Saturday, August 1, 2009

Issues Facing White People

So I've noticed a disconcerting trend at my local farmer's market (farmers' market? I don't really know where the apostrophe goes). One aspect of the trend, Parade of Dogs, I can totally get behind. I love dogs. I frankly can't get enough of them and consider a dog's absence from my life a much greater misfortune than my lingering singletude.I think all dogs, small and yippy, large and foreboding, are worthy of love.Which brings me to my concern: the escalating exotic breed oneupsmanship that I see going on amongst all those out buying swiss chard and goat flesh out of Coleman coolers from strangers.

I have never before seen, in person, some of the breeds I've seen this summer at the market. Great Pyranees, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Bouvier des Flanders (look it up), to name a few. And these aren't even the ones that weird me out. No, it's the giant dogs. The Irish Wolfhounds, the Neapolitan Mastiffs, the Newfoundlands (miserable looking in the heat), and last week, the Leonberger. I know these names because I ask the owners who invariably seem a little annoyed to constantly be answering questions about their dogs, but COME ON. When your dog is the size of a Smart Car, it draws attention and you love it. You know you do, weirdos.

And there's nothing wrong with pure breed dogs. I get it. But the sheer number of such unusual dogs (and of such heft and general thickness) is starting to make the dog ownership feel kind of icky and fetishistic to me, like all the white guys in Seattle who only date Asian girls. The dog trend is particularly galling given the staggering number of healthy dogs that have to be euthanized at shelters. It's all enough to make me paraphrase Jennifer Aniston's take on Brad after he left her: I think they must have a sensitivity chip missing or something.I didn't think this blog would ever see a Jennifer Aniston quote, but there it is.


  1. Probably the best title ever.

    There's a dog parade in Beaufort, NC every night. No giant dogs, though.

  2. I totally agree that many people are drawn to exotic dog breeds for the same reason a lot of people bought the new VW Bug when it first came out: They knew people would ask them about it at stop lights. But I'm a little surprised that you're encountering this, because for some reason I thought the pendulum was swinging back in the other direction, and that mixed breeds were the new hip dog to have. Maybe it was wishful thinking.

    Sam, have you considered volunteering at a no-kill animal shelter? I started volunteering at one here in Cincinnati ( 9 years ago, when I couldn't have a dog at my apartment, was depressed in general and just needed some dog time. It was a great solution to my dog-yearning, and made me feel I was really helping out animals in need at the same time. The really good ones aren't depressing.

  3. The really good no-kill shelters aren't depressing, is what I meant to say. I didn't mean to imply that less-than-perfect dogs are depressing.

  4. Ha- I'm glad you clarified that, Meg. I was detecting some serious dog-elitism.

  5. Hey Meg,
    I went through training with the Humane Society to become a volunteer. Even though they obviously euthanize, I still think I could deal with it. Because of school and my work schedule, I couldn't commit as often as they needed, so it's on hold until after this semester. They have a pit bull rescue program I'm particularly interested in. I really like pits, but if I'm being honest, I'm also pretty afraid of them. I force myself to act calmly when I'm around them because I do think they get a bad rap, but I'm scared nonetheless.

  6. Yeah, I know what you mean. I've known some truly wonderful pitties, but they're mighty powerful.

    I hope your volunteering works out; I think you'll find it really satisfying. I have nothing against shelters that euthanize; it's a sad necessity. If you can work there and not get too sad, more power to you.

  7. Upon reading your blog, Dave wanted me to give you his comment. "I'm a white guy from the midwest and if I wasn't married with two kids, I would date damn near any woman who would talk to me." There you have it. And our dog is just a mutt.