Here at thebark.com, we welcome and celebrate new voices—young writers who are devoted to dogs and their well-being. In this essay, 19-year-old Vedika Shah certainly meets both criteria, and we’re pleased to make her work available to our readers.

 

Many dog-lovers across the globe think that “loving” a dog means treating the dog like a person—sometimes to the extent that they expect their dogs to think and behave rationally as a human would. Our unconscious desire to project humanlike demands, aspirations, wants and needs onto dogs is not only unfair and disrespectful to the dog, it can also be a threat to the dog’s mental and physical health.

As humans, we tend to anthropomorphize dogs for our own satisfaction. Looking at and understanding them through a human lens is far easier than learning how they communicate. I’ve been guilty of this myself, and often still am. For…

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