, friendship, and unconditional love our dogs give us help us to perceive these animals in such a positive way, they are used constantly to gain our approval. Whether it is the talking chihuahua in the Taco Bell ads, the "Trouble Dog" for the insurance company-- is it an insurance company?-- or the random canine thrown into an ad, dogs are not only symbols, but good business.
What other animal performs so many functions, not only as a pet, but as a rescuer, either in reality as in the case of dogs who search out victims of disasters, or as supporters in times of mental stress? What other animal can herd, help the disabled, or act as a sentry?
We look at a dog, and see what we want to see, or need to see. Now I am not the religious sort, but God got it right when he made dogs. Bless them.
Got a dog joke? Here's one that is courtesy of my wife's dad.
"My dog plays poker but he's not very good at it."
"Because every time he gets a good hand he wags his tail."