Are Dogs Uniquely Friendly?


I have always felt that dogs are our superior when it comes to lots of things, but the most important one is that they are more friendly, as a species, than humans are, as a species.

I see evidence of this on a daily basis by simply watching dogs wag their tales as they notice or approach a strange dog (they don’t even have the concept of “stranger.”).

The other day we were  up in the mountains above Granada, skiing (well, my wife and 13 year old boy were skiing – my days of skiing are over).  We rented an apartment in the hills above a small convenience store.  The woman who runs it has a dog, Flip.  He is an English Spaniel.  He was delighted to see us, to see other dogs, to see his person.  Normal. 

The next day we walked down the hill from where we were staying in the mountains, almost a mile downhill to where people were skiing and I saw a dog who looked a lot like Flip wandering about greeting the skiers in the snow.  Later I asked.  Yep, it was him.  The next day I saw him sitting with a man who looked homeless (there are very few in Spain, so I think he was just poor and had most of his belongings with him).  Flip was looking up at him with adoration.  “Your dog,” I asked?  “No, just likes hanging out with me.”

I asked the woman what was up with him.  How come he was down in the valley during the day and at home in the evening?  “That is what he does.  He loves to be with people all day, but comes home at night.”

  A true free spirit.  He goes where he wants, when he wants, but knows where he belongs.  All day he spends time greeting his friends.  Hyperfriendly, that is what Flip is.  And Flip is not alone.  There are other dogs like him.  So let me ask you:  When was the last time you met a person like this?

I rest my case.

Nor is it a trivial case.  For if humans could be more like dogs, we would live in a much warmer, more friendly, more gentle world.  I for one would like that. 

About jeffreymasson

My new book BEASTS is out this March from Bloomsbury or the eBook
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1 Response to Are Dogs Uniquely Friendly?

  1. John Salmond says:

    Example is the best teacher. But I guess the problem is we need to *see* the example. Just having it in front of our nose is not enough, maybe; we need to have it pointed out to us, something you do well.

    As I have seen suggested in your books, we perhaps have already learnt a lot from dogs, but it is an immense task they have ahead of them to truly ‘humanise’ humans

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