There are certain things in one life that you can count on without question. A best friend who is always going to be there for you without question, one that loves you without question, wants to be apart of your life, and regardless what happens is 100% loyal.
No, I'm not talking about your two legged friends but your dog. There is no doubt that my dogs are very important to me. First there is Rudy, who has been through thick and thin with me, and Sadie who has her own independent streak, but will lick your face until your soaking wet. Don't get me wrong I love my husband without question, and we both spoil our dogs.
But why are gay men especially more loyal to their dogs and vice versa? There are a few key factors making dogs grateful for they gay owners: 1) Within the gay "family" dogs usually don't have to play second oboe to two-legged children. 2) Dogs are, by nature, greedy. They don't like to share their meals, toys or their owners, and lets face it gay men can be just as greedy, however, we will share our toys with men if they buy us a meal. 3) Dogs love to be the spoiled "kids" of any gay couple - two incomes and all the baubles and nylon bones that money can buy.
So, what is the difference between gay dog owners and straight one? Regardless of sexual orientation, any sensible, responsible person can make a great owner. There are horrible gay and straight owners, and there are wonderful ones as well. A sensible, responsible gay man will commit to a dog, the dog becomes his family, his kid, and truly important part of his world. The dog is not a rite of passage to a future husband, two kids, and a second home in Nantucket (just saying, and it might assist you in finding this fantasy life).
I've heard that when breeders, rescuers, or shelter-dog adoption counselors see a potential dog owner who is gay, they tend to jump for joy, figuring that dog will enjoy a great, pampered life. Is there truth in this stereotype? It's a known fact that gay men tend to spoil their dogs, treating them like true family and giving them high priority. For most gay men dogs exist as substitutes for lovers, children, close family, and maybe even good friends, and unlike most lovers, dogs truly enjoy being used and don't panic when they decide that you're devoting too much time to them. Dogs believe in commitment and are defined by their loyalty. Secretly, I would think most gay men wouldn't mind being a dog, even when they're standing.
"The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love unconditionally as a dog." - M.K. Clinton (Author)
Acceptance, tolerance, unconditional love... These are things dogs give everybody, but gay people haven't always been the beneficiaries of such gifts from their fellow humans. Are gays especially appreciative of that canine love - more, perhaps, than someone who's never experienced intolerance or prejudice? I mean dogs are not judgmental, they will sleep with you any night you come home, even if you reek of another dog. Dogs will accept you for who you are, they don't care whether you sleep with a men, women, or stray cats. In fact, they'd prefer you share your bone with someone as long as they're not left out in the cold.
According to Dr. Sheldon, DVM "Many gay men feel a disconnect with their own families. Dogs live to connect, and the unconditional love a dog offers when he raises a paw or rubs his noes in his new owner's crotch maybe the first moment of "family" a gay man experiences".
One of the great takeaways of any dog, is the idea that commitment doesn't have to hurt anybody. Is a gay man quicker to give his whole hear to a dog? "I don't see gayness having much to with how open you are to giving of your heart or yourself", states Dr. Sheldon. "He also stated there are plenty of gay men who wouldn't expend the energy to water a Christmas cactus, much less care for a needy dog."
But it's fair to say that gay men are unafraid of exaggeration, moved by strong emotion and passion, and tend to go a wee bit over the top for their dog(s). For myself and most gays we live for our dogs, we give our whole hearts to everything we love, and our dogs are on the top of the list, and at times right above our partners, parents, friends, and personal trainers.
Image: istockphot.com Purchased for commercial use./ Robby Robinson used with permission
Source: James, Dale & Small, Ellen.The Two of Us: A Book About Dogs and Their Owners.Andrews, McMell Publishing. Nov. 6, 2012.Electronic.