Horizon at Sandy Point

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dog politics

Man rat. Man crab. You know the saying: two man rat cyah live in the same hole. Applies equally to man and to rat. It applies to dogs too.

Two dogs - the older almost 13 and half blind; the younger a bigger breed but the personality of a teddy bear - have been sniping at each other for months. Growls, scuffles, spats. The last confrontation was a bitter battle. The aggressor - according to the on-line vet - goes for the legs, the neck, the throat. The defender grabs at whatever he can, ears, back, fur, seeking to inflict a hurt and loosen the aggressor's grip. Defender becomes aggressor with the slightest advantage. It seems impossible to part fighting dogs until they tire or one limps away whimpering with pain.

In this current conflict, it is the veteran - who has been hit by speeding cars, had his ear shredded by a pitbull, dognapped for nine days - who has inflicted most damage. This dog is fearless and attacks anything - he smells a pompek and thinks it's a pitbull and vice versa. Blood is dripping from a puncture behind his ear but he seems to be grinning.

The teddy bear is limping and growling with the pain of his swollen joint. The teeth marks are deep. He is learning a hard lesson about knowing your place in the world. He who would be cuddled and petted is learning the price in the dog pack for being favoured in the human pack.  He is learning defensive aggressive behaviours. Snarls, bared teeth and mean stares are directed to the other. From opposite corners of the yard, they glare and lunge in the direction of the other.

What to do? How to separate these warring factions? Schemes for new fences and gates are devised. Send one away to live somewhere else? Neuter them to reduce testosterone (the male hormone) and aggressive behaviour?

The biggest issue in applying the "final solution" is human male squeamishness about interfering with a male's crown jewels. Women so easily have their ovaries and wombs removed for health reasons: you don't need them past a certain age we are told. But men want virility all their lives! And so it is with dogs, mirrors of human machismo. The bitches were neutered long ago. Hopefully, the neutered males will also retain their personalities without the testosterone aggression.

Could we apply the "final solution" to also root out human aggression, territorialism? We might realise that the differences between ovary and testes are just that. We might learn to love without being constrained to reproducing pairs - the world population is already over seven billion! (Remember when the taboo was inter-racial?) Will "human rights" allow us any volunteers?

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