Let me just start by saying that these smart-ass answers to dumb question only run through my mind — they don’t come out of my mouth. Negativity doesn’t help dispel misconceptions and sarcasm doesn’t cure stupid. But sometimes it is nice to let these things out (most of the cartoons below are from me, too), just so my head doesn’t explode.
Here are five smart-ass answers to dumb questions people ask me concerning my dog:
I blame Santa’s Little Helper on The Simpsons. That dog is clearly either anorexic or on drugs. He’s a terrible role model for impressionable young canines.
But seriously: Obesity seems to have become the norm in many people’s eyes. A dog with a perfectly normal body condition will attract disapproving tuts and glares at the dog park. On top of that, some dogs are also just naturally skinny as part of the normal variation between individuals of any species. And now that I have a Greyhound it seems some people think I am somehow responsible for the tuck of her belly, which is quite normal for any lean sighthound. Now, I spoil my dogs, but getting a Greyhound to be obese is beyond even my cosseting abilities. (Although the rescue I got her from told me one adopter did manage it.)
I would encourage anyone to consider that a dog who looks lean might be this kind of individual or type, older and dropping a little condition in their advanced years, or struggling with illness under the care of a conscientious owner. So it is not a good idea to leap to conclusions too quickly.
I’m actually casing your house, but now you’re on to me I guess I won’t rob you after all.
But seriously: A lot of people seem to think you walk your dog until it poops and then go home. If someone could invent a dog toilet, these people probably wouldn’t walk their dogs at all.
But walks are more than that. For many dogs, the world is pretty small, except what they see, smell, and experience when they are outside with us. I live in an apartment. So, yes, I walk my dogs. A lot. Consider it my contribution to the neighborhood watch.
No, I like to watch my dog poop, do a celebratory dance with a colorful plastic bag in each hand, and then walk off and leave it there as an offering to the gods of community discord.
But seriously: I can see that not everyone is picking up after their dog. And I can understand how that pisses off anyone who wants to live in an attractive neighborhood where you can walk down the street without playing poop hopscotch. But go hassle those people who pretend they can’t see their dog is pooping and do not even have poop bags with them. Don’t take it out on me. And when it comes to poop that does not belong to my dog, I am no more interested in picking it up than you are.
No, it is chupacabra hair; my house is infested with the damn things.
But seriously: There are three times I want you to mention dog hair on my clothing. 1) As an excuse to start a conversation about dogs, 2) If someone nearby is deathly allergic to dog hair, and 3) If I am about to go into an important meeting with a billionaire neat freak. The rest of the time I am at peace with dog hair being my everyday accessory. I just try and keep it down to a few here and there rather than the full fluffy.
If you ask this while you are in the middle of handing out nutritional packs to starving refugees, I will be more than willing to discuss it with you.
But seriously: I think it is incorrect to think of pets as disposable accessories. Dogs and people hitched their fates together tens of thousands of years ago. Dogs and other domesticated animals helped humans become settled people with agriculture and advanced trade and technology — to essentially become what we are today. In many ways we created each other as modern species.
Suggesting that we could just dispense with dogs to save money for other purposes makes no more sense to me than to suggest we could just dispense with driving motorized vehicles or dispense with wearing clothing for decorative purposes rather than just to regulate our temperature. It ain’t going to happen, so lets figure out how to carry out these activities in a responsible and sustainable way.
Which is probably enough ranting for me for one day. Are there any questions you are sick of hearing? Let me know in the comments!
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Top photo: Woman listens to her dog by Shutterstock.
About the author: Emily Kane is a New Zealand-born animal behaviorist of the throw-back radical behaviorist type, albeit with a holistic-yuppie-feminist-slacker twist. She spent many years as an animal behavior researcher and is now more of an indoor paper-pushing researcher. Her early dog-related education came from Jess the Afghan Hound and Border Collies Bandit and Tam. It is now being continued by her own dogs and extended dog family and some cats (and her three aquatic snails Gala, Granny, and Pippin — they think of themselves as dog-esque).