After hearing a suggestion to make up breed names for shelter dogs like a Twisted Tail Malty Terrier or a Tennessee Spotted Hound, to remind adopters that mixed breeds are one of a kind, I saw a response in a dog blog about fanciers of pure bred dogs doing just the opposite. A Dogue de Bordeaux keeper calls his dogs French Mastiffs rather than repeat the name while an observer tries to understand it. A section in the book Rin Tin Tin describes dog actors including one stunt dog's stint in the hospital,a human hospital, after being shot. These are signs of change and that our drive to protect dogs has gone wrong.
Anyone who respects a dog knows most do not want items on their heads or feet. Sure, you can teach your dog to allow you to trim his nails or ask him to wear a party hat in exchange for treats while you take a picture. I would venture that some retrievers are so interested in belly rubs and cookies they don't care what they have to do as long as treats are forthcoming. I'm not even saying that you shouldn't put a party hat on a dog. I'm recognizing it as a symptom of humanizing a pet that is a sign of a total misunderstanding of other species.
We used to put animals on trial for deeds they committed that would have been a crime had a person been involved. For example, a pig was pardoned because the court held that protecting her piglets from a child in the town square was acceptable. That it was her owner's responsibility for allowing her to escape in the first place. We used to respect animals as individuals and, within reason, hold them responsible.
In United States, the organized drive started about 100 years ago. A rich man with idle resources witnessed a horse owner manhandling his pony in the city streets. He intervened and was supported because everyone understood the horse handler was bad and should be punished. What resulted was requirements for working horses in New York City to have mandatory vacation (5 weeks per year!) and other protections. Those rules are still enforced today. Somehow the legend goes that without such laws, horses would be in grave danger. The truth is the first settlers to this continent included protecting beasts from over work as law. The truth is people are good to animals, save a few who are not good for anyone.
Rather than serving as proof of the generosity and kindness of humans who intervene, these stories create a myth of the dangerous caretaker as commonplace. The animal protection movement has been deranged by human victims of mistreatment to justify their misanthropy. Their followers are made up of people in cities and suburbs who have limited contact with sentient beings other than humans. It's easy to convince them that anyone who works with animals is holding them captive because who would work if she didn't have to? This is a twisted message about human laziness and psychological trauma that creates an unhealthy world view.
Animals, including humans, are not unconditionally loving beings that need our protection or worse, require us to step out of their lives completely so they can run free. They are other nations (as Henry Beston put it) that share the world with us. Many species, especially dogs and horses, need community as much as we do. With the exception of the odd human who lives with the wolves, apes or elephants or a dog who prefers human companionship to his own kind, we normally flow in and out of our human world into theirs and they into ours. This has been nature's way for tens of thousands of years.
If you know anything about wolves you would laugh at Konrad Lorenz's idea (he tried to take it back) that a tribal chief's daughter came home with a wolf puppy, who after a few generations of forcing curly coated wolves to mate, became a Poodle. Yet, it's important to understand people believe that because from that belief comes another. That humans somehow engineered the dog against the wishes of nature. Further, they believe that this wrong must be righted by ending the existence of all domesticated animals. (look up abolitionist animal rights if you don't believe me). If you have ever tried to do anything against nature (all farmers know this) you would not only scoff at that notion but you might shed a tear over the times you tried. Man is not capable of defying nature in the long run. The idea that he does it at anytime is amazing and awe inspiring but it is only for a moment at a time.
By obsessing over the idea that some non humans have been mistreated by some humans, we've created a generation of Americans who have no idea of the partnership between man and beast as a way to move through the earth together. They've created a mythical land where humans are all powerful and animals should suffer nature unaided rather than suffer the companionship of a good man. It seems the fantasy includes wolves who live peaceably in the forest, gently raising their cubs and only taking the sick and weak herd animals if they absolutely have to eat, of elephants who roam the savannah eating luscious grasses to their hearts' content, and of birds migrating to a lovely vacation spot in the tropics. The truth is that 100% of living beings die and leave this earth. Most a short time after being born. We don't know what our energy becomes after life but for now, it's in a body that gets hungry, hunted and exposed to the elements. By working together, us and them, we stave off the effects of nature as lovely as she is, and better each others lots. Dumbing down dogs to beings who are nothing but companions to lunch ladies is absurd. They've hunted, farmed, guarded and fought with us as long as we've been thriving. Anthropologists and ethologists continually find more proof of this rather than less. In particular the Borzoi, who in it's very description includes the quality of working without human assistance in the aid of hunters and herdsmen, is a thinking, feeling individual who can scarcely be forced to sit as to stay in the company of men he does not like. Have you ever tried to catch a Borzoi?
The point I hope to make is to those who "love" dogs and can see the error of their ways. Dogs are not all the same and can't be made so with posters of puppies or stuffed animals or a collection of statues. If you love a dog who works by your side or guards your kids, I get that. But loving all dogs or all horses is the same as loving all men. You may be able to do so in theory but it's at the expense of the value of individual. And it isat the risk of preventing them from choosing their own way to go, with or without us. What I'm saying is it's not up to us whether dogs come along on our journey, because it never was.