A Few Words About Dogs


By Tom Piatak

The author and his best pal, Sally.

Dogs are descended from wolves, but they are not wolves, and should bear their traditional scientific name, Canis Familiaris, not the oxymoronic Canis Lupus Familiaris. Why do I say this, other than because I am a traditionalist in most matters?

I refer you to a fascinating experiment conducted by those clever Hungarians. They took puppies and wolf cubs raised by humans, and therefore the nurture was the same.

But not the nature. Because when the little food dispenser both types of animals had been trained to use, by design, stopped working, the young wolves were flummoxed, and began attacking the dispenser.

The young dogs, though, did what dogs do. They fixed their gaze on the nearest human, and, with that intense look every dog owner knows, silently sought an answer to the quintessential canine question: What does my master want me to do now?

One of the greatest scenes in The Terminator is the brief glimpse we get of the nightmarish future in which machines are trying to exterminate us. At our side, as ever, are dogs, the best non-human friends given to us in a sublime gesture of Divine love. They know, better than we do, the difference between real human beings and murderous machines made to resemble us externally in every way imaginable, but lacking any trace of genuine humanity, of the immortal soul implanted by God.

Dogs have been with us for thousands of years, and the bond that has developed between the two species is unique. Allowing dogs to retain their traditional scientific name would be a nice way of recognizing that singular bond, even if it means ruffling some taxonomic feathers.

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