“When I first started dating my fiancé, before we had a dog, we discussed this hypothetical: if a dog that belonged to you and a human stranger were hanging in peril, and you only had the time and ability to save one of them, which is more deserving of rescue? At the time, I made a logically-framed argument, maintaining that humanity is fundamentally more valuable than the life of any other animal, that a person is capable of producing so much more good in the world than a dog is, and that the risk of the stranger being a complete monstrosity of a person after being saved from impending death would be minimal compared to the odds that he or she would be a valuable contributor to society. Her rebuttal: just wait until you get a dog.
I waited. We got a dog. She was right.
Not only would I now save my dog without so much as a flinching hesitation, I’d probably save a stranger’s dog before I’d save the stranger. Sure, having a dog of my own has helped change my mind, but there’s more to it than that. An honest inspection of humanity yields a much stronger argument. Dogs are better students of character than humans — they bark at those worth barking at, offer their belly to those deserving of intimacy — which begs the assumption that perhaps they are simply better than people…”