I must make a confession: I am a dog scrooge.
I realize that as we traverse the Portland Farmer's Market in the spring, summer, and fall, and countless Portlanders bring their dogs to the market, and I do everything I can to avoid them. I would never knowingly buy a house near someone who owned an aggressive dog. I steer my kids away from strange dogs in fear of dog bites.
Before Mike and I were married, we housesat for a month near Multnomah Village for my cousin's widow, Ann, while she and her son went to Hawaii. Ann had a 1/2 Husky, 1/2 wolf dog named Kaya. She was a beautiful dog, and Mike, staying home during the day, really bonded with her. Not me--I could either take or leave her. When she pooped all over the carpets one day, it did nothing to increase my fondness for her!
I have always been more of a cat person than a dog person, perhaps because I didn't really grow up with dogs. Our first family pet was a dog, Sunshine, although she had a very short life before she was hit by a car. After that, we always had cats. Maybe that's why I lack the dog gene--fear of commitment?
My disinterest in dogs is a recently discovered admission of mine. It is not popular to be disinterested in dogs in modern-day Portland. In this month's Portland Monthly, writer David Wolman writes about Portland's dog mania.
Apparently, Portland has 136,332 registered canines that use 31 off-leash areas at dog parks, and more dogs per capita than anywhere else in the country. Dogs can enjoy $60/hour massages, or doggy day cares with the latest toys and on-call nail care technicians. Then there are also gourmet pet bakeries, which prepare birthday cakes decorated with fire hydrants. Furthermore, employment in the pet care industry is 40 percent higher in Multnomah Country than the national average.
I don't have any problem with people being dog lovers, but I just can't relate--probably much in the same way that purposely childless couples cannot understand why anyone would want to have children. I like my sister's family's dog, a Golden Retriever, and I have no antipathy toward dogs. It's just this obsessive affection for them that baffles me.
According to the Portland Monthly article, 42 percent of dog owners let their dogs share their bed, and 55 percent bought their pets holiday gifts. How many dogs really understand the idea of Christmas? :)
For those of you who are dog lovers, please forgive this guilty confession of mine. I feel better getting it off my chest!