Have you ever speculated about the symbiotic relationship between dogs and their “owners”? I put owners in quotes because I am very suspicious about the actual relationship and I see the term “owners” as a product of rampant species-ism. This is because we humans can write and dogs can’t … or won’t.
I know on the surface of appearances that it is clear that humans own dogs. We put a collar around their necks, attach a leash to it and then require the dog to go with us whenever we want to go out. But let us examine this relationship a little more closely.
Have you noticed, for example, that outside of the home the dog gets to urinate and defecate pretty well anywhere, then the other party to this relationship cleans up the mess, depositing dog poop into a little bag and carting it away for sanitary disposal? Is this the attribute of an owner or of a devoted servant, and a rather low-level one, at that?
Other examples: Dogs get groomed endlessly by the humans they live with. In every other species, grooming is done by the subservient animal to the dominant one. Why do we think that we are different? Dogs get fed by humans. The human creates the meal, then puts it in front of the dog for its enjoyment. In human to human relationships, the one serving the meal is the subservient member of the group, the one being fed is the dominant one.
So why do we think that we “own” dogs? Isn’t it more accurate to say that they own us?