Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Patriotic Dogs


Flag-themed hydrant pulled from dog park:
A fire hydrant painted as an American flag has been removed from a dog park after complaints it was disrespectful to let dogs use it for what dogs do. The new leash-free park was named for Hondo, a police dog killed 10 years ago chasing a suspect, and the flag-painted hydrant was intended as a tribute to him. "We put a lot of effort into it," said artist Jason Ross.
"That gallant dog must be turning in his grave at the thought of the flag being desecrated every time a dog pees on that hydrant!" wrote Louanne Douris, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.

Uhm, I'm a pretty patriotic guy and do realize that dogs are smarter than the average bear but...a dog turning in his grave because a flag-themed hydrant might get peed on by dogs? Consider me skeptical. Not that I knew this dog personally, but I somehow suspect that the first thing ol' Hondo would do were he to see this happening would be to sniff the butt of the offending dog. And then he'd probably pee on the hydrant himself.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why humans might be offended by this, though apparently the hydrant was surrounded by dog-unfriendly shrubs and a more convenient hydrant was placed nearby. But still, I can understand the outrage, even if I think it was misplaced. But to pretend as if Hondo himself would be offended by this, or even that this gallant dog would understand the significance of a red, white, and blue fire hydrant? That's just dumb. Is it really too much to ask people to try living in reality for awhile?

It's no wonder some people get confused when dealing with other cultures, when they imagine that their cultural feelings and symbolism are so universal that even dogs are in-tune with them. And to think, this was a retired Foreign Service officer saying this. If she imagines that patriotism would overcome the natural instincts of other species, imagine what she must think about people from other countries who don't respect America's cultural symbolism.

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