Our dogs are never more vocal than when another dog is on the other side of the fence from them. I’m reminded of this every time we visit my in-laws’ lake house. Poor little Copper dog who lives near their house always gets verbally assaulted upon arrival.
There’s something about the idea of him being “out there” that drives our dogs crazy. Let him inside the gate, the barking stops, the dogs adjust, and they soon forget the supposed threat from moments before.
When I’m in here and you’re out there, when I am part of “us” and you are part of “them,” fear always controls the situation. Remove the fence, blur the divide, the fear goes away.
We still struggle with identity as a whole. We are tribal by nature. Without a “them” we have a hard time understanding the “us.” How easy it is to define who we are by who we aren’t.
We drove out one evening to watch the sunset. A large house right off the water has a #TrumpHouse sign on the edge of the property. As we waited for the sun to go down a boat full of people pulled up in front of the house and in unison shouted, “Build that wall!”
I laughed at the time, because it caught us off guard and was obviously a perfect caricature of the right wing motif (expensive boat, huge mansion, all-white, animosity towards the “other”).
It wasn’t until I sat and watched our dogs the next day erupt in barking towards our unfamiliar furry friend outside the fence that it clicked for me. “Build that wall” suddenly made much more sense. We fear the “other,” but the reality is that we are them and they are us.