Keeping The Focus On Man’s And Woman’s (And Child’s!) Best Friend
BY MICHAEL AND CATHY DUGAN continued
“IN AN AGE WHERE WE YEARN FOR A SENSE OF COMMONALITY AND COMMUNITY, OUR CANINE FRIENDS ARE RIGHT THERE FOR US, ANYTIME, ANYPLACE. AT A TIME WHEN WE SENSE THAT SOMETHING MAY BE MISSING IN OUR LIVES, THE AFFECTIONATE LICK OF A LOVING POOCH SAYS IT ALL: WE ARE ADORED AND VALUED!”
place dogs with folks who have never had one. PWDs are smart and challeng- ing; not for rookies. Just as breeding is not for the faint of heart or the light of wallet. THE INTERNET, SOCIAL NET- WORKING AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE What do those things have to do with people and pets? Everything. One striking thing we have noticed when families with kids come to our kennel is that the kids put down their devices unless they are taking pictures. No long chats, no apps and games; the parents expect the kids to pay attention to the process. Even the families without chil- dren focus on the decision to add a new family member; even the ones who work in tech and are generally chained to their computer or their multiple devices. The internal turmoil for them not to use their iPhone must be brutal. In the last three decades the world of human interaction and communica- tion has changed forever; no big sur- prise there. As a lawyer working with a web development company in the early days of the Internet, it was assumed that the World Wide Web would not only broaden the availability of vast infor- mation and communication but that it
would also help people connect better with each other and humanize us all. The world was also going to paperless —yeah, right, we know how that went. We were very wrong of all counts. Instead, all of this extraordinary technology has isolated each of us in ways we never expected. The Law of Unintended Consequences remains immutable. When TV became com- monplace in this country, psychologists and sociologists predicted the doom of family interaction and empathy as the “screen” became the focus of family life. To the extent that became true, it’s nothing compared to the universe we live in now. Cubicles have replaced the socialization of the water cooler and the break room; computer and device screens have replaced that opportu- nity or desire to actually converse with someone directly. Loneliness has become the bane of 21st century in America as well as the developed world. The number of young people, particularly men, who continue to live with their parents well into their twenties is the highest in the last fifty years. As much as we loved our parents, we couldn’t wait to get out into the world. But then, good jobs were a lot easier to find and going to college didn’t produce suffocating debt.
Enter the pooch, stage right. Cathy is a hospice nurse and often takes one of our canine kids with her to visit a nursing home or facility. The dogs add a sense of normalcy and help dispel the sense of being alone. The use of dogs in therapy work and hospitals continues to expand because they pro- vide something that all that expensive technology cannot: the tactile con- nection with another living, breathing creature who loves unconditionally and adores without question. In an ulti- mate irony, many companies, particu- larly high tech companies, encourage employees to bring their dogs to work to help create more of a “family” and “connected” atmosphere. Wasn’t the Internet supposed to do that? Dogs in particular and pets in gener- al have become even more of the “medi- cine for melancholy” made famous by Ray Bradbury in his books and stories. In an age where we yearn for a sense of commonality and community, our canine friends are right there for us, anytime, anyplace. At a time when we sense that something may be missing in our lives, the affectionate lick of a loving pooch says it all: we are adored and valued!
106 • S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019
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