Friday, January 13, 2012

Adam Gopnik Petstoregate

It is now done to mention, even in your standard here-are-cute-dog-photos Internet posting, that a dog has been rescued. As Rescue Culture goes, this doesn't strike me as a problem. All things equal, by all means, people should adopt. I think it's important to remember that all things aren't always equal, and that not every dog purchased is in fact - as is often asserted - a pound dog killed. But something like semi-gratuitously sticking a dog's rescue origins into conversation? It gets the word out that this option exists and is something to be proud of, without explicitly insulting those who, for whatever reason, purchased a dog. (It did stand out that WWPD's New Yorker Writer of the Week Adam Gopnik, in his sweeping New Yorker essay about dog ownership, mentioned his daughter picking theirs out at a pet store. He says he didn't know that this issue at the time, and if a writer who basically epitomizes Our Kind of People yuppie coastal elites didn't know, maybe the answer is to educate and not after-the-fact judge.)

But I do think it's interesting, worth pointing out, that this - "s/he's a rescue" is now something people tell you, unsolicited. It's of course an option, as it's always been, to be indifferent to the socially acceptable and unacceptable. But if you do opt to care, let it be known that if you acquired your dog in a way that didn't involve saving it from horrible circumstances, you will be asked to account for your process.

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