Friday, October 24, 2003


Our next door neighbors' dogs bark a lot — often well into the night. Naturally, I wish they'd pipe down.

I am very pleased, however, that our trio of shih tzus rarely barks. Sure, they bark when we come home, waiting to be let out of their room. They'll bark when the doorbell rings. And once in a while, the oldest one will bark wanting to be picked up onto the sofa. For the most part though, they're pretty quiet.

On the few occasions when they do start up their yapping, Misty and I try to get them to stop. We don't want to hear their noise. I don't think we're different from anyone here, as everyone (except our neighbors, apparently) wants their dog to stop barking.

I got to thinking about this today, and I wonder if we, as a society, are inflicting psychological trauma on our dogs. When they bark, we tell them to be quiet. When they whine, we tell them to cut it out. When they growl, we tell them "no." Basically, we don't want them to emit any sounds whatsoever.

But what if someone did that to us? What if any time we made a sound, we were scolded? We'd be a society of mutes.

Maybe dogs have something to say, too. Just because they don't speak English, does that mean we shouldn't try to listen?

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