I was on yesterday’s Colin McEnroe Show along with fellow guests Jacques Lamarre, and Rand Cooper…and my dog. One of the topics we were tossing around for possible discussion was this Courant piece, the gist of which is that Connecticut ranks 49th in terms of dog ownership, and that there is an inverse correlation between education and dog ownership… which is to say that the less educated you are, the more likely you are to have a dog–implying that “dog people” are stupid. Frankly, that’s stupid.
We took a tally and between the four of us on the show, we own a total of seven dogs. But according to survey data, slightly under 29% of Nutmeggers have dogs. Arkansas has the most dogs at 47.9%. Only 13.1% of Washington D.C. homes have dogs. Writer Robert Thorson seems to think that because Arkansas also ranks dead last when it comes to the number of higher education degrees held, there must be a correlation between how smart people are, and whether or not they own dogs. There’s also a red state-blue state argument that he sort of makes.
The whole theory goes downhill pretty fast.
I can think of a number of different reasons why the numbers work out the way they do.
- Urban vs. Rural — It makes total sense to me that the more rural a state is, the more dogs there will be. Not only are there more likely to be working dogs, but it’s just a whole lot easier to have a dog in the country or suburbs than it is in the city.
- Worklife Balance — If you were a D.C. go-getter who works 18 hour days would you want a dog? What if you’re a construction worker in Arkansas who is home by 5 p.m. every day? ‘Nough said.
- We Take Dog Ownership More Seriously — One of the things I can never get used to about rural America (specifically in the South) is how they treat their dogs. When the Prissy Bitch and I were on our Ragin’ Cajun roadtrip we saw more stray/pregnant/dead dogs than I have seen before or since. When you view adopting a dog as a lifelong commitment it becomes a much bigger deal than when you just let your dog roam the streets un-vetted, free to reproduce at will, and have no problem dumping him/her when it becomes inconvenient to have a dog.
As soon as Maybelle and I hit the third floor of the Dankosky Building, all the WNPR folks immediately set to fawning all over her (she LOOOOVED it). Usually Chion Wolf comes in, takes a few pictures, and then heads out again. Maybe Patrick Skahill will come in and check your mic. But when you bring a dog into the studio, the whole crew shows up and starts cooing. (Chion is a bad influence, she got Maybelle all sorts of excited and they ran around the room together for a while.) Clearly, the uber-smart folks of public radio love dogs, but most were not, themselves, dog owners (except for Lucy Nalpathanchil, she has a hound of some sort).
I mean look at these people… they ❤ dogs HARD! But dogs are a big commitment, and if you really love them, you won’t get one until you’re sure you’re ready to take on the responsibility. So, in my view, Connecticut is a far more dog-friendly place than, say, Georgia…which is where my dog came from (via CT Humane Society) after she was found knocked-up on the streets and ended up in a kill shelter.
Oh, and Vermont has a lot of cats… you know, because of all the lesbians…