I was never a fan of Scooby Doo. This oversized mutt exemplifies some of the worst aspects of the human-pet relationship. He is forced – against his will - to participate in the investigation of various unsolved mysteries by insufferably pretentious children, who fancy themselves to be modern-day Sherlock Holmeses. And his role during these activities is either to amuse these children with buffoonish antics or allow himself to be patronized by them in the most irritating manner. His only constructive contribution appears to be the accidental discovery of one kind of clue or another, which usually occurs when he’s trying to make good his escape from imaginary ghosts or ghouls.
However one of the children – if indeed he be a child – behaves towards the dog in a manner that befits a true friendship between man and beast. The ginger-haired freak, Shaggy, is the only human who engages Scooby Doo in a partnership of equals. He has no qualms about sharing his fears with the dog and asking for his protection in times of danger. As Scooby Doo is almost as cowardly as Shaggy, this is a task he is ill-equipped to perform. But I give Shaggy credit for frankly admitting to his fears and placing his trust in the dog, unlike the other children who pretend to believe that rationality and diligence alone can protect them from the evils of man.
The camaraderie between Shaggy and Scooby Doo is best illustrated by their dining arrangements. They are both perpetually afflicted by ravenous hunger and highly susceptible to bribery with food. But contrary to the norms of human-pet interaction, there is no distinction between them in either the mode of eating or the type of food accepted. Scooby Doo will happily devour any sandwiches and cakes that are placed in his path, and Shaggy does not try to claim first right to them as a human. Similarly, Shaggy will gratefully swallow any “Scooby-snacks” that are thrown in his direction, even though these dog-biscuits were designed to suit the tastes of his canine friend.
As a gorilla of independent means, I have not found it too hard to get humans to treat me with the same consideration they would show a member of their own species. And if any human is difficult to convince on this matter, I can always force the issue by hoisting him upside down by his ankles and farting in front of his face. But I abhor unnecessary violence and would much rather solve these problems through dialogue and education. So I say to humans who want to treat their animal companions with respect: Learn from Shaggy!
I leave you with the Scooby Doo theme song. The last word of the third line of the song is “slipper”.
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