Sunday, July 1, 2012

Have you seen a basenji?

Notice how people with purebred dogs will ask for the breed when their dog is lost? "Have you seen a basset hound? Have you seen a corgi? Have you seen a Chesapeake Bay retriever?" Friend, I could see a whole herd of Chesapeake Bay retrievers and I wouldn't even know it. Can you describe it?

Get this: the guy looking for the Chesapeake Bay retriever described it as "a brown dog." That's all. No size, no coat description, no ears or face... Goes from very specifically "Chesapeake Bay retriever" to just "brown dog."

As it happened, I hadn't seen a brown dog. But if ever your dog is lost, I rather recommend describing it rather than counting on the average citizen's knowledge of dog breeds. When I'm looking for Her Majesty, I ask people if they've seen "a little orange dog with a pointy face". Because "shiba inu" means nothing to them, even after I've introduced Her Majesty many, many times. (I keep telling the paper to do a story about her, which would be vastly more interesting than half their other fluff pieces, but so far, no luck.)

That being said, I don't have to ask people about my dog unless they're new to town. Everyone who lives here has seen me walking my dog. I know this, because total strangers will walk up to me and say "I saw you walking your dog." So in the unlikely event that Her Majesty would be lost, I can just ask people "have you seen my dog?" But most of the time I don't have to. First of all, because Her Majesty does not get lost. We've been all over this town for the last seven years; she knows exactly where she is and how to get back to her food dish. Second, when we do take separate walks, people will come find me and say "your dog is lost, she's at (such place)." Or they will look me up on Facebook. Or they will tell their friend who will find me on Facebook. In any case, I will be promptly informed of the whereabouts of The Creature. Which is very nice of everybody, of course, but I just thank them politely and don't bother going to look where they said, because by the time I get there, she'll have made her way back home. So I just stay right where I am and wait for her.

Some people's dogs, when they get loose, roam the whole town for days. Carter once ran from town all the way to Paradise Gardens, which is at least 20 km. Her Majesty would never do that. Partly because she's never been to Paradise and has no reason to come up with such an idea, and partly because she's far too lazy.

So the moral is, as it always is, walk your dog more. Then your dog is less likely to be lost, because 1) it will know the way home, 2) everyone else will recognise it as your dog, and 3) it won't be tempted to make the most of its scarce freedom.

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