September 08, 2023
Getting a dog
Today we are setting out to achieve the unprecedented. We will try to find the fun in fundamental animal rights not to be mistreated. There it is.
This is a touchy subject, hence the royal we. Creating some distance with the author, whose views I don't necessarily endorse.
In the Philosophy post, I made an Anne Frank joke and nobody seemed to mind because, of course, she is only the subject of the joke, and not the target. The target is the inherent contradiction that arises when following moral prescriptions blindly, as you surely understood.
In the same vein, this article is not making light of animals' plights. To discern its true objective (spoiler, it's people), you will have to reach the conclusion, which many of you won't do because, even with these caveats, at the only hint of a fictional pet being mistreated, you will literally lose your minds.
To aid your journey through the emotional roller coaster that is this post, I have strategically placed a few piece-of-shit emojis next to the most contentious jokes.
☝🏽 Feel free to try
Whenever you dislike a punchline, go ahead and spam-click the button. This will:
- Offer you a feeling of relief 💆🏼♀️
- Deliver valuable feedback directly to my inbox 🗑
- Cost me database money, so please be mindful 👉🏽👈🏽🥺
I hope this isn't a mistake
Speaking of, have you ever made a mistake? I can't be the only one. I'm sure you have had your share of rough edits.
Here's the thing with mistakes, they are sticky. When people look at you, they will inevitably see your biggest blunder:
I'm sure we can all agree that mistakes should only hold weight within the immediate timeframe of their occurrence.
Mistakes are singularities and need to be treated as such. If one zooms in on a jagged peak, for instance focusing on the mushroom infused party where they took place or even up until the following morning's jazz audition, naturally they cast an unfavorable light on you.
Yet, when viewing your life in landscape mode, these aberrations ought to average away.
But this balance is rarely achieved, and so we live in constant dread of stumbling because of one faux-pas, like accidentally sleeping with your girlfriend's sister. If that were to occur, no matter your defense, be it 'we were drunk', 'she initiated it', 'she looks like you but works out regularly' — none of it would make any difference.
Now, I want to stress that I've never slept with no girlfriend's sister. In fact, I've steered clear of sisters entirely, nuns included, although barely so. (More on this in a future post.)
No, the mistake I've made is far worse. I will share it on the promise that it doesn't leave the blog.
Here goes nothing...
Well, now YouTube thinks that I'm into the genre and keeps suggesting videos of animals in peril, meaning that I'm no longer fed with tutorials on how to make 48-hour fermented pizza, which is why I keep delivering these ungrateful turds...
It seems like people can't get enough of this kind of content, and I guess I understand, what with all that is in the news these days, one can use the occasional uplifting story.
It's why these videos collect millions of views. On ad revenue, you can earn north of fifty thousand dollars per upload.
Which makes me wonder. 🤔
I want to be clear. I’m not saying that this is what happens, I'm only saying that this is what I would do.
And I think I would be good at it.
For instance, picture these videos of dogs greeting their owners returning from the war.
Now, there are two ways of producing content like this.
The first is to get a puppy, treat her with love for years, then join the army, be shipped to Afghanistan, kill some nazis, survive, return, and finally shoot the encounter.
This solution gets the job done, but does not optimize for time and as a side effect you end up murdering a bunch of people that probably didn't deserve it.
You could turn your dog into a heroin addict and be sure to always administer the dope while wearing a uniform. Then you leave her without heroin for a couple of weeks, and finally show up in camouflage.
I'll give another example to prove that I’m not a one-trick pony. Opens the Notes app and writes down "one-trick pony video idea".
Take those videos of morbidly obese dogs and their road to weight loss.
To reach this level of BMI, they probably come from a dysfunctional family, which is a tragedy in and of itself.
You see them clumsily walk and fall on their bellies. Cue the sad music. However, they do not give up. They rise again. Cut to them jogging in a shallow pool. The music changes pace as the training montage kicks in. They venture to climb stairs and manage not to roll downhill. Finally, as the crescendo hits the apogee, you see them slim and playful, chasing a ball like a dumb soccer player.
Really inspiring stuff! If the doggo can do it, what’s keeping me on the sofa?
Now, can you imagine how difficult these videos are to make? You need to become both a personal trainer and a nutritionist. Or do you? Because you could start with a slim dog, feed him ten thousand calories per day, shoot the whole process up until the dog looks like a giant hairy testicle, then edit the footage in reverse order like in that movie Memento.
With ideas like these, I believe I could create a profitable startup and open offices around the world but mostly in India.
I would design a logo that is shaped like a paw, but if you look close, you realize that it’s a heart.
I would pay full healthcare, pension, and extra vacation days to my employees, because I'm not a monster. Then, I would spend my days on Zoom, walking inside a comically unfurnished loft, wearing airpods, holding a plush ball, and coordinating production:
After uploading each video, I would add a link in the description to raise money for a non-existing animal charity. Then, I would put a heart under every comment that says:
Since by reading these lines you gave me consent to access your camera, I can see how horrified you are right now. Well, wake the eff up! If animals knew how to operate a camera and had semi-professional knowledge of Final Cut Pro, they would do the same to you!
Anyway, I have been thinking of getting a dog.
I mean a dog for personal use. Not work related. God, no!
I guess I'm opening my heart here.
I think that the pandemic has done a number on me. I have spent two years in almost complete isolation, sitting on my ass, working from home, staring at the wall, trying to keep my mind busy with fruitless activities, and it was awesome!
I had so many cool projects to focus on and nobody around who was super opinionated on what to do, like going to the mall to purchase textile materials to cover your naked body with, which never really made sense to me.
Inebriated by the endless possibilities, I recall thinking:
At some point, after a session of several hours online looking for piano lessons, cocktail recipes, podcasts in Spanish, blender courses, Blender courses, retro-gaming, quantum mechanics, mountaineering documentaries, a year by year chronicle of the Roman Empire, clown porn, value investing, animals in danger, Renaissance history, I realized that I was deep into a toxic spiral of rumination, and that all these activities were just a clumsy way of avoiding a fundamental issue that is totally not worth investigating further, so let's quickly go to the next paragraph.
In response, I felt the need for a true friendship. A bro! Someone that is always by my side, that loves me for who I am and not who they feel I should be. That knows me better than I know myself. That does everything I say otherwise no food.
I knew deep inside my heart that what I sorely needed was a Golden Retriever named Renato.
Wait, and I cannot stress this enough, what?
This might come across as oddly specific. Let me break it down for you.
First, I choose my dogs the same way I choose my dates and Baldur's Gate companions. I value intelligence and goofiness. Now, if gifs have taught me anything, is that Golden Retrievers are hella goofy.
When it comes to wits, here's a list of breeds from smartest to dumbest...
- Border Collie 🧠🏆
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Doberman Pinscher
- French Bulldog 🧠🥴
Which makes me want to go for a Golden Retriever because, while I do want a smart dog, I don't necessarily need one that is smarter than I am. Retaining my alpha-ness is important to me.
And finally, why the name Renato? No particular reason except the fact that naming a dog Renato is hilarious to me! By simply thinking about it, I'm giggling like a French Bulldog!
Then, I would just walk the earth with my new friend, obviously with no leash as the peers we are, despite me being the clear alpha.
I see the two of us hopping from village to village in feudal Japan doing sub-quests, bedding ladies, righting wrongs, wronging rights, keeping it fair and balanced.
Getting a dog
Getting a dog is kind of a big decision. You don’t want to make a mistake in that regard because mistreating animals is super frowned upon, and I say rightly so.
If you think about it, the one with your dog is going to be the most important relationship you will ever have. The two of you will be together for the rest of the dog’s life. Or yours if you rank among the unvaccinated.
To bring the point home, you might think that you love your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, yoga instructor or World of Warcraft character, but can you say that you have touched their poop every single day while still lukewarm?
(I think I know someone that has.)
And sure, you can reduce the dog's poop output by a whopping fifty percent if you opt to feed him every other day. However, while an improvement, this would still be a far cry from the ideal amount, which is zero poop.
Wow, someone's big mad right now. Again, I'm not saying do it. I'm only saying look into it. Now let's talk about your hypocrisy.
If you are aghast at the thought of me withholding food from a dog to reduce waste, or turning him into a heroin addict for clicks, then tell me: how do you justify neutering them?
Let me be clear: removing a dog's testicles is ethically bankrupt so, unlike you, I would never consider such a procedure, unless there was a strong YouTube video idea behind.
But my stance isn't solely based on a moral prescription. It also aligns with my approach to training. Reward is pivotal in teaching a pet new skills, and sometimes a toy or a treat won't cut it, so I like to go above and beyond my duty and offer the dog experiences that cater to his natural instincts.
In short, I intend to reward my friend with the opportunity of interacting with dogs of the female kind. Let's call them canine companions so to speak. And please appreciate how I'm refraining from using the zoologically correct terminology.
Be it as it may, congratulations! You have made the commendable decision to welcome a doggo in your life, and now you are faced with a reality branching question...
Should I rescue a dog?
In Rhetoric, this is known as begging the question, a method deemed intellectually dishonest. This is because the framing of the question already presupposes the correct answer, thereby influencing the discourse in a biased manner.
Well, duh! 🥺
Come on, of course I shouldn't. Not if you put it that way.
Lmao, as if you would ever forgive me! I'll drop this loser dead and come pick you up.
Here is a more honest version of ‘should I rescue a dog?’:
Because that's what we are talking about. And this isn't a critique of the dogs per se, but rather a reflection on us as a society.
I believe that we have become too spoiled, what with our smartphones, our streaming services, and the possibility of pulling water to make the human waste go away to a place that remains a mystery to this day.
We are simply not equipped with the skills and temperament to responsibly take care of a problematic pet. These dogs have experienced more trauma that you could ever fathom. They have navigated the harsh realities of street life, scavenged for food, turned tricks to survive.
Fortunately, in the land of Sweden, of which I am a genetic citizen, the issue of stray dogs is non-existent. Rescuing a dog is a decision that I do not have to make, so that's nice!
Now, as for the methods employed to reach stray-dog zero... let's just say the details might be a mystery best left unsolved!
Now, I know what you are thinking. There might be no strays in Sweden, but you can still adopt from abroad.
This is true. Many pets are imported from countries like Spain, Greece, and Romania. All nations with a high gross domestic production of shit dogs.
The harsh truth
You don't want to do that.
What happens is that there are organizations that pick up strays from the streets of, let's say, Athens, only to place them in dirty kennels. You then find yourself on a dog adoption website that:
- Does not support https
- Uses a jarring mix of five different fonts
- Is only compatible with Internet Explorer 4
You enter your credit card details into what appears to be a completely above-board operation, then select your dog based on a distressing photo captioned with a grim countdown:
Once enough orders are collected, the dogs are packed into an old Volkswagen van and driven across Europe for days.
Can you even begin to imagine the emotional toll this takes on the already traumatized dogs? They have left a terrible place -- a ghetto for all intents and purposes. They are now confined to a dark, cramped space, and transported to an unknown destination with no understanding of what their future holds.
Then, the older Labrador in the corner that has remained silent for the whole duration says:
And after such a difficult life and an ordeal of a journey, try convincing your new pet that everything is going to be alright.
So, yeah, consider not rescuing a dog.
Instead, you want to source your dogs from breeders, who are professional figures in the sector that you can rely upon. Breeders are the Midjourney of dogs.
Which is what I have done back on the cusp of Covid. Yes, this is all circling back to me looking indo adopting a dog, and it's a true story.
Now, obtaining a dog from a breeder? Not an easy feat back then! The pandemic had done a number on a lot of Swedes, who had lived in complete isolation, sitting on their asses, working from home, staring at the wall. So they all felt like they needed a dog. Dickheads.
And apparently breeders cannot increase production by chain-impregnating their bitches because that would be considered ✌🏼 unethical ✌🏼.
Since I wanted a dog way more desperately than my Viking brothers, this left me with no choice. I had to beat the competition by any means necessary. Being Italian, I knew that I had to go the extra mile. I knew that I had to lie.
Immanuel Kant was categorically against lying, as we saw last time. Plato saw utility for the so-called noble lies, when they promote some kind of social harmony. Jesus was like whatever. 🤷🏽
I have already expressed what I think about lying and I will not repeat it here, also because I will be repeating it in the next post, which is already written, so it's probably only three months away.
Suffice to say, lying is a craft that demands mastery before one can wield it. If you decide to venture into the realm of the untrue, your ass has to become Robert De Niro's ass. Every lie you tell must be internalized, every detail meticulously rehearsed in a bulletproof story executed with the urgency and precision of your very existence hinging on its believability, akin to that unforgettable moment in Quentin Tarantino's only magnum opus.
My plan? I established a relationship with all the breeders in the area that deal in Golden Retrievers, so that when the time comes, and a dog boi loves a dog grrl, and they doggy-style their passion until a puppy is in the oven, I could get a place at the High Table of potential suitors.
(The High Table is a reference to John Wick, whose dog died 😢)
I achieved this by sending each one of them the same email choke full of fabrications:
A lifelong dream of welcoming a puppy into the family has led to this letter.
Nestled in the countryside, our home boasts expansive green fields that any dog would relish as a playground.
Even more ideal, my wife is an award-winning dog trainer. Rest assured, the puppy would be enveloped in love and nurtured with expert training, enabling him to flourish both emotionally and intellectually.
What ignites this passion? A life-changing childhood experience. Lost in a forest at a young age, it was a compassionate couple and their Golden Retriever, Kevin, who found me crying in a ditch. That moment forever sealed the breed in my heart as a symbol of love, comfort, and security.
It would mean the world to us if you would consider our home as a sanctuary for one of your cherished puppies.
Mark Brown and his beautiful wife Grumilda
There is a lot to unpack:
I would never live in the countryside because I'm scared of crickets.
I don't have a wife. I'm not even engaged. I'm not even dating anyone. I'm not even talking to anyone. I'm not even looking at anyone. I'm not even looking. I'm blind.
Even if I were looking (which I'm not), I'd never date a dog trainer because I fear that she would employ the same techniques on me, and they would be effective because I love dog food very much. It reminds me of the northern italian cuisine.
I have never been lost in a forest. I have never been in a forest. I have essentially never been.
My name is not Mark Brown. Or maybe it is. Let's create some distance with the author.
Poll: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
So, after spreading these lies, I sit on my ass waiting for a reply.
A few weeks of no answers soften my stance toward compromise. I decide that Border Collies are also kinda cool, even if it means relinquishing my alpha status.
I compile a list of breeders who specialize in Border Collies and send them the very same email.
Days go by until I receive a phone call from a number not in my contacts.
I pick up.
I'm about to end the call when I remember that Mr. Brown is the alias in one of the operations that I'm running. Another elegant Reservoir Dogs reference.
That's when the needle scratches the record and the world freezes around me.
I have won, but all I can think of is the person who came in second as potential adopter for this puppy. They, with their genuine two-story country home, their actual professional dog-trainer partner, and their authentic childhood trauma.
My fabrications are obstructing this puppy's path to what could be a dream life with endless green fields and laughing children. And for what? A mundane existence in a city apartment with someone who is mostly working.
And why do I even feel like my need for a puppy trumps anyone else's? How bad a number can the pandemic have done on me if I admit in these very pages that I had fun?
Bad things happen in the world and our instinctive reaction is:
We may not articulate it so bluntly, as that would border on sociopathy, but it is essentially where our thoughts gravitate.
We perceive ourselves as the protagonists, the central characters in life's narratives, because of course we do. We judge others by their actions, but us by our intentions. It's an unequal measure. Consequently, it becomes all too easy to prioritize our needs, to forgive our own mistakes in the pursuit of something we convince ourselves we are rightfully owed.
I know what to say.
And that was that.
As I move through life, a series of events unfold. Some uplifting, others not so much. I hold onto the promise that, someday, I will get a Renato through legitimate means, and together, we will hike the shit out of feudal Japan.
Then, I receive this email.
Dear Mr. Brown,
I am collecting candidates for our most recent litter and, after reading your touching email, I feel pretty strongly that you are at the top of the list.
I guess I only have one question for you.
If as a kid you were found in a forest by a Golden Retriever, why are you looking into adopting a Border Collie?