When did my dog become a man hater?
Another reason to vary your dog walk routine
I’ve been a guy’s girl for as long as I could remember. From preschool to Corporate America to my neighborhood block, you can put me in a room full of men (pre-COVID-19) and I’ll be perfectly comfortable chit-chatting with everybody. Even as a little girl, I’d been handling the negotiation process of time played with Barbie versus He-Man from the days I mastered the alphabet. Although they may not admit it as adult men, I’ve gotten plenty of “macho” boys to hang out in Barbie’s mansion.
So, give or take a few, men have been easy friends. With girls (and now women), it’s a mixed bag, probably because I don’t have any sisters and there are less of them in my social circle. More often than not, I feel like a fish out of water at women-only events. So how did I, of all dog owners, end up with a man-hating dog who likes all women?
I can partially blame this on COVID-19. Mask mandates or not, I was a fan of people staying 6 feet away from me long before I knew what coronavirus was. As a former professional dog walker and dog caregiver, I was also conscious of how dog interactions vary depending on age and exposure. But with my own dog, I have been adamant about her being exposed to a diverse group of people. The last thing I wanted was a racist, sexist dog.
So I made a point of taking her into neighborhoods where she would be around everybody. There’s the Ethiopian restaurant a few blocks away. There’s that two-block long stretch of Mexican-owned restaurants and businesses, where I slowed down near the street vendors selling churros and fresh fruit. Even walking out of my own condo unit door is a mix of diversity, with her greeting everybody from the Ethiopian lady on the top floor, observing the Mexican and Puerto Rican lady with her two kids who play in the gangway, the Iranian male tenant who just moved in, the Bolivian guy who brings his dog wherever he goes, a bunch of other African- and African-American unit owners and tenants, and so on. And that’s not including the white and African-American tenants in the building next door.
Then winter came. All that summer and autumn socializing dwindled as snow and ice took over, and people started staying indoors. Walks got shorter. (She likes hopping in snow but is not a fan of cold weather.) And slowly, I started watching her freeze up and the low growling started—only at men: the exterminator, the plumber, then neighbors and tenants. Where did I go wrong?