Mr. Big Dog Snob

I have a dog. And when I meet someone else who has a dog, I feel an immediate kinship. We both like dogs. We both are cut from canine-loving cloth. For me, this is enough. Let the bonding begin. Let's talk rawhide versus pigears. Dentachews versus Greenies. Petco versus Petsmart. Crate training, clicker training, obedience training. Many a marriage was built on a shakier foundation of common ground than those spontaneously forged the moment two dog owners meet and circle and sniff one another's proverbial behinds. Fur and sparks fly and all is right in the world.


Look. I like my dog. I like all dogs, actually, but I admit to liking mine best. Still, I can like your dog almost as much as I like my own. I like telling people I own a dog. I especially like telling single men that I own a dog. In the eyes of a single man, I immediately become more interesting, nurturing, and fun-loving the moment I say I have a dog, and for a split second, while Mr. Maybe is imagining that I own a big slobbery lab or a Burmese mountain dog or even a pit bull, he is somehow altogether willing to build a white picket fence around our suburban colonial so our dog (or dogs) will have somewhere safe to play and chase frisbees. But then he asks--and they ALWAYS ask--"What kind?" Don't make me say it. Don't make me say that I don't share my 700-square-foot apartment with a Saint Bernard or a Great Dane or a dalmation. Don't make me say that my dog is a Yorkshire Terrier. Don't make me watch that flash of disappointment darken your face as you feign interest in what you have already decided is more rodent than dog. To the Big Dog Snob, it doesn't matter that my Yorkie is nineteen pounds of pure lean muscle, scrappy, able to outrun a young Bruce Jenner, and once ate an entire bag of Hersey's Chocolate Nuggets (foil wrappers and all) and was none the worse for wear. It doesn't matter because a Yorkie is not a Big Dog, and therefore, inexplicably, not a dog at all. I am fully aware that the moment my lips form the word "Yorkie," visions of doggie hair ribbons and rhinestone-encrusted collars and little outfits and visits to the mall in mommy's purse dance like fermented sugarplums in his head and I have just become a Paris Hilton wanna-be. I want to scream, Wait! It's not what you think! I am not one of THOSE women. I don't think my dog is a baby and I don't dress him like one. I don't give him gourmet dogfood. I don't talk to him like he's a person (well, at least not when anyone is around). I don't have little doggie steps that let him climb onto my bed. If you would just listen, I would tell you that you would like him. I would tell you he's smart, and does tricks, and chases squirrels, and has an attitude, and is no lapdog. I would tell you that he can do anything a Big Dog can do. I would tell you that he is still a Dog with a capital "D" and can hold his own with the Big Dogs at the park just fine, thank you very much, and in fact has humped a 130-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback into submission on more than one occasion. But I know that screaming and explaining and even crying won't help. If Mr. Maybe is a Big Dog Snob, he's no longer listening. He may still be standing there, and if his mama raised him right, he's still maintaining eye contact and nodding and smiling at all the appropriate moments. But gone is the colonial. Gone is the white picket fence. All that remains is the faint scent that lingers after the butt sniffing has ended.

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