I've gotten a few snide comments about my dog. Usually it happens when I'm on a long walk or am out for the day with Prada, and I've got her in the belly bag. Because you know, purse-dog stereotypes blah blah blah. I've snarked back a time or two--in my polite way, of course. It's amazing how far a, "yeah, it's great that there are more options for handicapped dogs these days, isn't it?" will go. (Cue the stuttering and agreeing. Because while plenty of people are willing to make fun of purse-dogs, not too many are willing to be an asshole about handicapped ones. Kind of like people who are really nice--except to waiters.) More often, I just grin at them to let them know I've heard and move on.
I don't think I should tell someone anything about their dog that I wouldn't say about their child. Or, more universally, if you don't want to feel like an asshole, don't be an asshole. Asshole.
Because sometimes, you've just got to play mama bear.
Naturally, assholes aren't limited to snarking on dogs with altered mobility. Purse dogs, small dogs, dogs they've decided are a mean breed or just ugly, whatever.
Which leads me to an incident my dad described to me. My folks were recently at a national invitational for rally obedience. (Yeah, they got invited to nationals their first year doing it. Dad and Linka took 3rd place in Rally 2, and tied for 6th in Rally 3, the hardest level. Against the best dogs in the country. Not too shabby, right?) At the same event was a conformation show--the standard kind you see on Thanksgiving, for pure-breds only.
Now, Linka is a pure-bred miniature schnauzer, but she has a small white line on her chest that disqualifies her from participating in conformation. So Dad has no real reason to groom her within the parameters of conformation--Linka's got a cut on a variation of the standard, which is more suited to her active lifestyle/running around in the woods all the time. Okay, okay, I'm done with the exposition. Here's the actual story:
My mom was holding Linka during a break between rallies. She wandered over to the conformation show to admire the dogs. A woman with another schnauzer came up to my mom and asked, "What are you doing here? You're obviously not here for conformation."
"No," Mama Bear said. "We're not here for the frou-frou dog show--we're in the competition for smart dogs."