Monday, November 21, 2005

Is Bigger Better?

The things we wonder about sometimes...

Okay. I'll confess. I've sometimes wondered about male dogs lifting their legs to pee. Oh, yes, I know their style has something to do with marking and claiming territory, but why do some dogs (like Ridge, for example, right) seem to painfully contort their bodies for higher aim, while others barely get their legs off the ground? And some male dogs, like Baxter, relieve themselves with a distinctly feminine squat (is there such a thing?) as if they don't care. What's with that?

The Secret Lives of Dogs: The Real Reasons Behind 52 Mysterious Canine Behaviors by Jana Murhpy answered my questions.

What I read in this book affirms that I was correct in assuming that canine male urinary habits result in territoial markings. Ahhhh, but what I didn't know is that height (i.e., how high the marking is) apparently means something, too. Especially to other dogs.

It seems that male dogs "aim high" to make themselves appear bigger. :o)

LOL. How ironic that one of my recent LabTails posts was about human-like traits in canines (anyone remember the Saturday Night Live skit about men, "manhood" size, and restroom paper towels?). Like our canine friends, we think bigger is better, too. Or we think others think so.

But for humans, "bigger" isn't limited to physical size/traits. And it's definately not limited to males.

In American culture, men and women alike want what's "bigger": We want bigger names, bigger senses of importance, bigger reputations, bigger paychecks, bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger respect, bigger (or better) toys and technology, bigger food helpings, bigger spheres of influence, and bigger portions of the prosperity pie.

But at what cost?

When Ridge twists his spine to appear bigger, his only consequence is a bit of splatter and an occasional loss of balance. :o)

Our pursuit of "bigger-ness," on the other hand, can cost us our financial security (think of our massive consumer debt), our integrity (think of Enron), our time (think of 80-hour work weeks), our friendliness with neighbors (think of empty front porches), our health (think of stress-related heart attacks, strokes, and ulcers), our loved ones (think of family lives sacrificed on the altar of career), and ultimately, perhaps, our peace of mind (think of later-in-life regret).

Maybe bigger isn't really better afterall (despite what advertisers proclaim). Maybe it's just an illusion.

My good friend, Kathy, owns a Maltese named Bentley. And at six pounds, Bentley holds every bit of value to his family as our 260 pounds of combined Labs do for us.

Size isn't everything.

I suspect, at least in the human arena, it's the things we can't measure that count most.

'Til next time,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, Bentley is weighing in at a whopping 9 pounds at present. He likes "bigger" people food as to his tiny morsels of dog food!