Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!

Some people are “cat” people. Some people are “dog” people. Some are neither. Some are both.

I am a dog person. Cats creep me out. Growing up, we had a German Shepherd when I was a toddler. But, DeeDee bit the mailman so my parents had to give her away.  Later, when I was eight and nine, we had a white French Poodle. But, Pucci (who was the “male whore” of the neighborhood) was given away when we moved to Israel. After that, Mom refused to allow any more pets in our home. So, the dog of my teen years was the beautiful, gentle Golden Retriever named Russell who belonged to the family that I babysat for throughout high school (I really loved that dog.)

As an adult, my husband and I have owned four dogs over the last twenty years. He likes to whine about the small fortune these “free” dogs have cost us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We willingly lavished our furry four-legged children with education (okay, training classes which didn’t train US very well), food, shelter, toys, medical care, and tons of love and affection. With them around, our world has been a better place.

I never, however, crossed the line into a zone where I pampered or treated my dogs as though they were human. I never dressed them up in sweaters or Halloween costumes. I never baked homemade treats for them (although I admit I thought about doing so.) And, I never tried to make them “speak.” So, imagine my surprise upon learning of a new DirecTV channel called DogTV. Yes, that’s right. There now is a television channel that caters to the interests of DOGS! Why? To keep them occupied while people like my husband and I are away at work all day.

At first I though this was a joke. Well, it’s not. “DOGTV’s 24/7 programing helps stimulate, entertain, relax and habituate dogs with shows that expose them to various movements, sounds, objects, experiences and behavior patterns, all from a dog’s point of view.” Seriously? Let’s break this down…

Stimulate: Stimulate how? Does this mean they’ll get excited? Do I want my dogs stimulated when I’m not around? Entertain: Will watching TV all day and every day actually be entertaining? Relax: I don’t know about other people’s dogs, but mine sleep and lie around enough as is. They get plenty time to chill. Habituate: As in “habit forming? How can THAT be good? A dog’s point of view: Huh??? I deal with enough points of view! Do I really want my dogs to have a “point of view” too? I really don’t understand how all of this can be good.

It’s a fact that we are in a world of hundreds of TV channel options. (Although I don’t understand why there never seems to be anything good on TV.) There’s some type of programming for everyone, including for people who love: food, gardening, doing-it-themselves, music, news, reruns, movies, series, reality TV, cartoons, talk shows, etc., etc., etc. As a result of all of these options, we humans – especially kids – watch WAY too much TV. And, too many of us are “couch potatoes” – just lying around, staring at the “boob tube” for hours on end instead of doing something active and productive. So now we want to do the same things for our dogs?

I confess that I’m mildly interested in seeing how my dogs would react and respond to watching a TV channel designed for them. But, I’d be totally mortified if people found out that I subscribed to DogTV, set my dogs up on a coach in front of the flat panel, and allowed them to watch it all day long. I’d be even more upset if my dogs liked it!

What’s next?  A TV remote control that is dog-friendly?  Canine gourmet popcorn? CatTV? Yikes!!!!

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