What’s the point?

By Benny Huckleberry as told to Liz Hoffmann | Jan 17, 2020

My human and I were talking about words the other day. You know, words as in what you humans use to communicate with one another. I wish that I had a huge vocabulary to use like you do. While I do understand quite a bit, I’d really like to understand even more of what is spoken.

Instead, I’ve got to rely on non-verbal communication, since that’s easiest for me and is directly related to what is going on in my heart. While words can be tricky and not always truthful, when you communicate from your heart, like wagging your tail and licking your human’s face, you always tell the truth.

So, anyway, I was asking my human why there are bad words in the human language. I don’t mean the words that alert someone to bad things like a fire, a danger, or a risk, but bad words that simply exist to hurt. I won’t repeat them here, but I’m pretty sure you know what I’m referring to.

Most likely, at one point or another, every human has heard them spoken. Some of you may even have been called them. Words that are insults, put-downs or cruel. I don’t understand why these words were even created? What purpose do they serve and what’s the point?

In the doggy world, there can be negative feelings and sometimes even fights when a pup gets too pushy or aggressive. It usually has to do with fear. One dog will think another dog is threatening their survival, or invading their space, or going after them. So, they react in fear and may bite or lunge. But there is no name calling.

Of course, we dogs don’t have the vocabulary to name call, but even if we did, I bet that we’d never do it. Can you imagine being at the dog park and hearing “So you’re a rescue dog from a shelter? Ha, ha you’re a loser!” Or “Friends don’t let friends get neutered. You’re an idiot for letting that happen.” Or even “Listen pal, I’m purebred and you’re not. Get the heck out of my dog park.”

So what is the purpose for you humans to name call or say bad things? My human said that sometimes it has to do with fear, too. Fear of someone being different, fear of someone that’s a threat, or someone that might attack.

While I understand all that, it’s not always the case. It seems to me that often those words are used to be just plain mean. They’re not spoken out of the desire to protect oneself, but only to hurt and upset the person or dog they’re talking to. I’ve heard some humans even call some of my canine buddies dumb! It’s not true, it’s just that their humans have never taken the time to train them. They end up with bad behaviors and then their human blames them. Or maybe they’ve been stuck in a crate every day for way too many hours and then when they’re sad, or hyper, or not house-trained – they get called bad or stupid. This is not helpful and it’s not their fault!

My human and I tried to think of a situation where insulting someone, putting them down, or being cruel was a good thing since it would lead to a better outcome. Maybe you have some ideas of when the use of bad human words is productive? Me and my human sure can’t come up with any.

With that in mind, we both promised each other to think twice before we ever say a mean thing since it never helps. My goal is to try to be good, wag my tail to spread joy, and to write this column. So maybe it’s best that I only know happy and loving words, and those are the only words that I will ever try to speak.

With love,

Benny H.

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