Are people who hate dogs mean and maladjusted? Yes! That’s the highlight for me of a New York Magazine story on The Rise of Dog Identity Politics. The John Homans piece sprawls over many peculiar developments in the evolution of the urban dog, but the most interesting to me was this finding:
A 1999 study found that people who strongly dislike dogs score significantly higher on the measure of anal character and lower on the empathy scale of the California Psychological Inventory, indicating “that people who liked dogs have less difficulty relating to people.”
Haven’t dog- and animal-lovers always known that? On the extreme side, we’ve connected for a long time how serial killers get their start torturing animals. But we haven’t seen so clearly how misanthropes may start as dog haters. But any urban dog person knows the type: They jump back from your dog on the street, talk up their allergies, complain about dogs being dirty, then frequent dog-friendly places and whine.
Another thing about dog-haters? They love signs banning dogs. Maybe it’s part of their inability to communicate with other humans. A woman down the street from me has made it her one woman crusade to turn a public area into a no dog area, with wordy signs, which are frequently defaced. (My household, let us say, is not completely innocent.)
Since my own dog Jolly died in August, I don’t even have a dog in this fight anymore. But Jolly had this funny habit of barking at people who were yelling at dogs. It was like he felt he was part of the dog union. Dog people are proud to identify themselves as dog people, too. So I’m still in the dog union. I’ve always thought most places would be more enjoyable if the “No Dogs Allowed” signs were replaced with “No Dog-Haters” signs. (And thanks, to Zazzle, my dream has come true).