By Jeff Lazarus


Introducing a humorous exploration of Man’s Fur-ocious Devotion to Dogs: The “bones” of Dogtology: Its definition, its roots, and—OK, I’ll just say it—its dog-ma.

The Belief in Dog Every human believes in something. Some believe in a “supreme being.” Others believe in the supremacy of science. Some believe in creationism, others in evolution. Still others believe in nothing whatsoever. (These tend to be the most ardent believers of all.) Many of humankind’s deepest beliefs have evolved into systems of thought and national institutions. For example, hockey is the unofficial religion of Canada. Some beliefs are held only temporarily, such as belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or jobs with pension plans. Other beliefs can last a lifetime, such as the belief that bacteria observe a five-second grace period before jumping onto a nacho chip dropped on the floor. Some belief systems—be they political, social, or spiritual—have popular names and are openly embraced by billions of human beings around the world. Then there are beliefs that are practiced with unwavering devotion, even though their followers may be completely unaware they are practicing an official faith. Dogtology is one such faith. In fact, it’s one of the most practiced beliefs on the planet and has been gathering momentum ever since the first canines came sniffing around the first human caves looking for fresh scraps and bones. And now, at last, Man’s longstanding, fanatical devotion to Dog has an official name: Dogtology.

So what, exactly, is Dogtology? Although a love of dogs is a base requirement of all card-carrying Dogtologists, the system of belief is more than just that. Dogtology is a belief that recognizes Dog as a genuinely elevated being. Dogtologists aren’t just fond of dogs, they exalt them (“worship” is too strong a word... but not by much!). If you are a Dogtologist, here are just a few symptoms of your belief system: you relentlessly email dog photos, dog-toons, dog videos, and dog PowerPoint slideshows to everyone on your contacts list, regardless of the thundering silence you receive in response.

You give birthday and holiday gifts to and from your dog— and you wrap them. You send only greeting cards with pictures of dogs on them with phrases like “Muzzle Tov!” or “Happy Barktism!” or “Happy Bark Mitzvah!”

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In short, if future archaeologists were to dig up your home and catalog its contents, they would conclude, without hesitation, that Dog was your central object of religious devotion. The veritable shrines humans build to their dogs—in their homes, around their communities, and in the media—are proof positive that Dogtology is indeed a bone-a-fide belief system that stands proudly alongside all the other great isms and ologies of the world. Dogtology, as understood by practicing Dogtologists, can be defined as: The unconditional, loving belief in Dog as a superior being and, in many ways, Man’s savior. Chew on that for a while.

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