On Dogs and Dating Services

Posted on December 2, 2018

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As I was checking out a few weeks ago with my $uper duper dog food at one of the several pet supply stores in town, I thought back a bit to when I was growing up. I think all pet food was in the local grocery store and the big choice was bags or cans, Alpo or some other brand.

Never mind six thousand choices of chews, treats, throws and other appendages of the modern pet, not to speak of five thousand brands of sprays, powders, and liquids to keep your pet safe and happy. If he was sick, you went to your vet.

The first dog I can remember was Spot, a white and black mixed terrier of some kind. Spot was bilingual, just like me.

One day my mom said let’s take spot to the local park where everyone is showing their pets.

“Spot, ven aca!” I would say, and he would sit.

“Spot, sientate y dame la mano!” I would try, and he would amble off to sniff another dog.

“See,” my mother said to a friend of hers, “Spot speaks English and Spanish,” just like my mom who was Chilean-born.

Our friends were suitably impressed. No one around us in those days spoke Spanish in our upscale neighborhood in Plainfield, N. J. and none discerned that Spot totally ignored my commands in Spanish and did what he felt like doing.

Aside from Spot’s bilingualism—with not a scintilla of evidence to prove it—I loved on Spot until I went off to college.

Now we have three dog and they are like our children. My wife Louise and I lavish our love on “the guys” and they return it in spades, unconditionally, no questions asked or requested.

My wife observed that “they give their love unconditionally because they are totally loyal and devoted to us.”

Spank them, and they are saddened, but they always forgive, completely and fully, turning to us with tails a wagging and ready to slobber all over their masters, nibble on their fingers, sleep on masters’ bed, and even obey us…occasionally. The language I discovered long ago doesn’t make a difference. It’s the intonation.

Dogs give us something wanting in modern society: love and friendship, accompanied by wagging tails and kisses, not available on your apps. They hardly ever remember a fault, always forgiving, ready to give more. How do you get that over a cell phone, or on your screen—big or little—as you “communicate” with somebody or something on the other end?

Which leads us to the other half of the title to this piece: dating services.

Today dozens of dating services from Adult FriendFinder to Zoosk (A to Z of course) exist. I found categories like bisexual and transgender men, Jewish background, Russian, Ivy Leaguers, seniors, many using “heuristic algorithms” to find matches.

Why dating services? They exist largely because in today’s wired world, it’s hard to find love and companionship on your app. Your dog simply won’t do for an affectionate relationship between human beings which hopefully leads to love, marriage, children and family.

We crave companionship, love, affection, and a lot of other qualities—let’s not be too prudish and omit sexual attraction as well—that the modern world in its desire to get things right with respect to gender, politics, race, diversity, equality, inclusion, fairness, etc. somehow misses. We are in touch electronically but are not communicating.

Free yourself occasionally from all the contraptions that interfere with your relationships as human beings and turn to a relationship with God, as described in the Bible and nurtured in Church.

Get in touch once again with the magnificent gifts of learning to give, learning to share, speaking with people, laughing, loving, and crying with them, becoming more like the human beings God created us to be.

Cell phones are disruptive and addictive. A study by Baylor University found coeds spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cellphones and men nearly eight. The impact goes over the whole spectrum of human behavior, from addiction, escape mechanisms, cheating, conflict inside and outside the classroom, dodging awkward situations (i.e. dealing with reality), and the list goes on.

What are we doing about this phenomenon in our colleges and universities, like Stillman, Shelton State, and UA? What about in our k-12 programs? You may wish to query those running these schools and colleges: what are you doing about it, especially those supported by public funds, your taxes and mine?

Pubished as “On dogs and dating services,” in The Tuscaloosa News, Dec. 2 2018

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