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Man’s best friend

Monday 14 November 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Man’s best friend
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

It’s been a hard day’s night and I’ve been working like a dog (Beatles) – this has been a phrase used for ages to describe where an employee is at the mercy of the employer and is made to work on a task without taking any breaks, writes Ruta Mave.

Work becomes a hard miserable unhappy existence. This used to be seen as, and still exists for some, working farm dogs who are out in all weathers rounding up livestock and often left in outside in all weathers. This treatment of dogs until worn out and extremely tired has led to the phrase of being ‘dog tired’ when one feels exhausted.

Working like a dog also captions those with a positive drive to go the extra mile and work extremely hard to achieve greater production or success. They will doggedly work in a manner that shows tenacity and grim persistence with strong determination. A certain number are dogmatic where they are inclined to lay down principles as undeniably true. These traits in a person often help them become the ‘Top Dog’.

The descriptions of dogs are usually of neutral connotation whereas describing one as a mutt or hound rolls over into characterising people’s behaviour as negative and saying one is a pure-bred is meant to elevate the impression of their status. However, the use of the terminology of a dog is still used in certain slang to refer to more often a male, to mean he was dirty unfaithful or a skirt-chaser. These negative connotations are interesting when a dog is said to be a loyal companion.

It was 1789 that King Frederick of Prussia first coined the phrase “dog is a man’s best friend” and over the centuries as dogs became more domesticated this has been proven time and again – the family dog has been a trusting loyal and faithful companion.

The life of a dog in the past described one of hardship, neglect and boredom. Now it is a positive. Having a dog’s life has become one that denotes a life of indolence where the individual may do as he or she pleases like a pampered dog. Calling someone a dog now, is often used by men to denote a close male friendship. Terminology changes over the years and within different context.

Dogs have become such a part of human life they have become a lucrative commodity. How much is that doggy in the window? Human’s will pay thousands of dollars for a dog when equally thousands lay homeless and abandoned in shelters where if not claimed after a time will be euthanised regardless if they are a mutt or a pure bred.

Our dog shelter in Rarotonga is full to capacity with healthy fun-loving dogs whose owners have abandoned them when they leave the island or whose owners have not taken the steps to have their dogs desexed to stop the unwanted births of puppies.

A visiting vet once said Raro dogs displayed the most natural dog behaviour he had seen. Sitting on the beach, catching fish, playing with tourists and adopting them whilst on holiday and keeping the beach clean, the dogs follow the natural rules of the animal kingdom.

Unfortunately, a wounded dog will bite, so will an abused, hungry, scared and neglected dog. Dogs are loyal and that is why they return to owners who kick and beat them. Like domestic violence when love is desired but unrequited then any form of contact means you have their attention for a moment. A good man can be a purebred or mutt but look at how he treats his dog. Woman, if he loves and pampers the dog so too will he pamper you. If he mistreats dogs while expecting obedience then so shall he ask of you.