If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt a dog lover. But which kind: a dominionist, a humanist, or a protectionist?
In a fascinating New York Times story this week, Indiana University sociologist David Blouin groups dog owners into one of these three categories.
“Dominionists,” he says, view pets as beloved but ultimately replaceable. Families who live in the country tend to meet this definition.
“Humanists” see their dog as a primary companion, one to be pampered, allowed to sleep in the owner’s bed and “mourned like a dying child at the end.”
His third category is “protectionists” — people who have strong feeling about dogs, who are likely to rescue a dog tied to a tree and then lecture its owner. They tend to think in terms of what is best for the dog.
Blouin draws a distinct line between protectionists and pamperers, but I’m thinking I belong in both categories. I pamper our two pups — not with frilly outfits (on a border collie? You’d have to be kidding!) but with my time. Steve and I make sure our BC and husky mix get plenty of exercise, sometimes at the expense of our own priorities. When we’ve had to put a dog to sleep, we’ve made the decision based strictly on what was best for our dog; according to Blouin, that would make us protectionists. But that hasn’t eased our burden: I still mourn every dog we’ve lost. Bosco the sheltie has been gone nearly two years and I still can’t bring myself to throw out his worn-out fleecy bed.
I would add a fourth category to Blouin’s list. ”Exploiters.” It would include any breeder who cranks out puppies for profit, leaving their breeding dogs in cages, mired in misery. They claim to love dogs, but they don’t, really. And they need to be put out business.
Here’s a link to the NYT story: