“I found your dog. He got out the side gate,” my neighbor said.
“Thanks for finding her,” I replied gratefully.
If you were really bored or having trouble sleeping earlier this week and read my previous blog entry to remedy either symptom, you discovered Katniss recently got loose. You also discovered there is no quicker way to doze off than reading “A Guero and His Perro.” You’re welcome, insomniacs. Or, I should say, insomniac, based on my readership.
My neighbor, who is awesome because he 1.) found Katniss and 2.) enjoys an ice-cold Natty Light from time to time, is among many who have called my beloved Katniss “he” or even “it” when they meet her. I suspect it’s either because of her red collar, or people are sexist jerks. My money is on the collar.
I suppose the easiest way, aside from the obvious one*, to tell the gender of a dog at first glance is to check the color of his or her collar. I prefer when people simply ask if Katniss is a boy or girl. Maybe I have some sort of weird feminist dog agenda, but I’m super proud that Katniss is a girl.
Besides, I always thought red was gender-neutral. I would agree that pink or purple are more widely used for female accessories—canine or human—and blue is most often associated with males. Then again, my friend’s male dog has a purple collar, so what the hell do I know?
When we adopted Katniss, she had a dainty pink collar that we knew wouldn’t last a week. We got her a red one because my wife and I both like red**, and Katniss needed a newer, thicker collar. Plus the pink one was smelly, and the red one looked good with Katniss’ coat.
The thing is, as my loyal reader knows, dogs can see mostly only grays in addition to yellow and blue, so the collar colors really aren’t even for them—the colors are for us. Dogs never even see their collars anyway because their collars aren’t within their range of vision. A dog trying to see its collar would be like a person trying to see a tattoo he or she got on the back of his or her neck. Hopefully it’s not a tattoo of a Chinese character that is supposed to mean “warrior” but could also mean “foolish.”
In hindsight, maybe we should have let the teeny-tiny Katniss pick out her own collar when we adopted her—we could have laid them all out on the floor of PetSmart, and whichever color she sniffed first would have been hers.
Even if it was blue.
*How else do you think? If you’re still not sure what I’m referring to, go ask an adult.
**I have a red car, red reading glasses, red shoes, a red hammer I use when woodworking, half my shirts are red or have red in them, and I’m sure I started rooting for my beloved but currently woeful San Francisco 49ers as a little boy partly because their primary color is red. Even this blog has red here and there. Maybe my love for red comes from my home state of Ohio—the state bird, state flower, state insect, state fruit and state beverage are all red, not to mention those idiotic Ohio State Buckeyes, whose primary color is scarlet. I was surrounded by OSU propaganda for decades; maybe it got to me as an impressionable youth, hence my love of red? As an editor I often use a red pen, too. Even my birthstone is red, and so is the packaging for my favorite drink, Coke. My “hometown” pro baseball team? The Cincinnati Reds, of course. After reading such a dumb blog post, I bet you’re even seeing red right now!