About The Human Society
Dogs are often far more intelligent than we realize, and Paps has taken this to a new level. Thanks to time spent in front of a television he can read many human words, and understands a lot about human technology. This gives him a special perspective in his dealings with humans.
As a show dog Paps is treated well, but there is a gap between him and his human pack. One day he misreads a sign, which suggests a way to bridge this gap. This begins a perilous quest to become human.
Along the way he learns the truth about the canine-human relationship, which leads to a decision that impacts both species.
Told mainly from the perspective of dogs, canine intelligence is featured in a journey from dog shows to puppy mills and beyond.
As with life, The Human Society is part drama, part humor, and a revelation about who we are and how we treat others.
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About the Author
Bill lives in northwestern Pennsylvania with his family and many pets. He is an Edinboro University of Pennsylvania alumnus, with a Bachelor's degree in Russian Language and many years of experience as a computer programmer.
He has written several books, numerous articles, and also designs Android apps.
In 2008 he won an IPPY award (humor) for The Official Guide to Office Wellness.
Of writing, Bill says organization is important. One day he hopes to attain this, but until then he will either wing it, or outline with a passion.
On writing The Human Society, Bill was inspired while driving past the Humane Society, and by his Chihuahua's uncanny ability to influence human behavior. It was as if they could hear each other's thoughts.
Wait...who said that?
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Paps was tempted.
Instinct compelled him to sniff, but intellect advised that his food was always placed in the round container at hunger time, and always satisfied without causing distress. The last time he wolfed down a bit of found human food he was rewarded with wetpoo for a full two cycles. There was nothing wrong with his memory; he walked away from the fallen morsel of pickled tofu.
"Paps." He heard his name and scampered to the room with many chairs. Dianne—his female human—sat on the long, fabric-covered box, and mouth-curved as he approached. Mid-morning sunlight filtered through the window and made distracting patterns along her face and neck, but Paps ignored these and sat at attention near her feet. At ten inches tall and nine pounds, Paps was a prototypical Papillon.
"Good boy!" She rewarded him with a scratch of his left ear. Vaguely resembling a butterfly, the signature ear shape was the inspiration for his breed's name.
Papillon means butterfly in French.
Paps had no idea how Dianne knew just where to touch him, but when her fingers caressed that spot he wanted to lie down, roll over, and offer his stomach for additional attention. He did not.
His discipline was iron. As a Papillon this was matched only by his intelligence, and his energetic belief that he was much larger than his ten-inch height. Actually, he was a smidge over ten inches, and if he grew much taller he would no longer qualify for dog shows. To represent your breed in these conformation events you had to be within design parameters. Show dogs were not perfect, but they had to be close approximations. That was the game. Conform to the standard for your breed, more so than others did for theirs.
Dog Clubs and Dog Shows
The first dog club is often credited to the Brits, who established the Bulldog Club in 1864, which didn't last very long. Perhaps it lacked the tenacity of its namesake. The more permanent Kennel Club was founded on April 4th, 1873 by S.E. Shirley and associates, for the purpose of governing dog shows and related activities. It took a bit longer in the States, as the first American effort was sponsored by the Westminster Kennel Club in 1877. There are now thousands of dog clubs in America. Most of these, often called kennel clubs, are not simply gathering places for dog play. Rather, they are gathering places for enthusiasts interested in preserving the quality of purebred dogs.
In America these clubs tend to be associated with the largest kennel club in the United States, the American Kennel Club, or AKC, which maintains a registry of purebred dogs. While association with the AKC is voluntary, it provides a standardized set of rules and regulations and gives legitimacy to conformation or other events or specialty shows. Conformation is the degree to which a purebred dog meets the ideal for its breed. A conformation event is a contest to determine which dog most closely approaches this ideal. Thus, such dog shows are not a competition of dogs against each other, but a measure of each dog relative to its own purest form. Dog clubs play an important role in preparing for such events.
A high level of commitment to training and care is required for success in a Dog Show. There are strict rules of dog appearance and bearing—called the breed standard—that dictate the end goal, and inform the training regimen required to successfully participate. For the beginner as well as the expert a dog club provides training space, offers information about relevant rules and regulations, and facilitates camaraderie among purebred dog enthusiasts.
Not all dog club members participate in dog shows, and not all dog show participants are members of a dog club. There is, however, a symbiotic relationship between the two, and the bond that links them is the love of dogs.
Seen from afar, it is easy to conclude that dog shows are simply evidence that elitism still thrives in America. The amount of work, expense, and love that owners pour into their canine companions puts this to the lie. These dogs are loved, and while not everyone has the resources to procure, train, and participate, in the end, love doesn't cost a penny.
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