Think before you ask

Chad Filley
Guest Writer

I’ve often heard that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Obviously the author of this quote never went on a dog walk and got continually stopped by people asking questions. I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t converse with dog walkers. I’m just saying that one should think before they ask.

Our family has what could be best described as an eclectic mix of breeds. Until recently we had two strikingly handsome Alaskan Malamutes with woolly, black and white color patterns. Unfortunately, our eldest one passed away a few months back. We also have a Pug-French bulldog combo with granite-like shoulders causing him to resemble a Pug on steroids.

I’ve never seen the rule written down, so somewhere along the line it’s become an accepted, unwritten rule that everyone must approach someone with a unique looking dog. Once again, this is okay, but please thinks about what you are going to ask the dog owner. Some people feel this unwritten rule gives them permission to tell us whatever they want. This must be what it’s like for a pregnant woman who has a perfect stranger walk up to them and place his hand on her stomach. For the record, if you’re going to do that, be absolutely sure she’s pregnant. I’m just saying…

Some of the things that people say amaze me.

Here’s a sample conversation:

“What kind of dog is that?”

“It’s an Alaskan malamute.”

Without blinking the person replies, “We used to have one of those.”

I’m going to have to throw the baloney penalty flag. First, if they have to ask what kind of dog we have, then did they really have a malamute? Second, if as many people that say they had a malamute actually did, then wouldn’t malamutes be the number one breed in North America, if not the world?

A woman in Red Lodge, Mont., once commented, “We had a giant malamute, but he wasn’t as big as yours.” Are you calling my dog fat?  Because he’s not… he’s just big boned and plus, all that fur makes him look even bigger. The same woman continued telling us that she’d also owned a miniature malamute. My wife told her in the veterinarian field they would have referred to a miniature malamute as a defect. The woman huffed and stomped away. I wonder if she’d mistakenly owned a Pomeranian?

Sometimes after tiring of questions about the breed of our dog, I’ll start making up unusual breed names.

“It’s an Mexican Hairless.”

“But it has long hair?”

“It has anti-alopecia.”

Or “It’s a Chupacabra-doodle.” The person then always nods and replies, “That’s what I thought.”

Let me offer one last piece of advice. Don’t stop someone and ask about their pet if your real intention is to launch into a story about the pet you left at home. If you’re that proud of Fifi, then take her for a walk.

It never ceases to amaze me the things people tell us about their pets.

“My Cocker Spaniel has prostate cancer.”

“My ferret is bulimic.”

One lady recently told my wife that her cat can say seven words … Huh? Just because your cat asks for her morning ration of Meow Mix by name, that doesn’t mean she can speak. Even though a seven word vocabulary would be impressive considering its two more words than rocker Ozzy Osbourne can say.

Chad Filley is a stand up comedian from East Central Minnesota. You can see a listing of his upcoming shows on his website,