Tag: dogs

El Perro

She was found in a box in Mexico.

It was an inauspicious start to life, but from that humble beginning, she has grown into a kindhearted and affectionate individual. And she has finally learned that a true lady does not defecate in the living room.

Our new dog is a mutt of multiple breeds. We know, however, that the two primary breeds in her bloodline are, of all things, Boxer and Dachshund. It’s a truly unique, and logistically weird, combination (how did her parents get together?). But it makes her a Boxhund.

I’ve written before about my fondness for the canine species. They possess all of the positive traits of humanity (love, loyalty, joy, etc) with none of our negative characteristics (bigotry, greed, jealousy, etc).

When my wife and I decided to get a rescue dog, we assumed that he or she would be a local stray, found on the streets of Los Angeles. We were surprised, therefore, when the rescue group’s coordinator revealed that our puppy was discovered shivering in a parking lot just over the border.

Evidently, when it comes to taking care of animals, nationalities and borders don’t matter — and nor should they. Volunteers and vets with the rescue organization are not concerned where a dog originated, or on which patch of land she took her first breath. They simply strive to ensure that every animal finds a good home, and my wife and I are indebted to them.

This humanitarian process doesn’t work the same way with people. In fact, it’s noticeably easier for a dog to immigrate to America than it is for a person. Of course, as a Mexican national, our dog had to endure the usual bureaucracy and red tape, but I assure all the nativists out there that she is in the country legally.

Now, one could argue that our dog is performing tricks that an American puppy would gladly do. Maybe she’s driving down the minimum wage for dogs who are able to hold their “stay” command (it’s currently half a Milkbone).

But I have no intention of returning her to Mexico. It’s good to have a fellow Hispanic in the house.

It’s funny, however. You barely notice her Latina accent.

In Dog We Trust

My dog is a Boxer. Like most Boxers, she’s high-spirited and extroverted. So to burn off her ridiculous amounts of energy, we hit the dog park at least once a week. Over the four years that we’ve been going to this field of canine conviviality, I’ve noticed a gradual change.

It’s true that my dog still spends most of her time roughhousing with an endless procession of Maggies, Jakes, and Baileys. But lately, she’s played with Carlos the basenji and Poncho the mutt and, in a true cross-cultural feat, she even raced Miguel the German Shepherd.

It used to be that only Chihuahuas would get Latino names. Now I’m meeting Rhodesian Ridgebacks called Selena and hearing people yell, “Pedro, come!” at their Australian Cattle Dogs.

Is this a subtle evolution of new cultural norms? Is it a subconscious acknowledgement that Hispanic names are no less American than “Charlie,” and therefore, they’re good enough for our best friends? Or are people just tired of calling their dogs Max?

Now some may be offended that I’m amused by all these Hispanic canine names. Isn’t it, by its very nature, dehumanizing that Latinos are increasingly being equated with dogs? To those critics, I say, lighten up.

Plenty of white names are used on dogs, with no ill effects for those monikers. I once knew a Belgian Malinois named Keith, for damn sakes.

In addition, is it really an insult to be equated with the greatest species on the planet? Yes, it should be clear that I’m very fond of dogs (see my earlier post on this) and perhaps I’m bias. But in any case, a responsible owner names his pets with the best of intentions, on the basis of love or as an act of homage. They do not go out of their way, usually, to signal contempt or debase others.

My own dog is named after an Irish pop band (no, her name isn’t U2). But perhaps I will consider naming any future companions Jose or Maria… or maybe I’ll pass on that idea because, after all, too many dogs will probably have those names already.


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