My dog is left-pawed and other deep thoughts

Leonardo da Vinci. Mark Twain. Julius Caesar. Napoleon (not Dynamite—the Napoleon).  Beethoven. Alexander the Great. Ghandi. Justin Beiber. Bill Gates. Joan of Arc. Marilyn Monroe. Thomas Jefferson. Katniss.

Most people get excited when their dog learns to fetch, come when called or not go potty in the house. My proudest day so far in terms of Katniss’ accomplishments—and there are many*—is that she is left-handed, just like me and the illustrious group of people listed above. Being left-handed is an essential part of who I am, weirdly, and I was happier than my readers are when a new blog of mine comes out** that my furry child carried on the trait.

How do I know she’s a lefty? Easy: Ask her to “shake” or give you a high five, and she does so with her left paw. Always. Almost always. She bats her blue rubber ball around predominantly with her left paw, too, and that, dear reader, is good enough evidence to me that she is one of the chosen people—or should I say mammals.

Only about 10 percent of the human population is left-handed, and I believe I am the only lefty, aside from my late grandfather, in my entire family. For dogs, the lefty/righty split is about 50/50.

We lefties, as in people, according to research, are often found to be more creative or expressive, on average, than our righty counterparts—not there aren’t lots of smart right-handed people. Right-handed people are often found to be more logical, too. Lefties are also more likely to have a multitude of diseases and ailments and tend to die sooner, on average, than righties. I hope that doesn’t apply to dogs.

I once met fellow lefty President Bill Clinton, and when I mentioned we were both left-handed, he said, “I guess we’re both in our right minds!”

Some sources say that the first two people to walk on the moon—Buzz Aldrin and my fellow Ohio native, Neil Armstrong—were both lefties. Other articles I have read say Armstrong was not left-handed but fellow Apollo 11 crew member Michael Collins was, and Aldrin was born a lefty but switched to being a righty. As a space/aviation nut who hails from the same city as the Wright brothers, I find this annoying. Can’t all three astronauts just be lefties? Anyway, one out of every four Apollo astronauts was left-handed, which is 250 percent of the norm mentioned above.

Six of our last seven presidents, excluding Dubya and including Obama, have been lefties, too. I once met fellow lefty President Bill Clinton, and when I mentioned we were both left-handed, he said, “I guess we’re both in our right minds!” referring to the fact that left-handed people utilize the right side of their brains more, and righties use the left side of their brains more frequently. I’ll save the entire Clinton story for another blog.

International Lefthanders Day is Thursday, Aug. 13, and if you have a friend or loved one who is left-handed—or a beloved pet who is left-pawed—give said creature a hug for their specialness. Katniss and I will likely celebrate by spending time together doing what we do best: napping.


*Katniss is very athletic, sweet and intelligent. She can fetch, obey commands (usually) and walks well on a leash (usually). She graduated obedience school, and as a fellow lefty she is very creative and expressive when whining.

**I can dream, can’t I?


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