One of my pet peeves (pun fully intended) regarding writing about dogs and other companion animals is the insistence by many editors that any animal be referred to as "it" unless the name of the animal -- and thus, supposedly the gender, is known. As I explain in all my For Dummies books, any animal, even those who are surgically altered so that they cannot reproduce, is of one gender or another and deserves the dignity of being referred to as such. That said, I realize that any editor I write for is my client and, if I fail to convince said editor to make an exception to the animal-is-an-it dictum, I do what I'm told.
But this item in The Washington Post's June 11 "Animal Watch" column, which reports local incidences of lost, stray or otherwise errant animals, on June 11 really turned that dictum on its head:
"A person found a stray female Labrador retriever and took it to the police station. There were no identifying tags on the dog. It was taken to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter to await retrieval by its owner."
ATTENTION WA-PO EDITOR: DOESN'T THE FIRST SENTENCE IN THE ABOVE ACCOUNT SAY THE DOG IS FEMALE? SO WE KNOW WHAT THE DOG'S GENDER IS, YES? WHY, THEN, DOES THE REST OF THE ACCOUNT REFER TO THE DOG AS "IT"?
Air conditioning update: Three leaks in the brand new compressor were found and fixed, but a new leak occurred 10 days later -- this time on the inside coil. That is supposed to be fixed next week to the tune of $500. Meanwhile, we're getting freon hits as needed. So, at least for the present, everything's cool.
Allie update: Allie is great. She totally rocked the training class in which this training apprentice is supposed to gain and practice dog handling skills. Way to help me set myself up for success, girlfriend!
Family update: Dear daughter is home from college for the summer. Parents are thrilled. So is big blonde dog.
The dogs of Downton Abbey
9 hours ago