In fact, he’d prefer it if you’d keep your dog to yourself — out of the park he wants to read in, away from the cafe where he enjoys his Frappuccino, and definitely not in the gym in which he works out.
It was a case of the latter that triggered a well-written, semi-playful, anti-dog diatribe he wrote for Slate last week.
Manjoo argued that dogs are getting too many privileges. He pointed out that not everybody enjoys their presence, cited health hazards they could conceivably pose, and suggested all those people who take their dogs everywhere start leaving them at home.
Not sharing one’s dog? To me, that’s the equivalent of hiding a Van Gogh behind an ironing board in the basement. Or putting a newfound cure for cancer in a time capsule. Or shielding your eyes — just to be safe — from a blazing sunset.
Still, we’d defend Manjoo’s preference to live life without somebody else’s dog in his face. That’s his right. It’s his loss, but it’s also his right.
Manjoo is Slate‘s technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society. So it doesn’t surprise me — he being caught up in all things digital — that he has failed to catch on to or be captivated by the wonder of dogs.
Microchipping aside, dogs and technology are best kept separate. They don’t always get along, maybe because they are the antithesis of each other. Technology may be the cure for everything, but dogs are the cure for technology. We’ll get back to this point, but first let’s look at what Manjoo said — after an unwanted encounter with a Doberman inside his gym.
“The dog came up to me, because in my experience that’s what dogs do when you don’t want them to come up to you. They get up real close, touching you, licking you, theatrically begging you to respond… I guess I was fairly sure he wouldn’t snap and bite me, but stranger things have happened — for instance, dogs snapping and biting people all the time.
“Why was this dog here? And why was no one perturbed that this dog was here?
“…No one was asking because no one could ask. Sometime in the last decade, dogs achieved dominion over urban America. They are everywhere now, allowed in places that used to belong exclusively to humans, and sometimes only to human adults: the office, restaurants, museums, buses, trains, malls, supermarkets, barber shops, banks, post offices… Dogs are frequently allowed to wander off leash, to run toward you and around you, to run across the baseball field or basketball court, to get up in your grill. Even worse than the dogs are the owners, who seem never to consider whether there may be people in the gym/office/restaurant/museum who do not care to be in close proximity to their dogs. …”
Manjoo admits to not being a dog person, but at least — unlike most anti-dog types — he has a sense of humor about it.
“It’s not that I actively despise mutts; I just don’t have much time for them, in the same way I don’t have time for crossword puzzles or Maroon 5,” he writes.
“But here’s my problem: There’s now a cultural assumption that everyone must love dogs. Dog owners are rarely forced to reckon with the idea that there are people who aren’t enthralled by their furry friends, and that taking their dogs everywhere might not be completely pleasant for these folks.”
And seldom, he points out, does anyone whose dog accosts him say they’re sorry.
“… I can promise you she won’t apologize for the imposition. Nor will she ask you if you mind her dog doing what he’s doing. Nor will she pull on its leash, because there won’t be a leash, this being an office, where dogs are as welcome as Wi-Fi and free coffee.”
The same holds true, he notes, at coffee houses.
Here we should point out that the dog pictured atop this post is mine, and that, in the photo, Ace is enjoying an iced coffee product at Starbucks, offered to him by a customer whose behavior indicated she wanted him to visit her table.
When I take Ace to a Starbucks, or most anywhere else, it’s usually pretty apparent who wants to meet him and who doesn’t, and I restrain him accordingly. I don’t have to compile any data or crunch any numbers, I can just tell. It’s not brain surgery, or computer science.
Even though most people go to Starbucks for the free Wi-Fi, or the expensive coffee, I’d estimate about one of two customers wants to meet my dog. Ace — and this isn’t true of every dog — has a way of figuring that out himself, and generally will avoid those who show no interest in him, unless they are in the process of eating a muffin or pastry, in which case he’s willing to overlook the fact they may not be dog lovers.
What makes the numbers even more impressive is that 8 of every 10 customers at your typical Starbucks are under the spell of their computer device and not at all cognizant of what’s going on around them.
Ace is sometimes able to break that spell, at least he does for me.
As for me, I’d rather have access to Fido then Wi-Fi anyday. Fido will soothe me. Wi-Fi will likely, at some point, make me angry and frustrated. Fido will focus me. Wi-Fi will distract me. Wi-Fi will accost me with uninvited and intrusive messages, and send me alerts, and remind me of all the things I need to do today. Fido will remind me all those things aren’t really that important and can wait until tomorrow. Wi-Fi will take me out of the moment; Fido will keep me in it. Wi-fi has no soul. Fido does, and his presence allows our souls – those of us who have them — to be refreshed. Dogs keep us from becoming an entirely manic society.
No one, if I have my laptop on, will want to come up and pet it, except maybe Farhad Manjoo, who — while not having the least bit of interest in my dog — is probably curious about my gigabytes and apps.
On this much I will agree with Manjoo: There are dog owners who seem unaware that not everybody will delight in their dog, oblivious to the fact that some might find their dog annoying and intrusive. Similarly, though, there are parents of children who don’t realize not everybody will delight in their antics. Similarly, too, there are grown-up people who fail to realize that they themselves are annoying and who we’d prefer not to have inflicted upon us.
Unfortunately, we can’t just ban them. Our choices are limited. We could work on being tolerant – of all ages, sizes, shapes and species, despite their noise, intrusiveness and abrasiveness levels. Or we could go somewhere else. Or we could complain.
Sometimes, when visiting a Starbucks or other coffee place, I wonder if I should lodge an official complaint with management about Wi-Fi — objecting to its omnipresence, and how it seems to be turning people into keyboard-pushing zombies.
“No,” I’d say, “I’m not technically allergic to it, but I’m uncomfortable with it near. I’ve had some bad experiences with it. Sometimes it bites people when they least expect it, and I’m pretty sure it harbors germs.”
“But it’s wireless,” the manager might say.
“Exactly,” I’d say with a huff. “Put a leash on it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apps, behavior, cell phones, coffee, common sense, computers, culture, devices, digital, dislike, dog, dog friendly, dogs, dominion, farhad manjoo, fear, gyms, hate, laptops, leash, leashed, love, manners, parks, pets, place, privileges, public, rights, slate, society, starbucks, technology, unleashed
Every species, I guess, has its geniuses and morons, or at least those who are so perceived.
When it comes to dogs, for example, Afghan hounds have been called the dumb blondes of the dog world, while border collies are often referred to as the genius of the species.
With humans, in what is an equally unfair characterization, TV and radio personalities are often portrayed as something less than razor sharp. (I’m not sure if that is true, but it does seem that the dumber they are, the louder they are — and the more they interrupt.)
This video, from ABC’s Good Morning America, shows a border collie named Zelda balancing things on her head as the humans on the program, some of them wearing funny hats, seem to compete to see who can be loudest and most annoying.
When Zelda’s owner tries to explain how Zelda came to possess the talent, the host of the show loudly interrupts: “Now we should point out border collies are one of the smartest dogs there are, I mean they’re like real smart.”
At the end of the bit, the camera cuts to a member of the crew, showing he can balance things on his head, too.
Watching this, online, made me reconsider my rankings of the intelligence of the three smartest species here on earth.
I still think dogs are at the top, but I’m unsure of the order in which to rank the other two – humans and computers, earth’s newest species.
But then I read the computer-created transcript of the video, which we’ll only quote in part:
“We have a very special live — we have Zelda. That dog. — commences our — an extra…
“Added I organ committee is all right let’s say you — yes sickened at companies like name. Set — – we Michigan do with the tenth spot didn’t she loves playing with a tennis ball — her favorite thing today — So we — – with a few other thing we should point out that Border — is part of the one of the smartest dogs is very nice seeing real — things — very fast…
“Well we have posted a picture of her balancing my dinner plates you can do that we’ll try now in the — Valentine’s tiny things had a glass of chocolate — yeah…
“We want to hear from you what should Zelda try to balance — and can really the united choices football — – banana frisbee or I’m actually getting other. Okay we’ll take right and we’ll take righted work out things with.”
At the end of the transcript, there’s a disclaimer saying it has been automatically generated and may not be 100 percent accurate.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 19th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, balance, balancing, border collie, computers, dog, dogs, good morning america, head, hosts, intelligence, media, news, personalities, pets, television, things, transcription, transcripts, tricks, video, zelda
One of the latest sensations sweeping the Internet is a YouTube video that most everybody is reporting shows two dogs Skyping with each other.
“Watch these dogs have a heated Skype convo,” reads the headline on Mashable, accompanied by a video of two wirehaired fox terriers seeming to converse on Skype.
Mashable reports that the dogs have learned to “use technology to stay connected and maintain their long distance relationship.”
“Two Dogs Skype Each Other,” says the Huffpost headline in a piece that also features the video.
Even organizations that often report original news have seized on the alleged Skyping dogs video and presented it as fact.
“Emotional dog friends Skype across the miles” WAFB reports in a story that, like most of the others, first assumes that the dogs are actually Skyping, then goes on to venture guesses on what they might be talking about.
Says KITV: “Skype helps reconnect anyone with distant friends, even dog friends hoping to catch up with each other.”
We’re quite sure dogs do, with help from their owners, Skype each other. And maybe it’s even newsworthy. But the point is these two — despite how numerous media sources are portraying it — aren’t.
We all know the Internet is not a place that lets facts get in the way, but we’d hope that news outlets, at least, would slow down enough to check things out — whether its Skyping dogs, conspiracy theories or celebrity couplings.
What the video actually shows is not two dogs Skyping, but one dog watching a video of another dog.
What makes the snowballing mischaracterization even more amazing is that the owner of Gaytor, in posting the video on YouTube, admits as much. Under the headline “My Dog Can Skype,” she explains that Gaytor enjoys Skyping with other dogs, but admits that, in this particular video, he’s merely watching another dog on a YouTube video.
The video Gaytor is watching and responding to features a wire haired terrier named Basil, also from the UK. Basil’s howls are in reaction to ringtone alerts on his owner’s Blackberry.
As fate, and the Internet, would have it, Basil’s owner saw the video of Gaytor reacting to Basil, and showed it to Basil, who reacted to Gaytor reacting to him.
“Thanks for featuring my Basil video, glad your dog likes to watch it. Basil would love to meet Gaytor someday. I played your movie to him this morning and he sung along to it,” Basil’s owner said in a comment posted to the Gaytor video.
All of which is fun — and perhaps worthy of another video showing Gaytor’s reaction to Basil’s reaction to Gaytor’s reaction to him – but it’s not Skyping.
Here’s the original Basil video:
Posted by jwoestendiek January 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, basil, behavior, computers, conversation, convo, dogs, gaytor, huffington post, huffpost, internet, mashable, media, news, pets, skype, skyping, skyping dogs, terriers, truth, video, wire haired fox terriers, youtube
Wouldn’t you really rather get there in a BMW?
Of course you would, unless “there” happened to be a neutering appointment.
This boxer is eager to hit the road until — thanks to the latest technology — he seems to become aware of the destination, and makes a quick exit.
(To see all our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, advertising, animals, bmw, boxer, cars, commercials, computers, directions, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, gps, marketing, neuter, neutering, pets, video, woof in advertising
Carey Hughes, a longtime friend of ohmidog!, sent along this photo of her dog Bimini, whose attention has been drawn to something on the computer.
Look closely and maybe you can see what website Bim is so caught up in.
It leads us to wonder — how many of the 50,000 visits we’ve been getting a month are actually dogs, logging on after their humans have gone to bed?
Do they visit websites other than ohmidog!?
Do they enjoy some cyberfetch? Order treats delivered? Go on Facebook and post the trivial details of their lives for all to see:
“Rex is looking out the window watching the snow fall. Can’t wait to play in it. I love snow. Rain, not so much. I’m glad I’m not a cat. OMG, I’m so hungry! And I just ate three hours ago. I think I’ll order some treats.”
Maybe that dog who ordered Xbox points via a remote control is just the tip of the iceberg, and dogs around the world are evolving to the point that they understand computers, or at least understand them as much as humans do.
Or maybe not.
In any event, they’re all welcome here.
Keep reading, Bim.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bim, bimini, computers, dog, dog news, dogs, doogle, facebook, google, news, ohmidog!, pets, readers, visitors, website, websites, xbox
Greg Strope claims his dog Oscar, in the process of chewing his Xbox remote control, purchased $62.50 worth of Microsoft Xbox points while he, his roommate and girlfriend were asleep.
Oscar managed to purchased 5,000 Xbox points, thanks in part to the fact that Strope had programmed his credit card information into the remote control of the computer game system.
Nevertheless, Oscar, a Lab-hound mix, turned on the console and, by gnawing the remote, purchased the points, Strope insists.
“I realized it when I checked my phone to see what time it was (I had to be at work soon) and saw the e-mail from Microsoft confirming the purchase for $62.50,” he told Kotaku via email. “At that point it was a little after 5 a.m … not something you want to wake up to.”
Oscar has a history of gnawing, Strope said, having chewed up pillows, boxes, flip flops, socks, slippers, underwear, candles, toiler paper, bottles, work IDs and the living room blinds.
“Now, I can’t call Microsoft and say ‘My dog chewed my controller,’” Strope said. ” That excuse never worked in school for homework, what makes me think that a multi-billion dollar corporation is going to believe it?”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: asleep, chew, chewing, computers, credit card, dog, games, gnaw, gnawing, greg strope, kotaku, microsoft, orders, oscar, points, purchase, remote, sleeping, video, xbox
One cool thing about running your own website — in addition to the fame, fortune, respect, freebies, groupies and the tingly feeling my elbows get from typing so much — is that through the use of a program called Google Analytics, I get to see not just how many people are stopping by, but where you are from, how long you stay, and what’s on your minds.
I can ascertain with but a few clicks, for instance, that 1,498 of you visited Monday, perusing 1,978 pages; that more than 2,000 of you graced us with your presence yesterday. I also know what towns and states you came from, and what led you here. Don’t worry, though, I can’t see into your bedrooms.
Many of you are led here by search engines. Yesterday, for example, 14 ended up here after Googling “dog and elephant,” two after Googling “dog walking in Baltimore,” two by Googling “Biden dog.”
But there was one that landed here after typing in these words: “1 dog died get another 1?”
Abbreviated as the query was, it made me think. Here was a person, I assumed, undergoing some pain and confusion – someone who, on the one hand, was willing to research the dilemma life had thrown at them, and who wanted to do the right thing. On the other hand, I worried, here was a person who might accept the first answer that came up on Google.
We’re becoming a society that thinks our home computers hold all the answers. Maybe, by now, they do. But knowing as I do that what shows up first in search engine results isn’t always the best — that the cream doesn’t always rise to the top — I worry that some of us put a little too much faith in Google, Yahoo and the like.
Like I imagined this woman was doing, when it came to the decision on whether to get a new dog. Maybe she asked a friend or two for advice, maybe it was conflicting. So she turned to what we all turn to nowadays: Tell me, in my hour of need, almighty Internet Search Engine, what should I do? Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek January 7th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, another, computers, death, dependence, depression, died, dog, dog died, economy, google, internet, mourning, new dog, ohmidog!, pets, questions, recession, search engines, shelters, yahoo