Letter to the Editor: A Letter From An Actual Dog

By Los Alamos Dog

First off, I guess I should apologize for being a dog in Los Alamos. People seem to be getting really annoyed with us lately. But hear me out (I’m not barking right now, just talking), because I have a few things to say.

You humans domesticated us long ago, and we actually thank you for that. We enjoy our lives with you, sleeping indoors on warm beds, always getting fed each day, getting medical care when we need it, and being on the receiving end of lots of love from you. But, no matter how much you may treat us like humans, we are still dogs.

We are territorial by nature, and that means we bark to alert our pack members (you) that something has entered our area that may be a danger. It could be a bear, a skunk (we never learn our lesson on that one), or a human. We can’t decipher actual threats like you can – we go by instinct, and instinct tells us to protect ourselves and our pack from anything that might hurt us. So we bark – kind of like you humans might yell or scream if you felt threatened.

We really don’t understand why barking bothers you, because, to us, it’s a very natural response to a perceived threat of any kind. We do it to protect you. Also, we don’t wear watches since we can’t tell time, so we don’t know when the inappropriate time to bark is – any time is fine with us.

We dogs, the givers of unconditional love and loyalty to humans, do not mean to bother you, annoy you, or anger you. We are just dogs, man’s best friend, and, though many of our owners try to make us over into some kind of robots who do (and don’t do) things on command, most of us just enjoy our own dog ways. Sure, we like it when you teach us to be polite and such, but trying to teach us to not be dogs just doesn’t work.

I can only speak for myself, but I love my humans, and I, being a dog, will do anything to protect my humans. Yes, that may include barking at what I think are threats, but I also try to listen when my owner tells me to be quiet. “Quiet” means to me that the threat is nothing to worry about. But I will still bark at the same threat if it appears again, because I’m a dog.

I wonder if the problems with you people being so upset about us barking has more to do with how you all feel about your neighbors than it does with our actual barking. Sure, I understand that no one wants to be awakened by a barking dog. I think owners should keep their dogs inside at night, like me. If they can’t even provide that little bit of comfort to their dog, maybe they should rethink having a dog. But maybe you humans should examine your own attitudes towards your neighbors.

There are many things in my neighborhood I don’t like (the cats, the cars, rain, squirrels, kids teasing me, the meter man – I could go on), but I try to keep things in perspective. There are many more things I like about my neighborhood, and I try to focus on those. Life is too short for me to spend my days being upset about annoyances – I just try to be happy all the time and ignore the small stuff.

Barking dogs, noisy cars, teenage parties, construction work – they all seem to annoy you humans. It’s almost as if you just want to be grouchy all the time. If you find yourself falling into that trap, kind of the “get off my lawn” thinking, you know what I suggest? Get a dog! Nothing better to make you happy, and more tolerant of life in general.

Thanks for listening, humans.

Editor’s Note: The writer of this letter requested its name be withheld.