Are You As Fair As A Dog?

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People who are unfair have less intelligence than dogs.

Bold statement, huh? Not to insult our incredibly bright canine friends, but more to show the low aptitude and lack of compassion/empathy of some people.

The University of Portsmouth in England has a new study on dogs…and humans should take a lesson.

Researchers took two dogs, asked each to shake, both did. However, they rewarded only one dog. Next experiment? Same thing…same two dogs, asked them to shake, dogs extended a paw, but the same dog got the treat again. Rinse and repeat.

After doing this several times, the unrewarded dog refused to participate and actually started treating the other dog badly. Researchers hypothesized that dogs can truly understand fairness and even feel such complex emotions as guilt, jealousy, embarrassment and resentment.

Here we are at the holidays. A time we all give gifts to one another, generosity is at it’s peak, it’s just a good time to give and receive…unless you have that one infuriating and unfair person in your life. You know, the kind of person who gives a Nintendo Wii for a brother, but socks and underware for his sister. Or take the example of adults having a favorite child (which is really crappy parenting, BTW). They’ll shower gifts in bulk on one child, but his/her siblings get little to nothing.

Kids pick up on unfairness. They see it. And if you’re the kid on the short end of the stick, it hurts. And you remember it. And…no matter how old you are, if you’re the adult child being treated unfairly by the previous generation, it hurts you as bad as the little sister who only got socks.

I’m lucky. While total, 110% equality is impossible, I had parents who did their level best to be sure my sister and I were treated fairly. And when we went to my grandparents’ house? Same thing-approximately the same amount of money was spent on gifts. And if one kid had a $100 gift, but the other had 10 $10 gifts, the gift givers (maybe it was Santa? Who knows?!) found several inexpensive (or free) gifts to wrap for the kid who got the big thing. Again, dollar amounts were as close to identical as possible, so were the numbers of gifts. It only makes sense, doesn’t it? So why do some people choose to treat their recipients with so much inequity?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure how much it hurts children, even adult children, when there is inequity without even a hint of fairness. Now that I have stepchildren of my own, the one thing I hope I always do is practice fairness and equality toward each of them.

Folks, unfairness and inequality among family members is something that just makes my blood boil. I simply cannot understand how some gift givers are so emotionally unintelligent as to not only participate in inequality, but some even seem to thrive in it!

It’s Christmas. It’s a time for families. It’s a time for generosity. It’s a time for bonding. Yet, nothing can break down those bonds faster than the simple observance of inequality.

Please, faithful reader, practice justice in gift giving. Maybe instead of holiday cheer, we should really be focused on holiday fairness. If our four legged friends feel it, then your human relatives certainly will, too.

Here’s to holiday fairness for all!

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