After the great victory, Vincent and I were talking about Obama’s various proposals, what he’d realistically be able to do, what the priorities should be… The usual. I then made the mistake of saying that I couldn’t wait to find out about what kind of dog the First Girlies would be getting.
This prompted major eye-rolling on Vincent’s part. He’s always saying we Americans care more about our pets than we do about people. Maybe. I told him that the First Pet is important to Americans. I never really thought about why, though. Maybe it’s that having a pet humanizes the president, which is obviously something Americans need more than the French, who seem to prefer that their leaders remain securely atop pedestals ensconced within ivory towers. (One reason why they have such a problem with Ségolène Royal if you ask me. She’s too real for them. But we think she rocks.)
Of course, then there was Obama’s press conference, during which we got a hint. Vincent was baffled by the whole hypoallergenic dog thing, never having heard of such a concept, not surprisingly. (The French are just not as clinical about things as we are.) He expressed his bafflement, and I said poodles were considered hypoallergenic because they didn’t shed, but that I didn’t know of any other breeds that were.
It appears the French are also curious about the dog, although some of the snooty intellectuals are ridiculing this plebeian obsession with the next Dog of the Free World.
I am a dog person. Cats are immensely cool, and I’d get a kick out of having one (except that they walk on your kitchen counters, and I have an all-American hygiene issue). I love the lolcats. But I am not a cat person.
I grew up with dogs. Poodles, to be precise (my poodle history). I had a beautiful (rescued) redbone coonhound the last few years I was married, but I lost him in my divorce. Broke my heart, but my escape entailed serious residential downsizing and Virgil had to stay where he would have a yard. He was a big boy (80 pounds of pure love).
Since then, I’ve had to get my dog fix in other ways. When I became single, I moved a block away from Dog Beach in San Diego, so I could surround myself with other people’s dogs and revel in their surf-and-frisbee frenzy. There’s a dog in the novel I’m writing. Sassy used to post regular Yuki news, but she has major stuff going on, so I have to do without for now. However, my pal La Belette Rouge is on the verge of becoming a dog mom it seems. I’m looking forward to that.
Paris is crawling with Yorkies, Jack Russells and Bichons. Those seem to be the hot breeds of the bourgeois. Designer dogs to go with their designer clothes. I can walk to pet-store row (over by the Louvre) in 10 minutes, and I do, every now and then for a dose of dog. But it can be depressing too. (There I go again.) I would never buy a dog from a breeder or pet store. (Bumper sticker brainwashing: Don’t breed or buy while shelter dogs die.)
According to the Humane Society, six to eight million dogs enter shelters each year in the US and about half of them are gassed.
A few months ago, I started seriously thinking about getting a dog and cruising the shelter pages here in Paris. They don’t make it easy for you to adopt dogs here. Shelters are far outside of the city and since I, like most Parisians, don’t have a car, that limits my options. But I’ll find a way when the time comes. I’ve browsed craigslist and kijiji a few times in search of dogs, but it’s incredibly time consuming and a major pain in the ass.
There are so many ways to keep dogs from being disposed of like used Kleenex if you can’t adopt one yourself. You can make contributions to your local shelter, or volunteer. You could buy a sexy calendar from Pinups for Pups…
Miss September, Angela Ryan, and Ella—who was rescued.
Recently, there was a geek contest called Rails Rumble 2008, which is a challenge for developers to create an application using Ruby on Rails in 48 hours. One of the resulting applications from this year’s Rumble is called Forever Home. I think it’s brilliant. Incredibly clean, simple and attractive user interface. And for a good cause.
I went to the site and entered my old zip code in San Diego (it only works for the US and Canada at the moment) and there were 79 pages of dogs that need homes (it only works for dogs right now too). If you’re looking for a dog, that’s exciting. (But when I think that many, if not most of these people impulsively and frivolously got dogs to begin with, it really pisses me off.)
Our dear Polly of Polly-Vous Français ? is leaving Paris for a time. (She’ll be back, I’m certain of it.) But for now, she has to find a home for Lou-Lou, her goldfish. If only Lou-Lou were a dog… Polly has some fabulous stuff she needs to unload, so if you live in Paris, take a look at this site and help Polly purge. Don’t wait! She’s leaving this month!