December 15th 2008 3:12 am
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Humans have this habit of categorizing things. They tend to put things in “compartments” in an attempt to convince them that they have been able to figure out what they sometimes don’t understand. When humans don’t understand something, they just put things under certain classifications. For example, they have categorized round objects revolving around the sun as “planets”. And they have identified all those nice twinkling objects in the night sky as “stars”. They’ve also identified categories for various creatures. They have classified animals with covering of hair on the skin and protruding milk-producing mammary glands (for females) as “mammals”. They’ve classified small animals with three body sections (the head, the thorax, and the abdomen) and six legs as “insects”. And they have categorized air-breathing, cold-blooded vertebrates that have skin covered in scales as “reptiles”. Yup, humans seem to have nothing much to do, eh? They spend much of their idle time mindlessly identifying creatures according to kind, specie, order, and any other category. And what do they do with these books? They in shelves, collecting dust.
But does this stop them from further categorizing? Nope. They just continue on and on. They just won’t stop. It’s like an addiction for them. Their motto seems to be “Let’s classify and classify until we die!”
Let’s take dogs for example. Man has divided and classified dogs according to every category imaginable; breeds, kinds, hairstyle, bark level, color, size, poop smell, what-have-you. It’s crazy! Last time I checked, there are around 800 different breeds of dogs that kennel groups around the world have recognized, and they don’t include the mongrels.
They’ve also characterized us according to function. There are:
1. GUARD DOG or WATCH DOG – those who guard families.
2. GUIDE DOGS – those who help the blinds.
3. FARM DOGS – those who assist in herding cattles and sheep.
4. SNIFF DOGS – those who detect drugs and illegal stuffs in airports.
5. LAP DOGS – those who don’t do anything but lie on the laps of people.
6. SHOW DOGS – those who are entered in dog shows.
7. TOY DOGS – those that you toy around.
While I’m sure there’s a good reason humans categorize creatures and things, I’m not sure I’m comfortable being identified to a single category. My dad and my vet identified me as a toy dog (well at least for them, I’m a Miniature Dachshund and I don’t think I belong to the toy dog section. I weigh only 4.5kg by the way). Because if you really look at it, we dogs can be a number of thing at the same time. Take me for example. I’m typically considered as a toy dog because I like toying around and because I like playing with toys. But I can be a darn good security dog, too. Ever since my grandfather took me home as a graduation gift for my dad, there’s not been one single burglar can enter our home. I can smell people 100 feet away – and I can tell if they’re up to no good. I bark at everyone who dares to go within 10 feet away from our front door. Before anyone can even ring the doorbell, I’m already barking at my Nanny Beth telling her “Hey Nanny Beth, someone’s at the door! Someone’s at the door!”
I’m also a very good lap dog. When my auntie or my grandmother is in a cuddly mood, I just snuggle up to her and lay my head on her lap. And I can stay motionless for a long time even for as long as ten seconds. Of course, if I hear an unusual sound – like a door opening, I jump right out of my “lap-dog mode” and I instantly become a security dog again. But if I want to be a lap dog, I can be one. For a few seconds, at least.
I am also a fantastic sniff dog. I sniff around the house all the time, checking if there are any illegal drugs or contraband goods lying around. I haven’t found any yet – so I guess I have to train harder.
So really, if you think about it, I can be many things. We can be many things. I’m not just a toy dog. So I resent the fact that people identify me – and my breed – as toy dogs. But then again, what can I do? Humans will continue doing what they want. They will categorize and categorize until kingdom come.
But you know what – I will not stand by and listen to all this categorizing. I will fight fire with fire. So they want to categorize us? Ok, I will start categorizing them.
So, they’ve categorized me as a “Toy Dog”. I hereby categorize humans as “Dog Toys”. That’s right. Humans are dog toys. That’s what they are. You know why? Well, if you really think about it – we have them at our beck and call. They can’t resist us. We just give them our “puppy-dog-eyes” look and *poof* they melt. And we can make them do anything. Just like toys.
And as “Dog Toys”, I further categorize humans as follows:
1. NUISANCE TOYS – these are the humans who keep on ringing the doorbell.
2. CUDDLY TOYS – this is where my auntie belongs. I like cuddling with her.
3. ACTION FIGURE TOYS – this is where my dad belongs. I rough it up with this toy.
4. BARBIE DOLL TOYS – these are the babies – the guys I just lick and groom.
5 THROW-AWAY TOYS – these are the humans I don’t like. So just like an old toy, I want to throw them away.
Aaahh, it feels good turning the tables around. I wonder what humans feel about my classifications? I’m sure they’re all scratching their head and saying “Wonder where I belong?”
Yup, it does feel good to be on this side of the classifying end. But then again, it’s not really that great. At the end of the day, we shouldn’t really spend too much time categorizing and classifying. Sometimes, by categorizing, we tend to become prejudiced and judgmental. It’s a divisive exercise. Here’s my two cents worth. A dog, no matter what kind or what breed deserves to be treated well. And a human, no matter what race and no matter how irritating, must be treated with respect.
At the end of the day, we are all living creatures her in this wonderful earth. Let’s just love and respect each other regardless of whether you are a toy dog – or a dog toy.
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