Monday, August 3, 2009

The Dog Parkist: Breeding, Schmeeding

Q: Often, people stop me at Dog Park to ask what breed my dog is. The fact is that I don't know. She's a mix of several, obviously, but I have no way of knowing which. People like to speculate, and I'm fine with that, I guess. My question is, why do people care? My dog is happy, healthy, and playful. That's enough for me. Why isn't it enough for other folks?
—Well Bred Enough

A: It is interesting, isn't it, that the people most concerned with good breeding seem to lack good manners. You have my sympathy, my dear WBE. I am sure that you are a lovely person and your dog is a lovely creature, mongrels though you both are. You are satisfied with the sheer privilege of drawing breath and walking the earth without a care about your place in the social structure. And why not? Life is complicated enough without knowing for certain who one's Daddy is and what he did or made for a living. 

The thing is, my dear, that human beings like to make classifications. They can't help it. It's hard-wired into their precious DNA. Human beings rose up from the dust a gazillion years ago with the brain power to sort the fresh meat from the spoiled, the enemy with a rock from the friend with a hewn tool, and the good grain from the chaff. Unfortunately, in modern times, the importance of  that type of sorting is now somewhat muted by the inventions of refrigeration and Facebook. Now we collect and sort stamps, flowers, baseball cards, glass baubles, and t-shirts adorned with beer logos or obnoxious sayings. Yet, some humans are not satisfied by the mere shuffling of things. They still want to exercise the part of the brain that sorts people and animals into categories that they consider meaningful, such as purebred and mutt. 

For some reason, the Dog Parkist has been, throughout her years in Texas, subjected to such scrutiny herself. She often meets people, strangers, who want to know where she is from or where her ancestors were born. Good heavens, she thinks: On planet Earth. Does it matter that her people are small, cranky, hard-drinking, tight-fisted northern Europeans who fled horrid economic conditions and settled in New Jersey in previous centuries? She's her own person with her own experiences, just, my dear, as your pet is his or her own dog. And any dog owner who has rescued a stray from the shelter or the street will tell you that mutts have mixed DNA on their side. Simply tell those who ask that your pooch is the best breed of all—your own dog, and keep walking, dear. Always keep walking. 

Dear Readers: I have only just learned that the writer of this blog has finally obtained legal means of employment. Will wonders never cease! As a result, the Dog Parkist also has learned, posts will be fewer in number and duration. Indeed! Don't despair, dearies. You have the Dog Parkist's permission to click on past posts for refresher courses in proper Dog Park conduct. Ta! 

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