I occasionally post pictures of my dog Yoshi wearing underwear (or other items of clothing) on Instagram.
To be fair, he tends to bring it upon himself. He frequently breaks one of our house rules: You steal it, you wear it. Having said that, I'd be lying if I said I don't get overly excited whenever I find him snuggled next to a pair of stolen underwear. And it seems that Yoshi's followers feel the same. The pictures featuring him in underwear — particularly, women's underwear — are among his most appreciated pictures.
But, not everybody likes a dog in panties. In fact, I've come across some folks who get downright offended by these pictures. Among the various complaints, there's one I find particularly interesting —
"You're humiliating the dog. Through this act, you are putting yourself above him. It's about the most offensive thing you can do to him."
Yes, someone's actually said that to me. In person. Five minutes after they met me for the first time (ignore that somehow I snuck a picture of my dog in panties into the conversation within 5 minutes of meeting someone). I decided to egg him on a little —
"But, I am above him. And cats, chickens, cows, lamb, goats, fish, and all sorts of other creatures. Heck, I eat half of them, so he should just be happy I don't eat him."
He seemed a little take aback by my response. I continued —
"I figure that I already put myself above Yoshi and his friends on a daily basis as a carnivore, so I may as well have some fun with it."
He obviously missed that I was just being hyperbolic to make a point. A fellow meat-eater, I could tell he wanted to refute it. As I've written in the past in a related post, the typical rebuttal that meat-eaters often use is the sustenance argument: it's OK to kill animals for sustenance, but it's not right to humiliate them for comedic relief. It's about as weak as an argument could get. Most of us don't go out and kill our own game for survival. In fact, we don't really eat meat for survival anymore. Most of us eat meat for pleasure. It's a personal preference fulfilled by the industrial agricultural revolution which, for the most part, through its no-bullshit, "efficient" and resultantly despicably cruel practices eliminate any doubt about our place in the food chain, i.e. at the top.
But we don't really think about this, and therein lies the rub.
It turns out that we can easily fool ourselves into believing that our moral fabric is far superior than it actually is. All that is needed is some distance between us and the true crime. Studies show that stealing a credit card number is much less difficult from a moral perspective than stealing cash from someone's wallet. And the more levels of indirection there are between actual cash and representative monetary objects, e.g. tokens, debit and credit cards, coupons, credit swaps, mortgages, derivatives, etc., the easier it is for us to steal and believe we haven't stolen.
My underwear-stealing Weimaraner Yoshi seems to reap the benefits of this self-deception as well. He continues to steal underwear from the laundry basket in spite of the steal, wear, repent cycle.
Or maybe he just likes wearing women's underwear.