Why do we make the choices we do? Why does our brain make us do this or that? I often wonder…
Meet Cartman. He found himself at the BARC animal shelter through no fault of his own. He didn’t have a name, so being a fan of South Park, I named him Cartman, after Eric Cartman. I mean, the likeness is uncanny. And he does love Cheesy Poofs, just like Cartman. And he’s not fat, just big boned, like Cartman. So, you can see how I arrived at the name Cartman.
I’ve been volunteering at the shelter for years. I’ve taken pictures and interacted with thousands of dogs. Sure, I have my favorites, but I can never for the life of me figure out why people like certain dogs. I just find it odd that crowds of people go nuts over certain dogs while others are left by the wayside.
Case in point. When Cartman got to the shelter, at least twelve people stood in line to adopt him. It wasn’t like a stampede trampling people at Wally World the day after Thanksgiving in search of the elusive big screen TV on sale, but still a lot of people had their heart set on adopting that one dog. And that’s a beautiful thing.
But I wonder what the appeal of Cartman was to the masses. Don’t get me wrong, he was a cute little boy. But let’s face it, he was a little hyperactive, he was a little wild, he liked to jump up on people, and you can bet the farm he snores. Most of the things can be corrected, except for the snoring perhaps. And while Cartman was a snappy dresser, what made him better than the dogs in kennels right next to him? Or dogs in any of the other kennels? There was Adelle, Bridgette, Brooke, Debbie, Hank, Crispin…I could go on and on.
In my mind, a lot of these other dogs were certainly better looking. And definitely better behaved. And dare I say, probably didn’t snore. Why were they passed over for Cartman? You can bet volunteers were pointing this out to potential adopters, most of who left disappointed and without a new pet.
It’s human nature. That’s the only thing I can think of. Almost like groupthink, where people set aside their own beliefs and substitute them for what everyone else is thinking. They need to have that one dog, who they have never met. And if they don’t get that dog, they’re disappointed and jealous. And may leave without even looking at Cherry, who is a far superior animal and potential family member – right next to Cartman.
Human nature. We always want what that other person has. If only we could just have that, we would be so happy. Would we really? Probably not. But we feel like that anyway. Oh, look at that cool car! Check out those shoes! I love that house! I wish I had a dog like that!
We think if we could just be like someone else or have their things, that would make our life so much better. Trust me, it won’t. That’s not where happiness comes from. But it’s human nature. To want. To need. To be jealous. It’s so easy to fall into that trap, and like a Hamster spinning endlessly around on his wheel, we get so caught up with human nature we don’t stop to think what it is that heals our hearts and makes us truly happy.
Sometimes, it takes a little work to maybe tell one of twelve people anxiously waiting in line for the the same dog that everyone just has to have, “You go ahead and adopt him, I’ll find another dog.” Cartman only needs one person to make him happy and take care of him. Hundreds of other dogs (every bit as deserving) need help and love too.
Human nature. It’s a funny thing. Sometimes you have to fight it to truly be human. It can be done. I’ve seen it. Probably not enough, but it’s out there. Okay, that will be $150 for the free therapy. Dammit, there’s that human nature thing kicking in again, because everyone knows, nothing is free. Or is it?