I mention this because I once started a talk about dogs by observing that nearly everyone in the room was white.
How did I know that?
I had not, after all, spoken to this group before and I was, in fact, not even a member of the Association. I had asked no one about the demographics of the room.
I just knew.
I knew because pet dogs are a particular affliction of white Europeans.
Stuff White People Like, dogs come in at #53 of 136. Coffee comes in at #1.
And so I started my presentation:
How many people in this room are non-white? A strange question, eh? You thought this session was about dogs, didn’t you?
The point is that for most of the world, this discussion is strange. In much of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, dogs are not allowed indoors. Who lets an animal indoors that may have fleas and ticks, and that may eat its own feces? Who allows such an animal on the bed? Who lets it lick a child in the face? No one!
So, to put a point on it, this obsession with dogs that we have is, for the most part, a European cultural affliction. Most of the world, believe it or not, does not have this affliction.
So I am odd, and you are odd, and we are odd together!
What we think about dogs is shaped by culture, which in turn is shaped by economics, history, religion and even geography.
So, this love affair with dogs that we share is a bit strange to those that may come from a different culture and a different place, that have a different religious background, or who might be somewhere else on the economic ladder.
So did I close by noting that the coffee pot was out the back door and on the left?
But I could have.