I am not a dog person.
I wonder if I just alienated more than half of my audience by that remark. I don’t have anything against dog people themselves, I just don’t happen to be one of them. I also know I could never, really, live with a dog person (or, more accurately, they probably couldn’t live with me). Even without the dog. The dog, as it were, is, I think, inconsequential to the whole personality.
Why on earth is this important? Well, it's not, really, so feel free to skip it. But for some reason, dogs and the concept of devotion have been a philosophical interest of mine for ages. Perhaps it's all that time in the garden, battling the wild beings like slugs, mosquitoes, and blackflies.
But I think a lot about devotion, yes, in the form of dogs, but also in the form of children, family. I think, though they may or may not be mutually exclusive, dog people and children people have a gift for fluency in emotion and mutual devotion. They (and I’ve always known this) are better people than I. As are mothers, earth mothers, and animal caretakers of all kinds.
I suppose the logical question is, then, am I a cat person? (Because common wisdom states we must be of one camp or the other). I suppose I am, though I’ve never had a cat, or a pet of any kind except guinea pigs. I like the aloofness of cats; it matches my temperament. I like the self-sufficiency of them, their guile, their wittiness, their inherent secretiveness, their propensity toward taking one or leaving one—sometimes both within the same five-minute stretch. I respect that kind of honesty.
I like my beings aloof and/or self-sufficient. Or, if they depend on me, I’d rather it be begrudgingly (and, I like to think, fondly), like the goats and chickens, who merely tolerate my presence because it carries with it the flake of hay or the tell-tale rattle of chicken feed in tin pans.
Mostly I just like the quiet.