Good Dog! Silly Woman!
March 8, 2007 5:56 PM   Subscribe

Why do dog shows make me cry?

This is so stupid, but I am wondering if I am just a sappy freak or if this happens to other people as well.

As I was flipping through the channels tonight, I happened upon a dog show. I watched for about 10 minutes, and as the winners were named, I started to laugh and get seriously teary. The descriptions of the dogs get to me ("...lhasas were originally bred for rat-catching and indoor defense in Tibetian temples...") What is with this?!

I am not particularly overemotional, or known for crying at movies or during sad shows. I am not really thinking the dogs are being mistreated or that the show is inherently cruel, but I cannot figure out why a dog show would make me cry.

Anyone else have this kind of problem? Maybe not with dog shows? Am I just a wacko?
posted by oflinkey to Pets & Animals (73 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Are they tears of joy or are you in distress?
posted by phrontist at 6:02 PM on March 8, 2007

Am I just a wacko

I'm usually a bit more diplomatic in my answers, but that seems about right to me... :-P
posted by chrisamiller at 6:05 PM on March 8, 2007

Response by poster: Joy, not distress. Well, maybe not overjoyed or anything. Probably wacko. Thanks chrisamiller. :-P~
posted by oflinkey at 6:06 PM on March 8, 2007

Maybe you're moved by the images of animals that are such perfect, honest, devoted companions. You are contrasting the perfection and happiness of these noble animals to the cruelties of the world. No, seriously.
posted by Dasein at 6:09 PM on March 8, 2007 [3 favorites]

We've been co-evolving with dogs for probably close to 100,000 years. You're evolutionarily programmed to have a positive emotional response to them, hence the joy.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:10 PM on March 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

Are you female? Are you on the verge of getting your period?
posted by bink at 6:12 PM on March 8, 2007

This sort of happens to me, too. I don't cry watching dog shows (I don't watch dog shows) but I do cry at unusual and unlikely times. Offhand, nothing comes to mind, but it does always happen. Some commercials make me cry. Not the sappy kleenex ones, either. Odd tv shows make me cry, too. And I'm not talking about the hospital dramas or even dramas in general.

I also cry when I see really large, tall monuments. I've pretty much come to terms with the fact that my emotions are out of whack. So, yeah, maybe I am wacko, too.
posted by necessitas at 6:14 PM on March 8, 2007

I think this means you're super sweet. And because dogs are so ooka-lookie cutie puppies!

Seriously I do a similar thing. Stories about dogs and cats saving people make me hysterical. There's an old Folgers commercial about some kid coming home from college and he makes the coffee - that gets me too.

I think I have misplaced emotional content banging around in my head that couldn't be expressed elsewhere or I repressed them because they occurred at some inappropriate moment and this is just my way of working it out a little bit.

Or maybe my eyes are dry and my brain / body is signaling my tear ducts to do a little clean up via a short emotional outburst.

My boyfriend does this too with certain things to on occasion so it's not particularly a lady hormone thing.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:18 PM on March 8, 2007

Are you on a birth control pill? They do wacky things to people's emotions.
posted by walla at 6:36 PM on March 8, 2007

Dogs rock. So much so, that sometimes it's overwhelming trying to fathom their kickassitude. That's why.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:39 PM on March 8, 2007 [4 favorites]

I think it's because we see them as innocents in a corrupt world.
posted by scheptech at 6:44 PM on March 8, 2007

Seriously I do a similar thing. Stories about dogs and cats saving people make me hysterical.

Hi, my name is dilettante, and I'm a wacko. What Dasein said seems to be part of it, and maybe also something about the animals' innocence. There was this commercial with a young Clydesdale that watches the Budweiser Clydesdales go past its pasture, and that had me sobbing once a couple of years ago....and I'll sniffle over dogs and cats saving people, too. It's embarrassing to start crying over a Wikipedia article about the origins of the Iditarod.

I have to go hug my puppydog now. Something
posted by dilettante at 6:45 PM on March 8, 2007

That last "something" was just left on by accident when I was rearranging what I said. Dammit. Sorry.
posted by dilettante at 6:48 PM on March 8, 2007

Manic depression can result in unexplained crying jags.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:49 PM on March 8, 2007

I get emotional at events with large crowds - football games, political rallies, concerts. There's so much excitement it overwhelms me sometimes. I try not to cry at football games. I will be mocked for the rest of my life by my soon-to-be husband.
posted by chiababe at 6:51 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

In 1870 George Graham Vest took a case representing a famer whose foxhound was shot by a sheep farmer when it trespassed onto his property. The owner was asking for restitution of $150, the maximum allowed by law. Vest claimed that he would win the case or apology to every dog in Missouri. This is part of his closing statement:
Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man’s reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.

Gentleman of the jury: A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death.
Vest won the case.

Apologies if that made you cry too.
posted by hindmost at 7:03 PM on March 8, 2007 [116 favorites]

I totally have that kind of emotional thing; I ascribe it to something along the lines of 'being moved,' and only being able to express it by getting teary.
Maybe in regards to the breed description, it's the 'large' sense of history that was overwhelming? Or, yeah, like people have said, the emotional straightforwardness/innocence of animals?
posted by zusty at 7:04 PM on March 8, 2007

or apologize to every dog in Missouri. Dammit.

A statue of the dog now stands outside the courthouse.
posted by hindmost at 7:07 PM on March 8, 2007

I was watching the Tony Jaa Muai Thai action flick "The Protector" the other day.

I was moved to tears by the Elephants in it. Couldn't explain why. The site of these noble working beasts just made me tear up.

Luckily the elephants where only in it for the first 20 mins or so. I could get back to the bone cracking Muai thai after they where kidnapped by the bad guys.

So you're not mad. You just have affection for dogs. Like I do for elephants.
posted by gergtreble at 7:14 PM on March 8, 2007

i'm not sappy at all, and the happy songs in disney movies make me cry. simba sings "oh i just can't wait to be king", the hippos dance, and i BAWL. you're not wacko. i like to think it's related to above-average intelligence.
posted by twistofrhyme at 7:15 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think this has something to do with why I, and so many others I know, can't watch the episode of Futurama where Fry thinks about cloning his old dog. The one that died waiting for him day after day outside the pizza restaurant when he disappeared. Sniffle.

Seriously, I think whoever said upthread that dogs are tied up in our heads with powerful emotions about innocence and loyalty was on the money.
posted by MsMolly at 7:16 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm with dasein and the rest of the wackos. Lots of folks were getting misty eyed recently over the hugging-skeletons pics -- I have much the same reaction looking at this photo of a 12,000 year old burial site in Israel. Not the best photo, but you're looking at the bones of an elderly human with one hand curved over the skeleton of a half-grown puppy.

When the Man waked up he said, 'What is Wild Dog doing here?' And the Woman said, 'His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always."

...excuse me. Seem to have something in my eye. Think I'll go fix it by giving one of the pups a good bellyrub.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 7:16 PM on March 8, 2007 [4 favorites]

The dolphins make me cry, too, Hootie.
posted by kimdog at 7:18 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

It feels good to cry like this. I enjoy these little moments.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:18 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you have nothing else that would qualify the crying as a part of some larger syndrome, you're just emotionally moved by it.

I remember seeing some sort of young-man-and-his-wolfdog movie/show where the guy sent his wolfdog away, only to have the wolfdog come running back when the guy was in need. Made be bawl.

Another tearjerker: Greyfriars Bobby
posted by CKmtl at 7:25 PM on March 8, 2007

dilettante: if just the wikipedia Iditarod article gets you teary, beware of giving your heart to Gary Paulsen's Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers to tear. The reviews describing it as a love song to his greatest lead dog have it right on the money. Perhaps I'm particularly susceptible because I love the partnership inherent in working breeds, and the sledding breeds are my dearest canine loves...but I cannot read through to the end of that book without copious tears.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 7:26 PM on March 8, 2007

And yet another tearjerker in the Greyfriars Bobby/Fry's dog vein: Hachiko.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 7:28 PM on March 8, 2007

Between you & I, I feel the same way about dogs. After my last dog died I couldn't have another one for ten years because it just tore me up so badly... and for years & years just looking at dogs would get me a little weepy feeling sometimes. I can't even explain it, they're just such noble and wonderful creatures. Sometimes I think they're a lot better than people, actually.

Anyhow, I just got my puppy in June and she is SO incredibly full of love & fun, she's just the best & most socialized dog I could've imagined. I have to remind myself that I won't have her forever because dogs don't live a super long time... I want to keep perspective that she's probably going to be around for a decade or less (gotta embrace that whole "better to have loved & lost thing," I suppose). But sometimes when I watch her play I find myself getting a little emotional because I'm so glad I got her and she's just such an incredibly cool animal that I could have around forever. I find myself feeling overwhelmed with how thankful I am to be able to care for such an amazing, loving & adorable animal friend. And yeah, it can get me a little verklempt sometimes. Ok, like right now. Because I'm typing this as she's asleep with her soft little furry neck draped over my foot.

So yeah... my name is miss lynnster and I'm a total freaking wacko. ::Reaches for the tissues::
posted by miss lynnster at 7:28 PM on March 8, 2007

I think this has something to do with why I, and so many others I know, can't watch the episode of Futurama where Fry thinks about cloning his old dog. The one that died waiting for him day after day outside the pizza restaurant when he disappeared. Sniffle.

Really? That's a known issue? My boyfriend totally cannot watch that episode. He finds it way way too depressing.
posted by birdie birdington at 7:36 PM on March 8, 2007

I get emotional at events with large crowds - football games, political rallies, concerts. There's so much excitement it overwhelms me sometimes. I try not to cry at football games. I will be mocked for the rest of my life by my soon-to-be husband.
posted by chiababe at 8:51 PM CST on March 8

Holy crap, that's me- parades are the WORST. I never tied it to the excitement of the crowd but that's exactly what it must be.

So, yeah- it's perfectly okay to cry for odd reasons. :-)
posted by Mamapotomus at 7:43 PM on March 8, 2007

I wonder how you feel about this, and whether it's just dogs or other pets too that can produce a poignant sense of somewhat sad affection.

Pets (dogs, especially) often show us an affection that can seem pure and unadulterated but which is also sadly limited, with respect to understanding and communication. Perhaps the painful suggestion is that the devotion shown by some pets (and pet owners) is either impossible without those limitations, or altogether illusionary.
posted by washburn at 7:44 PM on March 8, 2007

maybe because they are supposed to be basically perfect? it's rare to see things like that. and to get a little anthropomorphic, they look like they are trying so hard, and are so excited to be there...
posted by lgyre at 7:48 PM on March 8, 2007

a. You're not crazy. Dogs are affecting, pageantry is affecting, and thinking about the excitement of the owners whose dogs win (and the sadness of those who lose) is affecting too.

b. About the only time I ever cry is in situations like this. Or seeing another person crying -- regardless of whether I like them, or whether they're happy or sad, etc. Seeing someone else cry makes me cry involuntarily, just as reliably as seeing someone yawn makes me yawn. So if there was anyone crying in the crowd at the dog show, I would have been crying right along with you.

c. OMFG, that Futurama episode is the saddest fictional thing ever shown on TV.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:55 PM on March 8, 2007

Pets (dogs, especially) often show us an affection that can seem pure and unadulterated but which is also sadly limited, with respect to understanding and communication.

I guess that depends on how you define "understanding and communication".

I can't watch the Futurama episode without crying (and my husband and I have been known to get teary just mentioning what a good little dog that was), and when I think about my own dogs (past and present) growing old or getting sick and dying, I get instantly weepy (my dog is lying under my chair right now, with his head on my foot, and noticing that while reading this has made me all sniffly). But dog shows don't generally make me cry (except for the times I've wasted my entry fees, that is, or when I have some other personal emotional involvement, or when they have seniors classes, or when there's some really special reason to get weepy, or...), so're a wacko. ;)

"His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend..."

Now you've gone and done it...excuse me, First Friend needs a good ear scritch.
posted by biscotti at 8:12 PM on March 8, 2007

I can't watch any animated films, read children's books, or watch almost anything animal-planety. It just stirs me up emotionally in a way I can't articulate, so I have to avoid them entirely. Even if the story is completely happy I find it very upsetting.
posted by loiseau at 8:41 PM on March 8, 2007

When I first read this notice (it's about me and my dog) I cried out loud. It made me feel like dog heaven would someday invite me to their eternity.
posted by vito90 at 9:06 PM on March 8, 2007

re: Futurama
Really? That's a known issue?

Yeah. I thought it was just me till someone mentioned the episode at my boyfriend's office Christmas party last year and about five of us at the table said we couldn't watch it.
posted by MsMolly at 9:11 PM on March 8, 2007

I've always liked Emily Dickinson's take on the understanding-and-communication thing:

For my companions — the Hills — Sir — and the Sundown — and a Dog — large as myself, that my Father bought me — They are better than Beings — because they know — but do not tell.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 9:38 PM on March 8, 2007 [2 favorites]

Awww! I heart Pepper too! Good going Steven! :)
posted by miss lynnster at 9:39 PM on March 8, 2007

Oh, gosh. You all are making me feel so dang normal. I have cried just thinking about my family dog. I don't live near her anymore (she lives with my grandma) and she's just such a good puppy. I also weep watching specials on TV where animals care for their young...and honestly about half the time I even think of baby gorillas I get a little misty. Just the concept.

But spectator events? I've never met another person who cried at parades. I'm the worst at Disneyland fireworks, to the point where I have a reputation among my friends...especially the ones where they pipe in the fake snow. Something about Southern California children going nuts over fake snow just makes me bawl.

I used to be much worse (in high school) but I've always just thought of myself as a "weeper". I wonder what causes it, though. I blame it on sensory overload because that's the only way I can describe it, but it seems like that's a major oversimplification.
posted by crinklebat at 9:42 PM on March 8, 2007

Pepper's a lucky dog indeed. (I don't suppose she's on Dogster?)

And FWIW, I do tend to mist up over other animal stuff, although I'm enough of a crazy dog person that canine things hit the hardest. I don't have much of a problem watching all the Animal Precinct type shows, though -- seeing some of the critters getting rescued in time, and some of the perps getting punished (even if it's often too slight), and the caring of the ACOs and vets and techs and volunteers all helps. And it's generally nothing worse than stuff I've seen a million times before from rescue contacts...and it probably helps too that I'm usually watching it with a spoiled little pibble on my lap trying to convince me that she is MUCH more sad and pitiful than the abused/neglected/etc. pitties on the TV every time I stop scritching her.

As for spectator events? Well, just your random scout-troops-and-shriners parade doesn't do it for me, but military parades with veterans groups, very much so; knowing what they may have been through, and how many were lost, that chokes me up. A pow-wow grand entry, especially the veterans in the honor guard? Totally teary-eyed. A really formal military or police funeral, with gun salutes, or Taps, or bagpipes? Waterworks. And heaven help me when there's a convergence between human lives and working dogs touched by war -- stories from military dog handlers or law enforcement officers mourning their lost buddies, and I really lose it. There's just something particularly poignant for me, seeing these tough guys who you wouldn't expect to be as weepy as some of us wackos breaking down in public.

...come to think of it, I have cried at least once while watching dog shows: it was the time Westminster had a tribute to the 9/11 SAR dogs and their handlers. It's that whole working-dog partnership thing that gets to me right where I live.

And don't even get me started on things like war memorials where the regimental mascot is forever enshrined along all the men. I get a horrible lump in my throat just looking at stuff like pictures of Sallie from the 11th Pennsylvania, or the Irish Brigade's wolfhound. (Although Sallie is definitely the worst for me as she looks a bit like my own brindled bully.)
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 10:19 PM on March 8, 2007

Many sounds make me weep. Most often singers if they hit certain notes I just tear up. I once saw Shirley Bassey live and as soon as she came out singing just one word I burst out into tears (I wasn't even a manic fan).

I had a massage once involving sound bowls. I cried when the bowl on my chest was sounding. The masseuse had never seen that before.

Loud constant irritating sounds (such as construction work) make me very very tense and upset.

Not sure if that makes me more whacko than those who cry over doggie shows......
posted by gomichild at 11:01 PM on March 8, 2007

I think I know what you're experiencing, oflinkey. I had the same guttural response when I saw the rescue dog show at the Texas State Fair this past September/October.

They had two purebred Flatcoats that did the long-distance jump in the water thing and 4 or so mixed breeds (Aussie Cattle Dog/Border Collie/Mutts) that did frisbee toss and pole weave.

I totally didn't expect it, but it hit me hard, emotionally, and I'm a pretty stoic guy that spends 85% of his time around various dogs.

I've never had that feeling while watching an AKC dog show. I don't seek them out, but if I stumble upon them, I watch them for half fun/half research/half general dog knowledge, but I see them a bit as on the same level as pre-teen beauty pageants, while respecting breed standards.

But crazy? Not on any level that is worth an hour in a therapist's office, IMHO.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:44 PM on March 8, 2007

I cry at silly stuff too - I always tear up watching TV when the athletes at the Olympics get their medals, or when people achieve things that might seem impossible. 'Free Hugs' had me in pieces. This morning, this picture made me cry.

So, no, you're not weird. Unless, of course, I'm weird too.
posted by essexjan at 1:06 AM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've never watched a Futurama episode in my life, and just the one sentence description of that episode made me snifflely. So you are definitely not alone.

I don't find dog shows affecting (I'm really not into that purebreed/AKC thing, it just rubs me the wrong way on a whole bunch of levels) but I get all emotional with the stories of animal rescues and the like. And I'm not a woman, and I'm not on hormonal birth control. I think it is just part of being a person, that things like puppies and babies have those big eyes and look so cute and you want to sniff the tops of their heads for that yummy puppy/baby smell.
posted by Forktine at 2:30 AM on March 9, 2007

Re the Futurama thing, I swear the guy who does xkcd reads AskMe. Check the hover text on today's comic.
posted by corvine at 4:56 AM on March 9, 2007

The Futurama episode you guys are referring to is "Jurassic Bark". When I got the entire series on DVD, my husband insisted we watch that episode, as I hadn't seen it before. I cried my eyes out and was in a foul mood for two days. Later I read reviews online and realized it affected quite a few viewers, some of whom were upset at what they felt was blatant, unnecessary manipulation. (IIRC, this is mentioned on the DVD commentary, too.)

So, no, you're not alone.

Anything with pets in peril upsets me terribly. Even sad pets in commercials will bother me.
posted by smashingstars at 5:15 AM on March 9, 2007

I'm sorry, this is only tangentially on-topic, but I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only guy with the Fry's-Dog-In-Futurama issue. I've seen that episode just once, and all the rest many times. It's good to know I'm not an isolated case.
posted by barnacles at 5:25 AM on March 9, 2007

I also have the problem with that futurama episode.

Wow. Seems like a common thing, I had no idea.

I also get weepy when watching dogs, although not the AKC stuff. The shows with the animal cops are hard, but for some reason I feel compelled to watch them, and I almost always cry. Last week I watched one with my husband where this puppy was tied out without shelter or water, and the animal cops rescued him. The voiceover said "will he ever learn to trust again so he can be adopted?" and the whole time he was wagging his tail and smiling. I turned to my husband and said, he never lost his trust at all! Look at him! He was adopted into a nice family.

Sorry if that was rambling, I am a little weepy.

(I also sometimes get weepy at the female belter-type singers on American Idol. That is crazy.)
posted by miss tea at 5:41 AM on March 9, 2007

The Futurama Episode kills me too.

But get this - there's a SpongeBob SquarePants episode that makes me cry. The one where SpongeBob gets distracted and forgets to feed Gary for weeks and eventually Gary has to leave to find food. And this old lady finds him and feeds him cookies and then SpongeBob realizes Gary is gone and there is this montage of him walking all over putting up signs. The worst part is this song playing during the montage that ends "Gary Come Home" and it totally made me cry.

There was also that Pedigree commercial that just showed faces of different dogs and then their noses started sniffing... that one would put a lump in my throat. A lot of the recent "Dogs Rule" Pedigree commercials get to me, actually.

Last night my cat swatted at my dog from under the bed (the cat's pretty ornery) and scared the hell out of her - so much so that she ran from the bedroom and was so panicked that she slipped and fell on the kitchen floor. She even scraped one of her toes and it was bleeding. Despite all of this (despite 4 years of this!) the dog still wants to be friends with the cat. That makes me cry too.
posted by misskaz at 6:11 AM on March 9, 2007

Because working dogs are so *sincere* and they are *trying so hard.*
posted by Morrigan at 6:21 AM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I totally cry at dog shows. I also cry at the end of some sporting events as well as beauty pageants.
posted by JanetLand at 6:36 AM on March 9, 2007

I have only been to Tokyo once, for one day, and I made sure to go see Hachiko. And I cried like a baby right there in front of the statue.
posted by emmling at 6:39 AM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I also want to cry at concerts, parades, football games, and other large gatherings of people. I always thought I was just a freak. As it turns out, maybe I am, but I'm not alone. That Folger's commercial used to kill me too.

When my daughter was very young, 3 or 4, music would often make her weep. Sometimes it was the obvious moving songs in all Disney movies--other times it would sort of sneak up on us. We had to leave the movie, Spirit because of the music. She also sobbed through a local ballet company's production of Beauty and the Beast. She's 8 now and it still happens occasionally.
posted by BluGnu at 7:07 AM on March 9, 2007

I can't bear to watch those new Pedigree commercials where the dogs are in crates and the voiceover is saying how "I'm a good dog; I don't know how I got here," in Pedigree's promotion of adopting pets from shelters. And, also that older commercial for a senior pet food, with the Irish Setter, where it starts out as a puppy, and then grows older as the child grows older too, until finally the dog can hardly run up the steps. :(

I even adopted a 1-yr-old dog a year ago because our other dog was 7 years old, and I knew it would be unbearable when she passes away to NOT have a dog around.

I still think fondly of my family Great Dane, who passed away when he was 10. There are some dogs you just never forget. When I was growing up, my dad talked frequently about his childhood miniature Schnauzer, Duke. Even though I never knew Duke, we heard so much about him that it was almost as if we HAD known him.
posted by cass at 8:07 AM on March 9, 2007

I personally have no particular reaction to animals (besides "Awww, cute"), but I do have an anomalous crying reaction that I've been aware of since I was a kid: when I say something that I think the person I'm talking to will really like or identify with, my eyes start to water.

Example: I'm talking to our rabbi and I ask him how his Passover seder was. Or, I'm talking to a library patron (I'm a librarian) and I thank him for his glowing review of a library book, since it will help me know whether I should recommend it to others. Or, I'm talking to my boss and I tell her I hope she has fun at her brother's wedding this weekend.

These are not just social niceties, I swear--I would normally say these things anyway, out of honest interest in communicating my thoughts and hearing the other person's response, or in making the other person feel good. But something about saying these things triggers an "I'm so proud of myself" inside me and that gives me an eye-water.

It happens a lot less when I'm talking to intimates (good friends, family) than acquaintances or strangers. And I seriously think no one notices if my eyes water slightly. No one has ever brought it up, not even by saying things like "Are your allergies bad right now?". It doesn't affect my voice, and the tears don't spill. It never lasts more than a few seconds.

One issue is that I do have PMDD (the bad form of PMS), controlled fairly well with Lexapro. So I have to distinguish between types of crying. f I'm just having a basic eye-water from a conversation with someone, it'll end and be forgotten. But if it's accompanied by a feeling of panic and desperation, and it won't go away after a few seconds, AND I'm in the week before my period, it's a PMDD episode and I need to go off by myself and calm down or it gets a lot worse.

Ain't life weird?
posted by gillyflower at 9:04 AM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

I also want to add that I have not one, but two (unacquainted) friends in two different choirs who have several times quit choir because their reaction to music often includes crying. These are skilled singers who love being in choir. I actually sort of worry about them because I know they miss choir when they aren't singing. They both genuinely struggle, in their own ways, with their emotional reactions. I have seen them both walk out of rehearsals because they feel overwhelmed by the music and are crying.

The male friend has told me that he knows he can never be a solo singer because he can't stop crying during certain songs. I think it's too bad to have an emotional reaction that limits what you can do for fun (or as a career, though I don't know whether either friend ever wanted to be a professional singer or not).

My point: be glad that this only happens to you while watching dog shows!
posted by gillyflower at 9:10 AM on March 9, 2007

I cry at movie previews. Not at sad ones, but at like Spiderman 3. It's because I my senses get overwhelmed for one reason or another, and I'm just programmed or designed to release that via crying.

It could be the nature of the competition, that you want one dog to win, or that it's really cute or the crowd scene, and you're empathizing with the excitement and scope of the thing, and your brain kind of goes "fzzzt." and then you cry.

At least that's what happens to me.
posted by mckenney at 10:33 AM on March 9, 2007

Well, I am glad I took the time to read this entry. Good question!

Same as others; have a dog and three cats, oldest kid adopted a stray cat (god - its genetic) and now adopted a second dog (abused) for four cats, 2 dogs, 2 kids. Can't imagine life without them. Critters/kids in distress definitely affect me (the kitten with the fireman), and I can't stand to see any animals hurt/neglected. It makes me sad, but more often makes me angry and ashamed of humanity when we are the cause of distress.

But, yes, damn it - I tear at parades, the national anthem, and generally public, non-emotionally exploitive events. Sometimes other emotions (normally anxiety or anger) over rule it.

And like you, apparently I can't articulate it without coming across like a wingnut.
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 10:39 AM on March 9, 2007

And YouTube comes through, for those of you who have never seen Futurama: the final three minutes of Jurassic Bark

If you don't think you have enough kleenex handy to watch this, just reading through the comments should be enough for folks who want further evidence that their reactions to this episode are far from uncommon.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 10:58 AM on March 9, 2007

Oh, I know people who have that problem -- crying while singing. And they're professional singers, but they get into a lyric and have to fight the urge to bawl. Hard to bawl & sing. I've felt really lucky that I don't have that.

Anyhow, today is my rescue puppy's first day at a new doggy care place in the city and I just called to see how she's getting along. They were raving about how good & sweet she's been... and... ok, yeah, I almost started to cry just from picturing how good and sweet my little dog is being.

I'm such a freaking wacko. Lord.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:10 AM on March 9, 2007

That Futurama episode is brutal. I used to dvr episodes from Cartoon Network, but that one, I would always delete. One viewing was more than enough!

If you are wacko than a whole bunch of us are - I consider myself extremely easily moved, emotionally. I don't CRY cry - but I do get misty at lots of things. This is something I think about a lot (like, why me and not everyone?) but it doesn't bother me. I just have to make sure to always have a tissue on hand!

Although I did stop watching Extreme Home Cryover because it was just too manipulative.
posted by pinky at 12:01 PM on March 9, 2007

I started tearing up at the gym a couple weeks ago because for some reason Animal Planet was on. It was that show "Breed All About It" and they were talking about airedales. I don't have an airedale, but the way they were describing their personalities and just the images of the dogs made me a little sniffly. I always get a weird pain in my nose right before it starts.

Now I'm feeling guilty for yelling at my dog for shedding all over the place this morning...Bacchus, I'm sorry, it's not your fault...

As far as commercials are concerned, any Budweiser commercials with the clydesdales get me, as well as that one from the Super Bowl this year with the white dog who wanted to be a Dalmatian.

I also wept regularly at the Sony commericial about 4 years ago with the old astronaut filming the Earth so his grandchildren could see what space is like.
posted by nekton at 12:06 PM on March 9, 2007

Rescue stories where the dog never loses trust are the worst. If you can read this (caution: distressing images, tearjerker happy ending) without even misting up there is something seriously broken. People can be so terrible, and there they are tails wagging, just looking for a little love.

posted by hindmost at 12:52 PM on March 9, 2007

Oh geeze, hindmost... I have seen some pretty dire stuff from rescue contacts over the years, especially the poor pitties who seem to get some of the most horrific treatment imaginable...but that ghastly combo of neglect and disease and starvation is pretty damn awful.

And those stories particularly get to me because my old malamute boy was another one of those who never stopped loving people. Less extreme circumstances, thank goodness, but my mind still boggles at how he'd been passed around like some unwanted piece of furniture. Before I adopted him, he'd been through:

- Unkown breeders, but given his conformation it was obviously a backyard outfit or one of the many puppy mills in that state;

- To his first home, which didn't keep him long...probably just until the adorable fluffy puppy got bigger, and bigger, and harder to handle;

- To his second home, which from all accounts is the only one where he was actually loved and wanted. Unfortunately, Owner #2 wound up in jail for some reason, passing the dog along to...

- The third home, with Owner #2's girlfriend, who most certainly did NOT want a big dog, and not in these circumstances. So she left him outside tied to a tree all the time, gave him food and water most days but otherwise nada, no exercise, no play, no socialization.

Thank goodness, a malamute breeder -- one of the GOOD ones, the kind who screen their dogs for every imaginable health problem and put prospective buyers through a harsher grilling than a human adoption agency, the kind who only plan a rare litter when they've got plenty of homes already lined up -- drove by and saw the skinny, lonely dog, and didn't turn away like it was somebody else's problem. She managed to convince Owner #3 to give him up, and hauled him off on the spot, even though she really wasn't set up to take in another dog at the moment, especially not an intact young male. But she made room and made do until she could find someone in rescue with more space...

So that was Foster Home #1, where he stayed for a week or two until he could transported to a rescuer in the next state. And he stayed at Foster Home #2 for another couple of weeks until they could find someone else to take him...and I was the last link, sort of a case of planned foster failure.

When I got him, he was barely over a year old.

Thankfully, the neglect at that last owner wasn't too bad -- he'd been a little skinny and dirty, but thanks to the care in the previous foster situations he was only a few pounds underweight when I got him. The only other physical sign of the stress he'd been under were the lick granulomas on both front paws, where he'd been chewing at his own feet from anxiety on the lonely tieout. I really wouldn't have been shocked if he'd been neurotic, or prone to separation anxiety, or wary of people...

He was none of these things. That boy had just an absolutely classic expansively-friendly malamute personality -- I used to call him a canine Will Rogers. He was just the nicest, friendliest, most well-adjusted dog you could hope for. Other than the little hairless stripes on his front legs, there was nothing left to show he'd ever been passed around like some piece of unwanted junk.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 1:30 PM on March 9, 2007

My dog was running the streets apparently. No records on her at all. She was a year & seven month but didn't even know how to walk on a leash. First time I saw this little red dog, she had just been spayed so she was alone in an enclosure at the ASPCA. I walked by and she immediately rolled over onto her back and looked up at me, tail wagging furiously... begging to have her belly rubbed. I caved in, and when I started to rub her belly, suddenly the sneaky little wiggly creature attacked me with her tongue. I had just returned from 2 months overseas & had only been back 3 days. I was jet lagged. I didn't need a dog. But I was a goner.

The first few times it rained, she freaked out. I did the math & realized that she was homeless was during a 40 day rain streak in the Bay area last year. So, she must've been flashing back to it whenever she felt the drops of water on her. When I realized that, once again, it made me cry. I absolutely cannot picture this sweet little licky dog homeless and alone in the rain like that.
posted by miss lynnster at 3:51 PM on March 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

That settles it, miss l -- get that poor baby all the nice warm, dry doggy sweaters and raincoats you like, and anyone who looks at you like you're crazy can damn well talk to the paw.

My pittie girl was found running loose like that -- except she was so friendly, so clean and well fed, and even had such soft little unworn paws that the folks at the shelter were convinced she must be a well-loved house pet who just slipped loose without her collar...but nobody ever came looking for her. But my elkhound,who'd lived with the same family for four years before they gave him up, was clueless about leashes, paranoid of stairs and doorways and hard floors and really just freaked out in general by the whole concept of "indoors", and just flat-out depressed-looking after languishing in the shelter for months -- too big and too old and too shy for anyone to want him. I wish all the people who passed him by could see him now -- he's twice the age he was when he was left at the shelter, but he romps like a puppy now.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 4:18 PM on March 9, 2007

To continue my derail... check this out: when I went to pick her up, EVERY SINGLE PERSON who works at the place walked to the front to tell me what a great & adorably perfect little dog she is. :)
::tears up again::
posted by miss lynnster at 7:12 PM on March 9, 2007

Awww. I got a bit of that with the elkhound -- everyone at the shelter loved him to pieces and were sad that he'd been there for so long with nobody wanting to take him home.

(And then they were thrilled with me taking the pittie later, since everyone loved her too but so many potential adopters were either spooked by her breed or else wanted her for all the wrong reasons.)

*sniffles and heads out to watch dogs romp in the mud some more*
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 7:24 PM on March 9, 2007

Well hey... I'm thinking we kind of proved that the OP isn't more of a wacko than we are. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 10:10 PM on March 9, 2007

Oh, lordy. And I just got another reminder of my wackoness getting into a music chat with some online friends, and getting all teary-eyed for the umpteenth time watching yoik-metal videos on YouTube. I know perfectly well it's staged and the wolf/dog is a trained performer and all, but the pacing in the cage gets me so sad and then when he breaks free and RUNS RUNS RUNS I nearly cry for joy...

If wacko is too strong, can I go for "pathetic sap"?
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 10:50 PM on March 9, 2007

Okay, I never watched that Futurama episode so I just took a minute to watch the link. Yikes.
::reaches for Kleenex AGAIN...::
posted by miss lynnster at 5:10 PM on March 10, 2007

...I get teary at dog shows too. And sheepdog trials.

I guess I, too, am a wacko.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:54 PM on March 10, 2007

« Older What do I do about a broken bathroom door in my...   |   Nuvaring & no inserter = vag pain. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.