03 December 2008

Declaration of the Rights of Dog

Quite possibly the only creature on earth
for which the French have no delicious recipe.

While contemplating the enormous pile of turds deposited on my doorstep Sunday morning, I was reminded that the French do not treat their dogs as the Americans do. French people visiting America are horrified that city ordinances prevent them from bringing Toutou and Champion to sit at the table with them in fancy restaurants, or to enjoy the art in museums, or to take in a Broadway show. Americans visiting Paris, for their part, are horrified that about the only restriction placed on dogs in this country is that, in the Métro, the larger ones are required to wear a muzzle. Beyond this, the little scamps seem to be welcome everywhere, except possibly hospital operating rooms, and they do (and doo-doo) as they please. So the French go home, where they tell their neighbors that the Americans are barbaric and cruel; and the Americans return to tell their neighbors that the French are barbaric and unsanitary.

I have lived in both countries long enough to be able to provide a service to all: that is, to explain to the Americans that exceeding hospitality toward pets is more than a custom in this country. It is, as I have learned, a political philosophy, enshrined in a law that is upheld by everyone. Though this law has, until now, remained almost entirely unwritten and unpublished, the French are extremely proud of it. Thus the first service I offer is to the French, to explain to them that the Americans have no such law; the second is to publish it, first in English, then in French.

Affirmed in Paris, December 2, 2008

Considering that the recognition of the dignity inherent in all members of the dog family and of their rights, equal to those of humans and inalienable, constitutes the foundation of liberty, justice and peace in the world;

Considering that the failure to recognize and the disdain of the rights of dog have led to acts of barbarity, such as closed doors at top restaurants, clean sidewalks, and the loss of dignity and the great suffering sustained by any animal forbidden to shit where it likes;

Considering that the advent of a world where dogs are free from tyranny and poverty, and also from leashes and pooper-scoopers, has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of man;

The French People proclaim: 1) The rights of dog in society are freedom, equality, security, dignity. 2) Freedom consists of the power to do that which doesn’t harm the rights of others very much, foul odors and dirty soles not included. 3.) Equality consists of laws that are the same for all, whether they be humans, whether they be canines. 4) Security is the result of the efforts of all to ensure the rights of each dog. 5) Dignity is the right to make one’s own decisions, though incapable of expressing oneself except through yapping or pissing and shitting everywhere, without prohibition or advice from a human.

6) No dog may be constrained to do anything he does not want to do, no matter how many kisses and treats you give him. 7) No dog may be trained or put on a leash except according to his will. 8) Reprimanding a dog or making it wait outside on the sidewalk are forms of abuse, like advising a dog not to shit on the public walkways. 9) Dog shit is a work of art, worthy of the respect of all, never to be created or to be placed either on the curb or in the gutter.

The original text, in French, follows.

Décrétée à Paris, le 2 nivôse de l’an CCXVI

Considérant que la reconnaissance de la dignité inhérente à tous les membres de la famille canine et de leurs droits égaux à ceux des humains et inaliénables constitue le fondement de la liberté, de la justice et de la paix dans le monde ;

Considérant que la méconnaissance et le mépris des droits du chien ont conduit à des actes de barbarie, tels que les portes des restaurants de qualité barrées, les trottoirs propres, et la perte de dignité et la grande souffrance subies par aucun animal interdit de chier là où il le veut ;

Considérant que l’avènement d’un monde où les chiens sont libres de la tyrannie et de la misère, et aussi de la laisse et du « pooper-scooper », a été proclamé comme la plus haute aspiration de l’homme ;

Le Peuple Français proclame: 1) Les droits du chien en société sont la liberté, l’égalité, la sûreté, la dignité. 2) La liberté consiste à pouvoir faire ce qui ne nuit pas trop aux droits d’autrui, les puanteurs et les semelles malpropres non comprises. 3) L’égalité consiste en ce que la loi est la même pour tous, soit qu’ils sont humains, soit qu’ils sont canins. 4) La sûreté résulte du concours de tous pour assurer les droits de chaque chien. 5) La dignité est le droit de prendre ses propres décisions, bien qu’incapable de s’exprimer sauf par glapir ou par pisser et chier partout, sans interdiction, sans conseil humain.

6) Nul chien ne peut être contraint de faire ce qu’il ne veut pas. 7) Nul chien ne peut être dressé ou tenu en laisse que dans les cas déterminés par sa volonté, sans compter le nombre de bisous et de bonbons qu’il aurait reçus. 8) Le blâme et l’exclusion sont des formes d’abus, pareilles au conseil à un chien de ne pas chier sur les voies publiques. 9) L’ordure canine est une œuvre d’art, digne du respect de tous, ne jamais à créer ni à être posée ni aux bordures ni aux ruisseaux de la rue.

There you have it. It should be noted that increasing numbers of Americans are showing more civilized and enlightened attitudes toward their dogs. To judge by the sidewalks of some neighborhoods in New York, or by the way a certain older couple I know in Texas let their dog shit all over the house, particularly just under the bed where I sleep when I visit them, there is hope yet for America. Vive la liberté canine!

A work of art


Anonymous said...

That's a very fine-focused camera you have. Yech!

William V. Madison said...

I got the picture off the Internet — the deposit on my doorstep was in truth quite a bit smaller.

In any case, the “art” is a hell of a reward to those readers who’ve made it all the way through the French text, isn’t it?

(av)Uncle(ular) Peter said...

Hilarious and dog-(not)gone quite bwilliant. That picture reminds me of a fine Indian Pudding I enjoyed once at the Howard Johnson's in New Haven.......Hey Billé. PL here.