You Dawg, you! . . . Sure, when said with a certain intonation it's a sideways compliment, but I personally never aspired to being a Dawg or Dog. Before now . . .
Confession time: I read AARP magazine. (The subscription's not mine--really, it's not--It's my mother's...not that there's anything wrong with that.) Or, as they used to say about Playboy: "I read it for the articles..."
Moving on: An article titled Our Dog Years in the Dec. 2014-Jan. 2015 issue, caught my attention last week. (So, I'm a little behind in my reading.) OMG I thought, wanting to rip it into shreds and compost it. What's the deal with all the books and movies starring dogs? It's as though mid-life crisis, once synonymous with mistresses and souped-up convertibles, is now all about dogs. Reminds me of the play Sylvia, in which an adopted dog becomes the "other woman" in a middle-aged couple's marriage. Funny play . . . Scary thought considering how many other recent movies feature leading men who love their dogs more than humans...Richard Gere, really?
Curious about just how many mid-life dog crush movies have been published recently, I Googled "Dog-Lovers+Movies." This list popped up:
(Turns out it's an interactive list! We--you and me--can influence each movie's placement on the list by voting. I've hyperlinked it above in case you'd like to do some investigating--voting--dog movie watching later.)
Anyway, back to the article. As a non-dog lover, I must confess it was a bit of a yawn:
The best part was the end. (No disrespect intended, David Dudley.) The article closed with a nugget of advice from neuroscientist Elizabeth Head.
Dr. Head studies aging beagles at the University of Kentucky. She’s noticed the plaques (hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease) found in aging dogs is similar to those found in humans (more similar even than those found in primates.) The reason, Head poses, might be that “living in our environment—our food, our water, our homes—has made dogs more vulnerable.” That age-related dementia might actually be a “side effect of civilization.”
If, as Head suggests, domesticating dogs has made them prone to human “Old-timers” then might the reverse be true? Rather than “Gone to the dogs,” meaning something has “gone badly wrong and lost all the good it had,” is the converse true? Maybe going to the dogs the better way? Rather than singing along, should we heed the call of the song: “Duh-duh-duh duh da- dut/duh-duh-duh duh da- dut/duh-duh-duh duh da- dut/duh-duh-duh duh da- dut/Hey baby…”
Dr. Head is confidant she will figure out how to “stop brain decline entirely in middle-age animals" (hopefully humans included). In the meantime, she's offered, via Dudley's article, this sage advice:
TREAT YOURSELF AS YOU DO YOUR DOG:
- Eat the best food you can afford
- Go for a walk, even when it’s raining
- Keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh, so that people you lick will not flinch
- When someone you love walks in through the door, even if it happens five times a day, go totally insane with joy