I’ve made a few references to my dog on this blog already, so I suppose it’s high time I introduce him properly: behold, Remy, otherwise known as Remster, Remydog, and/or Butt Dog (for his behaviour, not his proclivities).
If you haven’t seen a dog like him before—and a surprising number of people haven’t—he’s a french bulldog. They’re great dogs for small spaces, because they don’t shed much, they often don’t bark (Remy was about nine months old when he barked for the first time—up until then we hadn’t thought he could), and they are fat, lazy dogs, so they don’t require a lot of exercise. Yes, that was a compelling factor in choosing his breed. I liked the idea of getting a dog that seemed to be me in canine form (minus the lack of barking, of course). I think they’re becoming increasingly popular, but in our neck of the woods, he’s still a bit of an anomaly. People tend to assume he’s a pug, a baby Staffie, or one, memorably, a pit bull. (Note to strange woman outside co-op: if you thought my twenty-pound dog was a pit bull, you have clearly never met, or possibly seen any pictures, of an actual pit bull.)
I suspect because they’re rare, the world of french bulldog owners is, perhaps, a bit cult-like. Let me illustrate with an example that’s been the high point of my week. So a few days ago, I took Remy out on a walk to a common near our house. On the way back home, we were toddling along when I hear “Excuse me?….excuse me?” behind me, and turn to see a woman hurrying along the sidewalk towards me. It turns out, she also has two french bulldogs, saw me walking past, and ran out of her house to introduce herself. We’ve now exchanged numbers, and hopefully we’ll go on a group walk soon.
I told this story to my sister. I should point out, I come from a family of pretty hardcore dog people. Not that we go to dog shows or anything like that, but we’ve had dogs my entire life, we are all big dog lovers, and I think all of us consider our own dogs (my sister has a three-year-old dachshund mix) members of our family. (As a side note, my mother once told me she doesn’t trust people who don’t like dogs, which is a sentiment recently expressed damn near word-for-word by Ice-T. I cannot tell you how happy this quote overlap makes me.) So Dara is definitely in a similar camp of dog-centrism. But as soon as I finished telling her about meeting this woman and how excited I was about it, we had the following exchange:
D: So…she just saw you walking past.
D: And ran out of her house to meet you.
D: Purely because you were walking the same kind of dog she has.
D: ….You people are so weird.
In fact, as we were chatting, I realized I’d seen her shortly after we moved in, walking a block or so down the road from me. And my reaction wasn’t just to chase her down…I ran back to my house (only about half a block away), threw a leash on Remy, and went out chasing her. Sadly, retrieving Remy was the fatal delay, because she’d turned a corner before I could catch up to her.
So, is this weird? Would a schnauzer owner not see another schnauzer owner and automatically introduce themselves? Because I thought it was totally normal. Maybe I’m just a friendlier person than my sister. Or perhaps the frenchie fumes are finally getting to me…