March is here on the island of Puerto Rico; the sun hangs a little higher in the sky as trade-wind breezes stir the ocean swell. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and with it, Georgia May’s birthday. She is seven now, with a soft tide of gray hairs encroaching her whiskers, but her pit bull eyes still shine with youth. A mixture of hope and sadness has defined her longing gaze ever since I brought her home six years ago. …
When we got our Dalmatian puppy, Bean, I learned one quick and hard lesson: To own a dog is to reconcile with the prospect of forced socializing.
Crossing paths with another dog owner often means engaging in stilted conversation while the dogs sniff butts.
“Nice day, isn’t it?”
“What breed is your dog?”
“How about those [name of a local sports team]?”
Meanwhile, you pray the conversation doesn’t turn political.
Life as a first-time dog owner reminds me of when my son was in preschool and we felt like we were essentially dating his friend’s parents. …
If you lived through the Civil Rights era — or you’ve seen the stark black-and-white photography — you should know that these dogs are henchmen for racists. Hell, Hitler loved a German Shepherd, and the Nazis followed suit. Canine opps for a century and going strong.
Never mind the city for which the breed is named. This type of dog was dubbed the “The American Gentleman” in the 19th century — back when some White folks literally called Black people “dogs.” Hmmm…
Tupac Amaru Shakur didn’t die for some guy named Chadley to show off an ironic “pug life” tattoo…
My name is Keith Lamar Murphy, and I am a Black man with a tiny dog.
Like most Black men, I was taught that dogs are an extension of our manhood and the contract with our canine companions was all about mutual protection. I grew up with a German shepherd named Heidi. Heidi technically belonged to my grandmother, but we knew she loved us all. And my late old man, God bless him, owned a comically intimidating Doberman pinscher named Bonnie who took commands — in German, no less!
Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.