They're good dogs, Brent! Especially this one!
February 15, 2017 12:56 PM   Subscribe

The 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was won by Rumor, a German Shepherd who took Best in Show. She is a very good dog. There are also many other good dogs. The handlers, however, are another story. Surely someone can teach these people how to dress themselves?
posted by Naberius (79 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
RUMOR HAS IT!
posted by Going To Maine at 1:01 PM on February 15 [16 favorites]


More photos.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:03 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


I heard somewhere she was going to win...
posted by Samizdata at 1:10 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


So, my dog Truman is a "pet quality" purebred Border Terrier, and one of his extended kin won best in breed this year. All of the Meadowlake dogs were bred by the same really nice lady who taught my dog to shit in a box when he was the size of a potato. If you go down to the bottom of the page, one of the competing dogs (Booty Call) is his bio cousin. Truman's mom and Booty Call's mom are sisters. It is a surreal experience seeing a person you personally know showing a dog you personally know on television.

We're very proud.
posted by phunniemee at 1:15 PM on February 15 [30 favorites]


Anyone know where Westminster stands on the whole GSD standard? Rumor seems a little less slopey than usual in the first set of photos but this one seems to point otherwise.

but you know what - say what you will about the silliness of breed standards and competitions - bring on more DogFilter for my mental health!
posted by drewbage1847 at 1:20 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Yo, Rumor, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but Mia the Preoccupied Beagle is one of the best show dogs of all time! One of the best show dogs of all time!
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:21 PM on February 15 [30 favorites]


This year, I was too distracted by the terrible announcing of some lady and Chris Myers to even focus on the clothes and the shoes. I miss David Frei. Fox Sports made a mistake getting rid of him.
posted by narancia at 1:23 PM on February 15




i only ever watch the H O U N D S section bc they are the best and most wonderful puppers in the entire universe thank u goodbye
posted by poffin boffin at 1:32 PM on February 15 [8 favorites]


also i got mad in 2012 when that animated ball of manky dryer lint won so i can no longer watch the toy dog section even though the pomeranians are always so sassy
posted by poffin boffin at 1:33 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I saw a pretty dog this morning and wanted to shriek, Oh Dog! You are so Beautiful! You should have won Best In Show! but then I thought it would be very frightening to the human who was walking the beautiful (very fluffy, large) dog. Then, less than a block later, a Pekingese being walked by its human came toward me and I looked at him and thought, Oh Dog! Your breed was among the finalists for Best In Show! Chuckie won the Toy Group! and the dog stopped, glared at me (you know how those Pekingese can glare!) and refused to move forward. I felt terrible, and the dog's human didn't realize that I was at fault, so she simply swept up the dog and continued to walk. I cowered near a wall in order to show the Dog that he was alpha.
posted by janey47 at 1:34 PM on February 15 [15 favorites]


Who cares how a dog handler is dressed?
posted by jfwlucy at 1:35 PM on February 15 [6 favorites]


The handlers, however, are another story. Surely someone can teach these people how to dress themselves?

What does this have to do with anything?
posted by everybody had matching towels at 1:36 PM on February 15 [9 favorites]


So far, absolutely no one in this thread! WHO'S A PUPPY!
posted by rtha at 1:37 PM on February 15 [5 favorites]


the only handlers i noticed were the one lady who tripped on her way in and the lady who was wearing a fancy colorful vest and cowboy boots; i think they were both toy handlers

anyway i love puppers and despite my better judgment i like the pupper show even though the current breed standards are harmful and dangerous and it's deeply alarming to look at Rumor's hips and lower back
posted by poffin boffin at 1:47 PM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Yep, there's another bunch of dogs that are going to mostly die early from inbreeding-induced genetic defects, horrible breathing problems, and all the rest of the rotten things that come from breeding dogs for weird human beauty standards instead of a healthy, active life.

My parents had a couple of german pointers when I was a kid. Both died of conditions caused by inbreeding, despite giving the outward appearance of being very fit animals, and having a 'proper pedigree'. One of them went from a bouncy, normal dog to a sad whimpering wreck of a thing with no use of its back legs. The other went through kidney failure. Neither lived to be much older than seven. Both would have been considered first-class stock to a breeder.

The sight of a bulldog staggering down the street straining to breathe and support its own head, turns my stomach these days. I'm sure they're all good dogs though. It's just the humans that fuck things up.
posted by pipeski at 1:48 PM on February 15 [29 favorites]


These are all good dogs and they should all get best in show, because how can you choose?

That's right, you can't. You can't.

YOU ARE ALL GOOD BOYS AND GIRLS AND I WILL MAKE YOU MERIT BADGES THAT PROVE IT
posted by middleclasstool at 1:51 PM on February 15 [9 favorites]


Between the snark about handler attire and the bestiality tag, the framing on this post is massively weird.

On the other hand, the Terrier group winner is a good boy. Yes, he is. Lookit that widdle face.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:54 PM on February 15 [15 favorites]


Yes, there are times I regret promising that all my posts forever will have the bestiality and tories tags. Thus the (all too seldom seen) sorrytheselasttwoareobligatory tag.

But how do you not post cute doggies!

As for the handlers' attire, I apologize for nothing!
posted by Naberius at 1:56 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


For some reason we missed it this year and it's just as well. I think it is one of the greatest tragedies in our modern times (next to SCROTUS getting elected) that goldens and labs have NEVER won best in show. I get a little worked up about that.

The other reason we don't need to watch it is because this time of year is award show season. My wife is just coming off 3 plus hours of correcting the wardrobes of everyone involved at the Grammy awards. She's peaking for Oscar night. Best that this manic fashion energy is saved for Gwyneth and her ilk.

But yeah, the handlers clearly need some guidance.
posted by Ber at 1:58 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


And to think that in some countries these dogs are eaten.
posted by brevator at 1:58 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the little ones, its just that they are inferior to the springers, the setters and the retrievers. And probably the afghans. Are Afghans a pedigree? I love them as they always look like they are really a human running around in a dog suit.
posted by biffa at 2:01 PM on February 15 [4 favorites]


Winning runs of the Agility Championships, plus Mia because she's so good!
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 2:03 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


The German name for German Shepherd Dogs is Deutscher Schäferhund. This isn't important, it's just a fact I like.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:08 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Are Afghans a pedigree?

snootus majesticus
posted by poffin boffin at 2:14 PM on February 15 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the Westminster dog show is probably my no. 1 problematic fave. Rumor is beautiful and German Shepherds are fantastic dogs, but I feel uneasy that she won, given what breeders have done to show GSDs. There are other shepherd breeds competing and they don't have that sloping rear, so why should GSDs?

And speaking of changes to breed standards, it appears that Rottweilers competing in Crufts in the UK no longer have docked tails while Great Danes have floppy undocked ears, but this doesn't seem to be the case in the US, which is a huge pity.

Hounds are the most majestic of puppers, but my favourite category is probably non-sporting because 1. French bulldogs complete me (but oh god, I'm breaking out in hives at the thought of Frenchies flying in cargo from JAPAN) and 2. Wtf does it even mean? The dogs in this category are such a ragtag bunch--what does a Dalmatian have in common with a Poodle or a Xoloitzcuintli? Not that I care, give me one of each, please.
posted by peripathetic at 2:18 PM on February 15 [5 favorites]


All dogs are good, but some are more gooder than others.
posted by Itaxpica at 2:29 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Wait! At the weekend I met my first ever Portuguese water puppy in real life and gosh was she adorable and with much softer fur than I had expected. So she would be in with a chance if I was judging.
posted by biffa at 2:37 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I'm watching the best-in-show judging, but.. I have no idea what "Free-stack" means. Can someone enlighten me?
posted by nat at 2:38 PM on February 15


also i got mad in 2012 when that animated ball of manky dryer lint won so i can no longer watch the toy dog section even though the pomeranians are always so sassy

hdu Malachy was a magnificent ball of of dryer lint and totally deserved to win
posted by peripathetic at 2:38 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


With afghans on my mind I had to go and find a video, this one has two black afghans playing and they look bags of fun, as if they should have hosted their own 1970s animated show.
posted by biffa at 2:41 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


I'm watching the best-in-show judging, but.. I have no idea what "Free-stack" means. Can someone enlighten me?

Stacking refers to the dog's posture when it's being judged, where the dog has to stand squarely still and look straight ahead or at the handler. Sometimes, the handler will adjust the dog's legs into position and/or use a treat to get it to look alert ("hand-stacking"), but some breeds can be trained to get into position by themselves, hence "free-stacking".
posted by peripathetic at 2:49 PM on February 15


I told you the fix was in for Rumor.

Congrats to Rumor. That said, if there's a poster child for everything that's wrong with AKC standards and how they've distorted the physical appearance of breeds, it the German Shepherd. It's like they're trying to breed the rear legs off the dog.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:51 PM on February 15 [14 favorites]


Yep, I love to see the dogs, but I can't support the show because of the crazy, detrimental physical requirements for many of the breeds. Also in this day and age ear and tail docking should be flat out illegal!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:56 PM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Devlin's handler is very happy that Devlin won the working group but Devlin himself seems a bit perturbed by all the kissing.
posted by janey47 at 3:00 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I am not at all sure how I feel about doggie beauty pageants, because damnit *they're all good dogs*, but Rumor looks like a *very* good dog, plus many of the other doggies are adorable. One of the things that has happened this year is that I have realized that cute doggie pictures are my main anti-anxiety drug.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:29 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Oh my god I had forgotten how delightful Pekinese are

And those super doleful looking basset hounds!

I want one of each please
posted by Hermione Granger at 3:31 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


what is this dog, please?
posted by amarynth at 3:32 PM on February 15


In some of the photos the handler is doing something to the dog's face with a small paintbrush or powder puff. They aren't putting make up on the dogs, are they?
posted by lollusc at 3:41 PM on February 15


I believe it is a Petit Brabançon/Brussels Griffon-- ears cropped? There's more coat variety than I expected. They have pug/King Charles spaniel ancestry.

Many griffons.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:46 PM on February 15


what is this dog, please?

It's a Brussels Griffon.

I like their Instagram hashtag.
posted by mollywas at 3:47 PM on February 15 [3 favorites]


Thanks! I didn't realize that they came in styles other than "distinguished beard."
posted by amarynth at 3:57 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I like seeing show pugs because it allows me to see into an alternate timeline where a pug is capable of behaving for more than 17.3 seconds.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:03 PM on February 15 [5 favorites]


Labs have never won best in show? BOO!
posted by brujita at 4:48 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I met my first ever Portuguese water puppy in real life and gosh was she adorable and with much softer fur than I had expected

Like poodles and some other breeds, PWDs have hair, not fur. (Or maybe fur that grows like hair?) It's one of the reasons many people with allergies can tolerate them. I believe that's the reason given for why the Obamas got Bo, instead of a rescue.

Mia the Preoccupied Beagle

Don't be a beagle! Don't be a beagle!
posted by Room 641-A at 5:29 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


The German name for German Shepherd Dogs is Deutscher Schäferhund. This isn't important, it's just a fact I like

Swedish for Swedish Vallhund isn't Svensk Vallhund! But it used to be. Nowadays it's Vastgotaspets, which is "Spitz from Vastergotland," where "Vastergotland" is a part of Sweden.

Also they are the most best.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:31 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


the Brussels Griffon from a different perspective
posted by Fig at 5:43 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


In Danish, Great Danes can be called "Den danske Hund" or "Den store danske Hund", but evidently their formal name is "Granddanois". Which comes from the French.
posted by nat at 5:44 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


Every year a Bull Terrier doesn't win is complete bullcrap.
posted by slkinsey at 5:48 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


what is this dog, please?

Constipated
posted by Beholder at 6:22 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


The Neapolitan mastiff though. That mastiff will be her good boy forever.

The first time I was sent to the principal's office as a kid was for getting angry at my science teacher for saying animals didn't have souls (she believed people did, so it wasn't a souls-don't-exist thing; she was one of the more conservative staff members at a religious school). I am no longer 10 and I don't believe in souls as such, but I'd still fight her over it.
posted by notquitemaryann at 6:33 PM on February 15 [12 favorites]


I've stopped giving my eyeballs to dog shows. I've known many breeders in my day, and even the most responsible and caring do things that make me deeply angry.
They aren't putting make up on the dogs, are they?
I know a show handler who paints black mascara on the noses of golden retrievers who have snow nose, which isn't even technically a fault provided it is not severe. Dog shows are bullshit. It's all politics and many "standards" are detrimental to the physical health of the animals being bred.
posted by xyzzy at 7:24 PM on February 15 [7 favorites]


Rumor's ass looks like it belongs on a Corgi.
posted by shoesietart at 7:31 PM on February 15


I'm sure Rumor's a good boy. He's just not my type of dog...he's just not...a terrier.
posted by atropos at 8:14 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


OMG those beautiful dogs. This cat person can't stop smiling. Good dogs!
posted by soakimbo at 8:18 PM on February 15


Lots of breeders and handlers are bad and don't particularly care about the long-term health of their dogs or breeds, and are maybe in it to have something to win at and fight with people about. That is a real part of the scene.

But... here is the thing.

Lots of dog breeds are remnants of old or even ancient lifestyles, going back a thousand plus years. Many of them were at one point "landraces" -- dogs used for a particular purpose in a particular area, that developed other shared and distinctive characteristics in addition to the ones that were directly "useful." Vallhunds and Pembrokes and Cardigans and Lancashire heelers share a broadly similar appearance in large part because they were bred for similar tasks (cattle herding)... but in different areas by different people, so vallhunds have harness markings and the others don't. As landraces, they were sustained in an area by the people who used those dogs for those purposes breeding them with whatever informal criteria suited them.

But those lifestyles are mostly gone. There are not enough farmers to maintain farm landraces. There are not enough shepherds to maintain shepherd dogs or flock guardians. Many breeds or landraces of dog, especially those not specifically bred to be companions, faced extinction. In the case of vallhunds, a Swedish nobleman in the 1940s went looking for the farm dogs he remembered from his youth, when they had been common enough in the Vastergotland area. He found... three bitches and one dog left. That dog, Mopsen, happened to be cryptorchid, so the race was down to its last testicle. I don't even want to think about how many breeds didn't have some rich rando who gave a shit about them and are just gone.

And, just me saying, I think it's sad for these things to disappear from the world. For these pieces of living history to disappear, for all the loving or fond relationships between who knows how many farmers and their goofy little heelers for probably more than a thousand years to just be gone.

But if you want to preserve them, what are you going to do? One semi-realistic alternative would be to have regional or national governments create programs to keep the landrace going by subsidizing them in one way or another and monitoring what's going on. You could maybe imagine a Scandinavian government doing it, or the Welsh Assembly doing something like that if they had a burst of nationalism, but in general... good luck.

In real life, what has happened is that the ones that survive have been preserved by random enthusiasts. But as in any endeavor where almost the only thing you really need is enthusiasm for doing the work, you can end up with the preservation being carried out by people, even the ones who are well-meaning enough, who... well, God bless their little hearts, they don't really know what they're doing and probably aren't particularly suited to managing a long-term breeding program across many people and kennels. And of course you get people who aren't even particularly well meaning, who just want to breed cute dogs (BONE AND COAT! BONE AND COAT!) and beat other people at it.

But ain't nobody else doing it. The alternative to collie breeders isn't collies without collie eye, it's that there aren't any more collies. The alternative to corgi breeders isn't corgis but without back and hip problems, it's only that there are no more corgis in the world after they're done melting into the population of mutts. The alternative to von Rosen rebooting vallhunds from four dogs, even with all the inbreeding that resulted, wasn't not-inbred vallhunds. It was just no vallhunds any more, ever. (Allahu akbar, they dodged most of the bullets associated with inbreeding and are still pretty darn sound genetically) Nobody gave a shit about preserving turnspit dogs, so they're just gone.

Yes, I know this does not apply to all dogs. There is probably enough demand for working, police, and combat dogs to sustain sheppies and malinois. There are some communities of hunters that are large enough to sustain what amounts to a continued landrace of a few kinds of gun dogs. So it's only the vast, overwhelming majority of kinds of dog that depend on enthusiastic randos for their continued existence.

And you know what you can do if you want to? If you give a shit? Beyond even just not watching, you can get in the fucking trenches and help.

You can learn about some kind of dog, and what it was originally bred for, and the characteristics it should ideally have to be a good representative of this now totally unnecessary dog, and you can breed them and get into the ugly politics of it all. I knew biscotti had read this page because she sighed and said something to the effect of "I just can't read these threads any more." I'm the one writing this because I'm one step removed; I pat the puppies and carry things around and occasionally answer statistics questions. She's the one that's helped run two national vallhund clubs and helped try to keep health and breed type on people's minds when it's easy to just not think about (especially in a breed still as basically sound as vallhunds). She's the one that just got roped into another damn SVCA committee, this time on rewriting breeder standards, knowing full well that they almost certainly can't produce the kind of document she'd like because it would be too stringent to be approved. She's the one getting our own dogs' health certified to hell and back and agonizing about breeding decisions. She's the one out there doing the fucking work.

You want to kvetch? Do the work. Do the work in a breed club, or do the work in larger organizations, or do the work at higher levels working to ban docking or require good practices by law. Do the work by breeding with sound practices. But honestly, with few exceptions, you don't get to like the dogs, to like the wonderful mad crazy variety of dogs in the world, and just crap on breeders in general. Because breeders are why that variety still exists even though almost nobody really needs the dogs for anything except companions any more. Even when they do stuff wrong more than they do it right, they are still the only game in town because nobody else does the work.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:32 PM on February 15 [13 favorites]


I'm just glad a big dog won cause little dogs are the Worst.
posted by dame at 8:49 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I love the doggies. All of them. That's why mine always are rescues - too many good dogs need homes.

I stopped watching the dog shows many years ago.
posted by MissySedai at 8:50 PM on February 15


I'm just glad a big dog won cause little dogs are the Worst.

I mean, I'll fight you
posted by middleclasstool at 9:00 PM on February 15 [11 favorites]


Mutts rule. And my girl, Shakedown, rules mutts.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:05 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


I'm just glad a big dog won cause little dogs are the Worst.

I used to think this until my partner brought home a chihuahua who she saved (under the table, with help from clinic staff who owed her some favours) from a prolapsed uterus and the backyard breeder who wanted to put her down because she wasn't useful any more.

Turns out, small dogs are mostly just assholes to people who aren't in their pack. Once they decide to make you their person, they're just awesome. They really don't use their yappers unless there's a stranger around.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:05 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


And like a little dog you'll have all the yaps & none of the heft to back it up. 😜
posted by dame at 9:06 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


I love the agility show, these are dogs being dogs.And they allow "All American Dogs" in, i.e. my little rescue mutt.
posted by Marky at 10:33 PM on February 15 [2 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe: “And, just me saying, I think it's sad for these things to disappear from the world. For these pieces of living history to disappear, for all the loving or fond relationships between who knows how many farmers and their goofy little heelers for probably more than a thousand years to just be gone... The alternative to collie breeders isn't collies without collie eye, it's that there aren't any more collies. The alternative to corgi breeders isn't corgis but without back and hip problems, it's only that there are no more corgis in the world after they're done melting into the population of mutts.”

I understand this point of view of it, and even sympathize with it somewhat - there are breeds I have loved immensely - but it seems to me that history should have taught us by now that there is very simply a wrong and a right way to do this. We can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by nostalgia and the idea that dogs are "pieces of living history," we can allow ourselves to be drawn into this hubris and attempt to selectively "preserve" certain "ideal" traits, even though we know in our hearts this is impossible - or we can care about dogs themselves, not because we like the feeling of tradition they bestow or the window to the past they provide, but simply because they are living creatures.

In other words: the alternative to collie breeders isn't collies without collie eye; it's healthy dogs. The alternative to corgi breeders isn't corgis without back and hip problems; it's healthy dogs. If you value breed specifications over healthy dogs, you will not get healthy dogs. The only way to really thoroughly make dogs happier and healthier is to entirely discard breed specifications. You must choose between dying, broken animals and "the population of mutts." There is no other alternative.

Incidentally, I should point out that I believe you're buying into a very popular but very scientifically flawed notion which breeders generally have put about. There is no such thing as a dog breed, properly speaking; the things we delineate as "breeds" are as mythical as the "white race" and "black race" among humans. German shepherds did not spring fully formed from the head of Zeus; they're the product of several hundred years of interbreeding between thousands of very different-looking dogs as dominant patterns emerged, and at no point was there any pure lineage of any kind whatsoever. You and I can sit here and talk about coat and hip line and withers and all those things, but they're essentially only randomly tied to actual genetic traits - and we could just as easily draw the borders of dog breeds in completely different places, just as we could just as easily talk about a "tall race" and "short race" of humans.

There are probably more than half a billion dogs on the planet. Dogs are not in any sense short of genetic material. You talk about specific traditional breeds "melting into the population of mutts," as though dogs would be homogenous and boring without breeders working to delineate traits, but the exact opposite is the case: the vast varieties of dogs arose from millions of specific situations, from thousands upon thousands of years of haphazard interbreeding and intermixing not guided by human effort, and even in the cases where humans helped nature along they were very much at the mercy of nature. If we allowed dogs to intermix freely - or better still, if we intentionally ignore breed specifications to mix traits for strength and health - then dogs will become more diverse, not less.

That's why I believe strongly that, if breeding happens at all, it absolutely must be interbreeding which not only ignores but contradicts breed standards and breed purity in order to undo the damage of the misguided and scientifically unfounded "selective breeding" programs initiated mostly by posh victorians. If we want to save dogs, if we want to prevent them from living unhealthy lives, we have a moral imperative to abandon emotional and nostalgic appeals to sentiment such as historical dog breed standards.
posted by koeselitz at 11:03 PM on February 15 [19 favorites]


(And, yeah, I've thought about "getting in the trenches" with this. I've thought about what direct action it would take: secretly spaying and neutering "pure" and genetically unhealthy dogs which belong to breeders would probably be the best first step. Unfortunately direct action isn't something I'm good at, but I sure hope somebody takes it up.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:10 PM on February 15 [1 favorite]


Like poodles and some other breeds, PWDs have hair, not fur.

I was expecting the PWD to have fur like a poodle but it wasn't what I was expecting at all, it was really soft and quite thick on her head especially.
posted by biffa at 4:01 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]




I recently looked up Bernese Mountain Dogs after seeing one in my condo high rise neighborhood and was stunned to see that their avg. lifespan was 7 years. I'm sure their Quality Adjusted Years of Life are even less.

That's heart breakingly fucking awful. They're such beautiful dopey happy go lucky dogs and now I feel really sad every time I see them.
posted by srboisvert at 5:32 AM on February 16 [3 favorites]


The first time I was sent to the principal's office as a kid was for getting angry at my science teacher for saying animals didn't have souls (she believed people did, so it wasn't a souls-don't-exist thing; she was one of the more conservative staff members at a religious school). I am no longer 10 and I don't believe in souls as such, but I'd still fight her over it.
posted by notquitemaryann at 9:33 PM on February 15


notquitemaryann, let me share with you what an old conservative Baptist country preacher told me as a kid:

Animals, in fact, do not have souls. They have spirits. This is an important distinction for a few reasons:

1. Man (aka humans) was made in God's image--that's what having a soul means (because God literally breathed souls into man; see Genesis 2:7) . We're sort of like copies of God, whereas animals get to be their own wonderful original beings who add to the creativity and diversity of the world.
2. As creatures made in God's image, we have certain abilities that animals don't. But with great ability comes great responsibility (so to speak), and one of the biggest responsibilities is to not sin.
3. Since animals have spirits instead of souls, they aren't burdened with the ability to sin and the responsibility to avoid it. Thus, they don't have to deal with Ten Commandments or Judgement Day or any of that sort of thing.
4. But as spirits, they're an automatic part of the glory of an Eternal Afterlife, too, because since they can't sin, they get a free pass into Heaven!
5. Also, since they can't sin, they can provide humans good examples of what a sin-free life looks like. Not every single thing that they do can translate to human situations, of course, but there are definite lessons to be learned about acceptance, unconditional love, and what-not.
6. My pastor also had a sneaking suspicion--admittedly not verifiable by any KJV text--that animals can also help us find the path of Righteousness "just like in that one episode of the Twilight Zone", and maybe even speak up for us to God.

So, to sum up: animals have eternal spirits instead of souls, and since having a spirit means that they can't sin, yes, you'll see your dearly-departed pet in Heaven one day. Also, be good to animals, 'cause they can help you to be good, too. After all, "even the Devil can't fool a dog".

This was all to help me grieve the loss of my childhood dog Snoopy, of course. But the preacher was an animal lover who'd had pets of various sort all his life (having grown up on a farm), and I for one found--and still find--his reasoning to be theologically sound.
posted by magstheaxe at 6:24 AM on February 16 [21 favorites]


This was all to help me grieve the loss of my childhood dog Snoopy, of course. But the preacher was an animal lover who'd had pets of various sort all his life (having grown up on a farm), and I for one found--and still find--his reasoning to be theologically sound.
Honestly, if I were a hugger, that would just make me want to go back in time and hug your pastor for being so kind and for taking your childhood pet grief as seriously as you deserved for it to be taken.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:27 AM on February 16 [8 favorites]


That's a good theology, Brent!
posted by a fiendish thingy at 7:14 AM on February 16 [6 favorites]


I'll take it! (Grew up Catholic - got the line from an old school hardline dominican nun about no souls/no heaven - boo) Every time I lose one of my fuzz buckets, I have to hope that I'm wrong about the afterlife and that the afterlife took heed of Will Roger's desires so I have an easier path to tread back to Luv, Figment, Tar, Toby and Cookie. They were all good dogs. (Ok, Toby might take issue if you got in his face and would show his disapproval by biting your nose, but that was really your fault for sticking your schnozz right there, now wasn't it?)
posted by drewbage1847 at 8:01 AM on February 16 [2 favorites]


Rumor is one handsome dog, but I want Tanner the Norwich Terrier.
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:42 AM on February 16


I recently looked up Bernese Mountain Dogs after seeing one in my condo high rise neighborhood and was stunned to see that their avg. lifespan was 7 years.

Sadly, the average lifespan declined from 10-12 years to 6-8 years recently because they've accidentally bred in a predisposition to cancer. I believe there's some effort to do some genetic mapping so they can rescue the breed, but it seems unconscionable to me that they aren't working to ban the breed from AKC until they've worked out a solution. Similarly with dog breeds that require c-sections for birth because the conformation emphasizes a head size that often can't be whelped naturally.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:05 AM on February 16 [4 favorites]


Aside from the sheer horror of breeding a dog with that short of a lifespan, I don't know how any owner can handle that short of a cycle of joy, companionship to slippage and loss. Every one of my losses has been gutting. I can't imagine setting myself up for a cycle where it's guaranteed to happen that quickly.
posted by drewbage1847 at 10:34 AM on February 16 [1 favorite]


They are all Good Dogs. My Good Dog, Detective Kima, likes to read the DSM-IV so she can be a Good Therapy Dog.

I do not like the bestiality tag.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 11:34 AM on February 16


Linus thought the Welsh Terrier was robbed. (Then again, he may be a bit biased, since he is a Welshie. : ) ) He loves to watch Westminster with me - he sits up straight and stares at the TV. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 12:41 PM on February 16 [2 favorites]


He loves to watch Westminster with me - he sits up straight and stares at the TV.

Yes!

Here's pet-quality Truman aspiring to greatness.
posted by phunniemee at 2:07 PM on February 16 [2 favorites]


Our Akita, Bailey, is purebred "pet quality". I asked our breeder about and she said that the people who plan to show their dogs get to pick their puppies before any of the people who just want pets. That's literally it, every dog she breeds is capable of winning shows.

Like others in this thread, I have a lot of misgivings about AKC standards and how they affect breeds. This wasn't going to be my first dog so I was confident about getting a puppy that I could train and I wanted a pure-bred dog as it's like playing with loaded dice because it was going to be my wife's first dog. I did a lot of work researching breeds and breeders to find one that made the health of the dogs and the breed their first priority. I believe that if breeders are doing their jobs right and dog owners are doing theirs, there simply wouldn't be much need for shelters and rescues.

That said, if we were to get a 2nd dog, we'd for sure get a rescue. I try to support both.
posted by VTX at 8:59 PM on February 17 [1 favorite]


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