Maggie Van Ostrand
sick and tired of hearing about same-sex marriage. Either do it or
don't, but quit all the media and political harping on it. I've got
problems of my own.
Not enough attention is being given to marriages much more interesting
and envelope-pushing than same-sex wedlock. I'm talking about a different
commitment, one deserving of full-frontal media coverage; I refer
of course to different-species marriage. A real mixed blessing.
For years I've been saying, "If my dog, Moppet, had shoulders, I'd
marry him," so the species I'd like to see legally permitted to marry,
with medical coverage and appropriate tax deductions, are human and
Well, why not? I've certainly been pawed often enough by other humans.
I totally espouse the mixing of these two species for many reasons.
Moppet's much more agreeable than any human mate I've ever had, even
if his tongue is black and his ancestry is uncertain. For instance,
on a road trip east from Los Angeles to everyplace else, he never
objected when I stopped to ask for directions, he was happy with every
motel we stayed at, and not once did he whine "Are we there yet?"
like the issue of same-species marriages does. Whenever we got there
was fine with him.
While we were driving in Kentucky, I looked over at Moppet in the
passenger seat, all decked out in his black fur outfit with the white
tie, the one he wears every day, and said, "Hey, Moppet, there's a
road sign saying it's only 20 miles from the next exit to Abe Lincoln's
birthplace. Wanna go?" He erected his platter-sized, one-up and one-down
ears, wagged his fringed tail and I could swear he actually smiled
at the very thought. A human partner might've insisted on staying
on the main road, reaching our given destination on time, or something
else equally unimportant and dull.
Maybe he can't speak English as we know it, but I understand him.
He informed me that Lincoln gave his dog the unimaginative name of
"Fido." Very disappointing, considering Lincoln's genius with the
language. Worse, he named his horse, "Bob," so I guess he saved his
creativity for speeches. Anyway, Fido was a floppy-eared, rough-coated,
yellowish dog who waited outside the barbershop chasing his own tail
for amusement, while Lincoln got his hair cut.
I Googled this story and it's true. It's nice to have a learned companion.
He's funny, too. When we were in Memphis, parked across the street
from Graceland and next to Presley's jet, the "Lisa Marie," Moppet's
upper lip went into an uncanny Elvis-like sneer. I fully realized
it was caught on his tooth, but that doesn't detract from the effect
of his impersonation.
And Moppet's quite smart. When he has to see the vet, he doesn't moan
and groan about hating doctors and hospitals like human men do --
he just goes right along with me without resisting. Of course, I have
to drive him there because he hasn't yet been able to get a learner's
permit. Bureaucratic red tape at the DMV.
Another benefit to having a dog as a mate is that I can introduce
him to all my girlfriends without fear they'll seduce him. Then again,
most of them probably wouldn't want to date such a hairy, short guy
whereas to me, size doesn't matter.
Moppet's cooperation is limitless; we managed to get into a "no pets"
motel simply because Moppet was agreeable to walking on two legs and
sporting a trench coat. The fact that he doesn't smoke made it easier.
In El Paso, I passed him off as a seeing-eye dog by making a fake
harness for him and wearing sunglasses myself, but the trench coat
act doesn't take as long.
And you can call us absolute Americans -- we're both mutts. My ancestry
is also mixed.
To find out if different-species marriage is feasible, I might take
him to New York, the location of Blue Sky Dogs, which arranges Best
Friends Weekend trips. Blue Sky guarantees "Quality bonding time,
relaxation, ease and fun," all included in the $225-$350 package,
including two nights lodging, breakfasts, guided hikes, Adventure
Day Trips, and more.
When the time comes, I want my ashes mixed with Moppet's, crammed
into a tube with some TNT, and shot into the atmosphere.
That'll please all those people who say wherever I am, there's bound
to be fireworks.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus"
October 1, 2005 column