Dogs as an extension of a police gun
I woke up to this photo in my Instagram feed this morning. It shook me. In the wake of two high-profile mass school shootings — SantaFe, TX and Parkland, FL — the recklessness of it enraged me.
I posted a few comments on the photo, both in Instagram and Twitter, but if I can push it even further into the narrative and reach even one more reader, it will be worth it.
Dogs are not offensive weapons. They are there to protect the peace officer, enter dangerous situations, minimize or neutralize threats to human life and sniff out illegal substances.
They are not an extension of a gun.
They do not autonomously decide what is or is not the ethical treatment of another human being, but rely on the judgement of their handler for direction in this critical point of interaction.
To display your K9 while pointing a weapon at your audience is a reckless show of force that should have us all questioning the judgement of this dog’s handler.
Moreover, it stereotypes a German Shepherd as a dangerous animal when they are not. German Shepherds are mostly kind animals who are just lovable puppy-brains, wrapped up in big jaws and paws.
This sort of photo does not help those of us who live with, care for and know the breed well.
This dog has a job; one that he has been trained to do by a human being. When the vest comes off, he’s just a dog at his core, one who seeks out and accepts love and attention and gives back many times over.
Photos like this make me very angry… and then, very sad. I hope if you feel the same way, you will seek out this photo and reply appropriately in the comments. Mostly, I hope they delete it, realizing the social harm it perpetrates.
The Patriarchal Cross tattoo on her finger is also disturbing to me, but that perhaps is a discussion for another day.
Here is my German Shepherd, Charlie, as I will always remember him; as a kind-hearted, lovable companion and friend. (RIP)