I think it must have started with "Old Yeller." Why my parents agreed to buy me that movie as a six year old, I don't understand. I was obsessed with dogs when I was a kid. So obsessed, I'd run around my house on all fours and pretend to be one. I used to bite my brother. Clearly, I'm still working that biting thing. But I thought "Old Yeller" was going to be another awesome movie about dogs. Kind of like "101 Dalmations" goes country or "Milo and Otis" old school style. Maybe even "Lady and the Tramp" on the farm. Only it wasn't. At all.
When Travis walked out to that cabin with that shot gun I think my face melted. But, you know, there was a dog in the movie, so I watched it all the time. But I learned a valuable life lesson from "Old Yeller." Everyone who loves you so much they'd fight a bear AND a wild boar AND a raccoon AND a rattle snake for you will inevitably get rabies and you will have to shoot them no matter how much you love them back because love doesn't cure rabies, so that guy you're dating is pretty much hopeless but I heard his roommate's cute. Or something like that.
But ever since then I have handled the death of dogs in movies with about as much grace as a meth addict trying to do the electric slide. I don't just cry. I blubber. I lose all control. Snot runs down my face and I am completely inconsolable. I crawl into bed and hug pillows and rock myself to sleep. And you don't even want to know what I was like after my own dog died. I lost 15 pounds and the will to live.
When B and I saw "I Am Legend." I was all into it. I was on the edge of my seat. And then his dog died. *SPOILER ALERT, YA'LL* Will Smith's dog dies in I Am Legend. DID ANYONE ELSE NOT SEE THAT COMING? I mean, Jesus Christ Wears Galoshes, that movie messed me up for weeks. It's been about a year since I've seen that movie, and B's sister texted me yesterday to let me know she was watching it and she had just got the point where the dog died and I teared up at my desk just THINKING about it. Why'd you do it, Sam?
And that movie "Year of the Dog?" Guess what, THE DOG DIES IN THAT ONE TOO. But don't worry, that's not a spoiler because apparently that's on the flippin' box. I NEVER READ THE FLIPPIN' BOX. GAH.
Don't even get me started about "Where the Red Fern Grows." Just. Don't.
And one time when I was in gradeschool I accidentally saw a "20/20" special about how they eat stray dogs in Thailand and I wrote a letter to my governor about how Pennsylvania needs to invade Thailand.
I told you before how people keep being all "you should totes see that 'Marley and Me' movie it was soooo cute." And I have one thing to say to that. ARE YOU OUT OUF YOUR GAH FORSAKEN MINDS? [Editorial Note: I kept trying to write forsaken right there but I kept writing foreskin. I have no idea what my muscle memory is telling me. Probably that watching "Marley and Me" is about a good idea as a pile of foreskin. Because that's not even an idea. That's just gross.]
I'm also not sure what it says about me that I barely bat an eyelash when people die in movies or on television shows. Except for that time Denny died on Grey's Anatomy. Oh, Denny was so sweet and loyal and expressive. Just like a big ol' hound dog.
But anyway. My point is that I think most people who like dogs have this same reaction. No matter which way you slice it, it's always sadder when dogs die than when people do. And not just movies and TV either. I'm talking books too.
So then what about those people who don't like dogs? I've never seen a person who's "not a dog person" get more worked up than me over a person dying on the big screen, but when they see me curled up in a ball on my floor because Shiloh just crawled under the porch to die, suddenly I'M the one with issues.
But really, they're the ones with the empathy problem. Does it really matter that I'm more upset over the Golden Lab that had rabies than the dude in the green shirt that was caught in the crossfire? Possibly. But at least I feel it. At least I feel it.
And anyway, people with empathy problems probably don't even have souls, so at least I've got that going for me. And also, if the movies have taught me anything, it's that people who don't like dogs are always the ones who end up wearing ladies underwear while they strangle the neighbors because it turns out they're actually aliens. Or something like that.
So really it's exactly like that philosopher who used to argue why people should believe in God by telling everyone that God either does or doesn't exist, and if he doesn't exist and you don't believe, ya'll are cool. But if he does and you don't believe then you're pretty much fecked so you should just believe JUST IN CASE God does exist so you can fake your way into heaven. You know that dude? What was his name?
Anyway, it's exactly the same only in this case, you should just like dogs to fool the rest of us into thinking that you're not an alien. Because you can bet your arse when we have those first alien witch hunts, I'm totes diming you out for the alien that you are if you're on my Does Not Like Dogs list. Unless of course the alien witch hunts are when all the aliens come and burn the humans at the stake. Then I don't like dogs either. It's called survival instinct, people. I have it. Just sayin'.