An op-ed piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune referred to dogs as "parasitic" and people on Twitter weren't having it.
The article by Chris Reed referenced and echoed science journalist Stephen Budiansky's 2000 book The Truth About Dogs, which originated as a cover article in The Atlantic and sought to redefine the meaning behind the relationship between man and canine using science.
In Reed's article, after detailing some of the extreme ways in which our society has come to pamper dogs (plastic surgery, designer clothes, spas) and position them as equals or near equals in our lives (referring to ourselves as their mommy or daddy), he argued that dogs are closer to master manipulators than man's best friend.
The piece ended:
So is that love in your dog’s eyes — or is that the look of a con man sizing up his mark? Science says it’s the latter. Sorry, world.
The full article appeared on Twitter:
In the opinions of many commenters on the thread, Morris Animal Refuge was the real hero of the day, using the op-ed piece as a way to attract attention to dogs like Comet that are in need of adoption.
Just look at his sweet face:
Sweet adoptable boy Comet has no idea that this piece is saying he’s a parasite. So he’s just happily grinning his big goofy grin at you, @sdutIdeas. The least you can do is RT to help him find a loving home! https://t.co/aWuOrIB5so 🐶 pic.twitter.com/vTxZt0aaLM— Morris Animal Refuge (@MorrisAnimal) July 12, 2018
I'm crying i want this dog so bad. I want all the dogs— 🦙🌿Amanda 🌿🦙 (@TheSparklyLlama) July 13, 2018
Well done! May this sweetie find his hero. My rescue dogs and cats save my life every day. The person who called dogs parasites sucked away my time like a mosquito. Now that’s parasitic.— Mary Lou George (@marylougeorge2) July 12, 2018
For many, the parasite comment cut deep. After all, animals are incredible helpers to us humans.
People use dogs to search and rescue, act as helpers top blind and disabled and for many years as guard and working dogs, for many people they are friends and not parasites— The Little Disturber (@Victori45792596) July 12, 2018
Tell that to the kids whose dogs have kept them warm at night when lost out bush. There are dogs who’ve saved their families from fire, taken down criminals, dogs for the blind, dogs who assist veterans of war & who help owners with medical conditions. Humans are the parasites.— 🇦🇺 Megzy (@Mooglet1) July 13, 2018
Lashing out at the idea of our favorite four-legged companions being merely parasites, Twitter users told personal stories about some of the tough times their dogs helped them through.
Here are some stories people shared:
When my Danish grandfather was a boy, he wandered into a bull's field. His dachshund threw himself in front of the bull to save my grandfather's life. He always had a fondness for the breed after that.— J Lind 🌎 (@jaalyn) July 13, 2018
This is roger and Perry. They were here for my dad when he had stage four brain cancer. They knew when he didn’t feel good and would cuddle with him to make him feel better .I’m sorry to say he lost his fight with cancer and I can truely they miss him as much I as I do. pic.twitter.com/bDkWNvwDCw— river burrell (@dshrburr) July 14, 2018
Proud to call this old girl my fur baby. This dog stood by protectively of me when I was going through cancer treatments. She still stands by me when I am not having a good day. It’s my pleasure to not only harbor her legally but to ensure she has the best food & care possible. pic.twitter.com/H2xBANA2aC— Patricia Traina (@Patricia_Traina) July 12, 2018
The overall vibe on Twitter, in a nutshell: