Former President George W. Bush appeared at a reception for high school seniors in New Mexico recently and talked about life outside the Oval Office, which including walking his dog, Barney. “There I was, former president of the United States of America, with a plastic bag on my hand,” he said. “Life is returning back to normal.”
Honestly, I expected the former President to have a dog walker to handle these duties, but there is something reassuring in knowing that no matter who we are, we all have the same responsibilities when it comes to our pets. We feed them, groom them, pick up after them, and even spoil them. We jump when they want to go outside, come inside, or be fed. We are trained to pet them the moment they sit near our feet. And we rarely move them from their sleeping spot, especially if it is our lap. To an outsider unfamilar with the canine/human animal bond, it may appear as if we are subserviant to their needs.
Instead though, humans and dogs share a special symbiotic relationship — a close relationship between individuals of two or more different species. Symbiotic relationships may benefit both species, one species at the other’s expense, or neither species. For humans and dogs, the ideal relationship benefits both species. We offer shelter, love, and care to the dog; in return, they agree to love, adore, even protect us, no matter what. Some canine/human relationships, however, are at the dog’s expense. Dog fighting, animal abuse ,and even neglect, are ways in which we mistreat dogs and throw off the balance of this trusted relationship.
If the former President of the United States can walk his dog with a baggie in his hand, so can everyone else who has a pet. Kudos to the former President for keeping it real.