Dear Uptight Seattleite,Where's the best place to get a new dog?Pooch Lovin' Lonnie
Dear Lonnie,Some people buy dogs from professional breeders. Others adopt rescued dogs. One is not better than the other. True, people who patronize breeders contribute to the problem of dog overpopulation. And the whole transaction becomes just another consumer experience, like picking a brand of cranberry juice. I myself am willing to spend a little extra for the small-batch local stuff that doesn't have corn syrup or other junk added. We as a culture have such a fear of the real taste of cranberries.Much as customers of breeders have a fear of not getting the exact type, gender, color, size, and disposition of dog they want. Have you ever noticed that the word breeder has an unpleasant look to it? Type it three times in a row and it looks like roaches marching across the page: Breeder, breeder, breeder. The important thing, though, is that we all love dogs in our own way.Of course, adopting a rescued dog means learning how to love on a whole new level. Or rather, learning how to let go and let the light guide you—that light of gratitude shining in your dog's eyes. Follow that light far enough into the warm recesses of your dog's soul and you'll soon begin to wonder who rescued whom. Don't get me wrong! I didn't mean that puppy-farm customers don't also love their dogs. It's just that the two experiences are different.I guess one of the things that makes them different is the extraordinary lengths a lot of rescue-dog owners have gone to. Sitting on a bench at the off-leash park on a Saturday morning, they'll tell you how they traveled across three states to pick up their bull terrier, who was discovered shivering in the corner by the SWAT team who had just gunned down his drug-dealing, abusive former owner. "Rufus Wainwright still startles easily," they'll say, "and gets anxious around new people. Especially men."I can sympathize, because Georgina suffers from those same effects, which are actually pretty basic for any dog with a difficult past. Georgina's list of aversions happens to be a little more extensive. It includes hair pieces and circus music. She was rescued from a Slovenian carnival in which she was made to wear an orange afro and ride in a tiny car with a lot of other dogs.I had to travel to Sweden to pick her up. That's where the circus-animal rescue agency is, and it's just a little farther than "three states away." Of course, I mean, who cares though, right? I'm just making conversation here. We were talking about where you should get a new dog and I was simply sharing my own experience. That's all.Dear Uptight Seattleite,We sometimes have potlucks at work. There's one guy who just brings a bag of potato chips and then tucks shamelessly into the homemade pad thai, gumbo, and lemon squares that everyone else brought. WTF?Able Baker Charline
Dear Charline,They have their own little section in the supermarket, so you may not have heard of these. They're called Tim's Cascade Chips. I guess Pringles are acceptable for most people, but if I'm going to indulge in potato chips, they've gotta be these. Sure, I brought only one bag, and there are 14 people here, but this happens to be the new wasabi flavor. If you're not used to spicy food, they're pretty intense. I'm talking muy caliente, Mr. Roboto! So I figure about two chips per person is about right. My own share came to six chips. That's because whenever I open a new bag I always grab a handful of chips and mash them into my mouth. It's sort of a little ritual I have. One of the real losses of the modern world is how we've become so cut off from ritual and what Joseph Campbell called "mythological time."I'll confess I did get a second bag, but it's for home use. I need a little something to nibble on tonight because they're rebroadcasting the first segment of that one Ken Burns documentary. The one after the baseball one. It's a bag of Tim's Maui Onion kettle-style chips. I know, kind of crazy, right? Kind of like, "I don't think we're in BBQ-flavored Lay's anymore, Toto!" But my attitude is, if it's not a little different, why do it? Like how I don't eat mainstream sweets. I prefer fine confectionery. Flaky, delicious, hand-crafted confectionery. Not that Betty didn't make an excellent effort with these lemon bars. Are they up to the standard of the ones those German ladies used to sell at that shop in the U District? I don't think that's a fair question. We all do the best we can from wherever we are. That's all we can expect of anyone, including Betty.Hey, do you happen to have a bag so I can take some of these pork cutlets home? I know Georgina would LOVE them.Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.