Habibi is a racist.
Our neighbors have a golden retriever. He is a typical big, waggly, soft, loopy fellow, friendly to everyone whether on two feet or four. The neighbors often let him run loose, and he wanders around the vicinity of their house, though in “public” property, where all the neighbors pass and park their cars. His major occupation is picking up everything he possibly can mange in his mouth and scattering the pieces. Another of his habits, typical of any male dog of course, is to pee on anything and everything including the wheels of the parked cars.
Habibi oftens sees him running free when we come home in the car. True that this is, in actual fact, public territory, not ours – but not to Habibi! We walk around there, our car is parked there – therefore, it is ours! This presumptuous dog has no right to be wandering around and lifting his leg on the wheels of our car! Habibi warns him very vocally from the car, and also from behind our fence – when he is out with me in the lower part of our yard, he can see the road and dogs and people that might be walking around down there. Of course Flaubert (yes, this is, believe it or not, his name), is unconcerned and indifferent to what Habibi considers to be property rights, and too placid (or stupid?) to care.
This, of course, is totally infuriating to Habibi. Ignoring his rights!!!!
Last weekend, we were at a dog show, a multibreed show with several different breed clubs participating, and quite a variety of dogs present. Habibi knows very well that dog shows are neutral territory, this is not a place he is required to defend and other dogs are allowed to be there. He ignores them, sitting next to me and looking through them as if they are invisible, or lying calmly in his crate, his only interest being to try and keep me in his line of sight. The only time I saw a reaction, a warning growl, was when one quite stupid dog owner let his dog come up to the crate and drink from Habibi’s water dish which was just outside. How dare he touch something that was ours! But otherwise, his behavior at shows is exemplary.
But at this show, I was surprised to find Habibi very actively interested in getting hold of any goldens that were in our general vicinity. Despite my emphatic warning that goldens were definitely allowed to be there and that he was definitely not allowed to touch them, I could feel throughout the day his tension whenever he caught sight of one. The vibrations of his under the breath growling whenever one came in sight could be felt clearly through his leash. He also showed his strong disapproval of
Labradors – after all, all of these chunky cream colored dogs look alike, who can tell them apart?
For Habibi now, any golden is guilty and considered fair game. And
Labradors are too; for him, they are the same floppy eared, waggly, soft lipped things with less hair. Dogs do identify one another by breeds. Who says that only people are racists? Though dogs usually seem to have a reason…