Can We Please Talk About the Weird Things Strangers Say About Our Dogs?

One woman insisted that my dog voted Republican. What weird things have you heard?

Last Updated on May 13, 2015 by Dogster Team

There’s something about a dog, especially a mutt, that invites strangers on the street to lose all sense of decorum and say the first sentence — kind or otherwise — that springs to mind.

While I think my Border CollieAustralian Cattle Dog mix, Pelle, is adorable, he doesn’t look like the stereotype of a cuddly, all-American dog and isn’t a well-known breed; I receive far more compliments when I’m dog sitting and walking my friends’ admittedly wonderful Greyhound, Rufus. Pelle, with his orange spots, permanent eyeliner, and every-which-way fur, seems to incite people to much stranger compliments and occasional offense. Here are the five craziest things strangers on the street have said about Pelle:

1. He’s a hipster.

A few summers ago, Pelle suffered a fractured pelvis and had surgery that required the vet to shave his half of his backside.

Shortly afterward, Pelle and I walked past a bar in industrial Bushwick and a bouncer said in disgust: “[Expletive] hipsters, they’re giving their dogs asymmetrical haircuts too. Dumb [expletive] thinks she’s an artiste now.”

2. He’s an international rock star.

One Monday morning, a gorgeous blond model-type coming down from some sort of celestial high floated over to Pelle and me to gush, “Oh, my God, he’s so dreamy! He looks just like a young Rod Stewart!” Her boyfriend gently led her away.

3. His shaved butt means something … political?

Later that week, a weedy, fresh-out-of-college twentysomething guy asked, “So, that dog’s haircut has to be some kind of political statement, right?”

Yep. I’m into super high-concept, politicized art projects that require half a shaved dog’s butt. Vote or die, y’all.

4. Apparently my dog looks like a Republican.

Politics can cause all sorts of tempers to run high. I had an odd encounter with a woman at a Manhattan dog park who looked at Pelle and started shrieking. I wasn’t sure what had bothered her, so I immediately leashed Pelle and headed for the park gate, where the woman, who’d been casually chatting with friends a moment before, blocked me, spitting, “YOUR DOG IS A REPUBLICAN! HE VOTED FOR GEORGE BUSH! HE’S A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN!” She was so incensed that some dog park friends had to act as a physical buffer to allow me to get through the gate and out of the park.

5. He’s just a sentient furball.

Similarly upset was the proprietor of a local corner grocery I frequented when Pelle was a puppy. This man really struggled with the idea that Pelle is a dog. The first time he saw Pelle waiting outside his shop, he yelped, “WHAT is THAT?!” When I said it was a puppy, he shouted angrily, “That’s not a dog. That’s just hair!” He continued to disparage Pelle each time he saw him. I still like to think of Pelle as just some hair to which I became inexplicably attached and treat as a pet.

6. Actually, he’s my sunshine.

I do have to include my favorite compliment of Pelle, which edges out the Rod Stewart one for its sheer exuberance. A woman in a small, vintage furniture shop in Brooklyn said rapturously when she saw Pelle, “Wow, he’s like a golden sunrise with a herd of running palominos!”

“Exactly,” I said.

So now here’s the part where you dish: What are the craziest, funniest things a stranger’s ever said about your pet? Share your wild stories in the comments section!

About the author: Lauren Zimmer lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend and dog. She is a children’s and young adult book reviewer and licensed social worker. Her dream is to become an animal-assisted therapist for children, and she hopes to someday own a farm where she can house many more adopted pets.

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