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A Man Who Wants to Live as a Dog -- Boomer -- Gets Denied a Legal Name-Change

"He's a very intelligent young man," says a friend.

 |  Nov 7th 2013  |   5 Contributions


If you're reading this site (or for that matter, writing for it), it's a pretty safe guess that you like dogs. But how many of us want to be a dog?

Other than the occasional fantasy of being able to chase flying plastic disks and poop in the open instead of going to work for the day, I'd be willing to bet that most people reading this post love having dogs as friends and companions, but you might draw the line at becoming one.

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Boomer the dog shows off his dog suit, made of shredded newspaper.

Gary Matthews is different. Matthews has gone to court twice to petition for his name to legally be changed to "Boomer the Dog"; once in 2010, and again this month. This week's request was denied again by a Pittsburgh judge on the grounds that the name would be confusing to 911 operators and dispatchers if they needed to send help in a crisis.

Because Boomer is the name that he apparently prefers, I'm going to respect that for the rest of this piece, even if the law prefers that he stay as Gary.

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Boomer outside the suit. Still from a video by the Bi-Quarterly Women's Social Club.

For Boomer, as he likes to be known by his friends, it's more than a name change. He actually does identify as a dog: That includes wearing a dog suit made of shredded paper and sometimes eating dog food. He told ABC News: "I don't eat dog food every day. It's a special thing for me to do once in a while to get closer to feeling like a canine. I eat the canned kind. It's not bad -- it tastes OK. I eat regular human food, too, like pizza."

Boomer has wanted to live as a dog since seeing the Disney movie The Shaggy D.A. in 1976.

"I started playing dog and getting into it," he said. "It was like a kid thing. Sometimes, I would bark or maybe get into a big box and peek out with my paws over the side of it like a dog would do. In a couple of years, I really got into it. ... Maybe I was looking for a personality to have."

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Boomer with some kids at a crosswalk.

Boomer has been very open about his life as a dog; he has his own web page, Twitter account, and Facebook page, and earlier this year he was featured in an episode of Taboo USA by National Geographic.

Although more than one person has suggested that Boomer has psychological problems, it seems like one could have much worse problems. And for Boomer, it's not a problem.

"I see it as a lifestyle. I just live differently," he says.

He's not in treatment for mental illness, and he hasn't had any run-ins with the law.

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A still from Disney's 1976 film The Shaggy D.A., which helped inspire Boomer as a child.

A friend of his, 68-year-old Lois Achchammer, says of Boomer, "He's very quiet, very reserved and very polite and well-mannered. "I couldn't say anything bad about him. They say there is a fine line between insanity and genius, and I think he's on that line. He's a very intelligent young man."

Via ABC News

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