Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about tails. You know, those emotionally-driven limbs that make it impossible to contain any feeling under the skin.
Dogs are considered to be man’s best friend. Simple as that. But what makes the bond between man and dog so beautiful is a variety of things: 1. They are the emblems of unconditional love; 2. They have complex personalities, just like we do; 3. They experience the same emotions as humans, such as fear, sadness, loneliness, excitement, and attachment; 4. While yet to master the human language, dogs effectively communicate a dynamic emotional experience to humans on a minute-by-minute basis.
Originally, tails were a part of the body solely for the purpose of balance. Over time, however, dogs tails’ took on a new primarily role as communicators. For a creature that will never master English, Mandarin, German, or French, a dog’s tail can translate any feeling into universally comprehensive words at the drop of a hat. Dogs use their tails as social cues for other dogs, animals, and humans. In fact, research shows that most dogs don’t use their tails at all when alone, because there is no one to communicate with.
“Dogs that are behaving appropriately in social systems use their bodies and tails to communicate with other dogs even as they are observing the tails and body position of other dogs. This helps them avoid unnecessary conflicts,” explains Dr. E’Lise Bell of Veterinary Behavioral Consultations of NYC.
Simply understanding the speed, direction, and position of a dog’s wagging tail is a worm hole into a dog’s brain, which serves as the library of textbooks holding the secret’s to a dog’s honesty, intentions, and emotions. For humans, this has to be BY FAR the easiest example of “figuring someone out.”
So many people and relationships are destroyed because of human’s issues lacking ability to communicate their feelings. When did we decide that to be ‘strong’ you must hide your feelings from strangers as well as those closest to you? Who told us that to get ahead in life, you must master the art of emotional manipulation and learn to never leave yourself vulnerable to that from others.
After many years filled by humans hiding and ignoring our feelings, we lost the ability to recognize our own feelings, let alone effectively communicate them to others. Along with that, we lost the ability to effectively empathize with others’ emotional experiences, the key to building trusting relationships.
I see my community not in a state of emotional distress but of emotional deficiency. This is a seriously sad case of social evolution and begs the question: would we all get along better if we just had some tails?