Friday, November 30, 2007

Ladies Look Like Dudes?

This afternoon while walking my dog, Zoe, I saw an acquaintance. We said our hellos as our paths crossed and she added, "What a beautiful boy," as her eyes glanced over to Zoe.

The words I said out loud were just, "Thank you". The completed phrase I said inside my head was, "Thank you. But this here's NO boy, Ma'am!"

Why is it that certain breeds of dogs seem male, and others seem female? People mistake my Siberian Huskies for males often. Knowing them as I do, I find them to be very girlie. I know their favorite color is pink. I know they like to play with dolls. I know they love fancy lingerie. I know they like to watch chick flicks. However, I understand how a stranger could mistake them for male dogs. I have seen large breeds, like Bull Mastiffs, and for whatever reason assumed they were male. And I've seen teacup Poodles and assumed they were female. I don't know why that is, though. Is it just size? Is it the look on their face? Is it the way they walk?

Sometimes, when I tell someone my dogs are "littermates" they make the assumption that Scout is the brother, and Zoe is the sister. Maybe the name throws them? Maybe Scout's slightly larger and huskier size fools people into believing she’s the big brother?

Even my vet, who spayed both of my dogs, has mistakenly said to Scout, "Ok, get on up here, boy!" as he tries to coax her onto the examining table. I'm sure this doubly angers her. She hates getting up on that metal table to be poked and prodded in the first place, and then to be mistaken for a boy dog! Are you kidding me? Once the doctor does his poking and prodding, doesn’t he feel pretty stupid?

I can fault him, but I guess I shouldn't fault the general public. Like I said, I have been guilty of gender misidentification with dogs myself.

So maybe we should all be a little more careful and sensitive to this serious subject. We make a conscious effort not to misidentify gender when it comes to humans. Just because someone has boobs, we do not assume they are female. And just because they have facial hair, we do not assume they are male.

We need to give the same effort with dogs because not all big dogs are boys. And not all little dogs are girls.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

You're so right about this--funny thing is I always think of Huskies as female, because the only one I've known was female: Misty--she was an incredibly sweet neighbor across the street.

I've noticed that my dad calls ALL dogs "he" -- he's not much of a dog person and I think it's his way of being more polite and not calling them "it." :o)