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Put down the leash and step away from the Corgi

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
May 1, 2003


"One drunken Sunday afternoon, Katie and I decided to buy a dog." — Ann Jonas

Like most Californians I enjoy a good car wreck. So it is only natural that I would be drawn to the tragedy known as Party Girl. Reading about the adventures of alcoholic misandrosists looking to score, is usually not my thing, but like human vultures straining to glimpse a freeway fatality, each week I can't help but gawk at the pitiful plight of the socially challenged. After all, it was only a matter of time before Anna Nicole Smith wannabes started crying for help.

At first I didn't really know how to take Party Girl, other than champion the First Amendment, and her right to air what ever dirty laundry she was willing to admit. To be honest, I'm not even certain half of what Ms. Jonas writes is true. Fiction posing as fact could be considered entertaining, it works for Bush foreign policy, so why not the coastal singles scene? If she is making stuff up, without identifying Party Girl as fiction, then she is being paid to lie about area businesses and misrepresent their clientele. So much for media ethics, right?

But then again, Party Girl could be a spot on reality check, told through the filter of unabashed female journalist. As a columnist I too document the games people play and the dark side of the human character. We just work different beats. Obviously drunken debauchery sells, if it didn't, the musings of a barfly would have never make it to print. The fact people are reading and discussing her musings, is proof she has found a narrow niche usually reserved for the likes of Charles Bukowski and William S. Burroughs.

Where Ms. Jonas and I part company, both ethically and professionally, is the active voice in which she revels in egocentrism, and a glaring lack of empathy. This division was made abundantly clear when I read her Pick-up dog column of April 17th. Not only was I furious that someone would sell two inebriated women a small animal, I couldn't believe a publication I write for would advocate such behavior. Color me naïve.

And if her alcohol consumption is close to what she brags about, she is clearly unfit to co-habitate with a pet of any kind.

With the power of the press being what it is, to make light of exploiting trusting and highly dependent animals as part of an anthropocentric mating ritual can not go unanswered. Taking on the responsibility for an animal's health and well-being should not be done on a whim of any kind. Nor should animal companions be used as a fashion accessory, aphrodisiac, or placebo. Using animals as props in a Machiavellian scheme to attract sex partners is morally bankrupt, regardless of the price of the kibble you fed them.

Sadly, far too many humans consider animals nothing more than tools and toys to be acquired and discarded at will. I can only imagine the number of dogs abandoned once; they are no longer cute and cuddly enough to procure potential partners for swinging singles. I also wonder how many pets have been abandoned when they fell out of favor, or became a hassle, or required too much attention. How often have we heard cases of dogs or cats being abused and neglected out of frustration and anger? And how often have we heard of overcrowded animals shelters, lack of funding for ongoing operations, and the rapid overpopulation of dogs and cats due to inaction of ill-informed humans.

A responsible person understands companion animals require a lifetime commitment of time, money, patience, unconditional love, and dare I say it, service. Unlike cats, dogs are pack animals and are wholly dependent on their alpha human. Like children they want only to be accepted and included, and not left alone until mom needs affection or something to stimulate conversation.

t is often said, "Dog is man's best friend." It's rather odd that common phase is never reciprocal. One never hears the term "Man is dog's best friend. Why is that? Could it be the anthropocentric perspective that allows animals to be used as social lubricants, also negates any real consideration of pets as anything other than personal property, meant only to serve the human master? The answer is yes.REPLACE

As an opinion editorialist I have been charged with commenting on the cultural fabric that holds our community together. After reading Pick-up dog several times, and finding no redeeming value, I could not remain silent. Animals deserve better. And like the pile of poop Ms. Jonas left in front of a Pacific Beach business, it seems Party Girl is a mess needing to be cleaned up.

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