My Boxer Has A Secret

By Anthony Paull

Dating Diet

Please take custody of my furry, four-legged child. I'm an awful parent. For years, I've been trying to convince the world my dog is gay, and I must be stopped. It's neither safe nor fair to force any animal in the wild kingdom - whether a dog, a man or a combination of both - out of the closet until it's good and ready. Still, I find great difficulty in attempting to abandon my ill-received beliefs.

"I'm worried about Champ. I think he's depressed. He never shakes his tail anymore. Do you think he needs a boyfriend?" I asked my dad at dinner last week.

"Jesus Christ!" my dad yelled, pushing away his plate. "That's all you ever talk about. Gay this! Gay that! You're gonna put the wrong idea in that poor dog's head. He's fine. He's happy."

Dad, an avid believer that being gay is nothing more than a bad choice, has this silly preconceived notion that someone can turn gay solely by being accused of it. That's why Champ is never allowed in the room when his sexual preference is questioned. He might hear us, and the curse might spread!

"Admit it, Dad. Champ's wrists have always been a tad limp," I said.

"He has arthritis."

"Well, what about the time he tried to mount me..."

"That's it. I'm done talking," Dad said, excusing himself from the table.

Fine, I admit it. The topic at hand is completely ridiculous, but the endless debate over my boxer, Champ, in regard to his feminine side is a dish served hot when compared to discussing the rest of my family's problems. In short, Champ allows a chance for dad and me to air out our differing viewpoints regarding the topic of homosexuality in a neutral, non-personal climate.

To be honest, I take the blame for starting the whole rumor about Champ being gay. And yes, I was the wicked one who secretly began calling him "Cocoa" upon his arrival. Silly me, I thought it would make him more comfortable in his clearly queer skin to have a more feminine stage name. "He's a total bottom," I would boast to my friends. Well, that's until the day "Cocoa" tried to top me when I was doing push-ups in the garage. It was harmless, really. Sure, he lacked balls and couldn't find the hole, but I had dealt with boys like that before. Still, I was confused.

"Does that make him a top?" I asked my dad.

"Stop that nonsense! He's a dog for God's sake. He's indiscriminate. He'd stick it in a light socket if he thought he could live through it."

"Yeah, that's what straight America would like you to believe," I replied.

You see, I'd been doing Internet research, and made it easy for me to find out the truth about cats, dogs and the other beautiful, gay critters in this beautiful, gay world.

In little time, I'd learned that Norway is the only country brave enough to tackle the controversial subject of citing homosexuality throughout the animal kingdom. In 2004, the Norwegian government felt the country's museums and libraries should question taboo subjects, and it happened at the Natural Museum at Oslo. Revealing the world's first exhibit (Against Nature?) on gay animals, the museum had such startling visuals as a photograph of penis-fencing whales and an 1896 sketch of two barebacking, male scarab beetles. Discussing the exhibit in a 2007 Times Online article, scientific advisor Petter Bockman states "the facts have been staring scientists in the face for years." Researchers ignore the behavior because "they fear ridicule or loss of their grants if they draw attention to it."

On the Internet, many people commenting on homosexuality in dogs pass off the public display of affection as an act of dominance. Some suggest male dogs tend to "befriend" other male dogs when access to a female is denied. But would they say the same about gay men if we hadn't the chance to vocally refuse the idea?

As for dad, he believes Champ just hasn't met the right girl. When playing in the neighborhood, I see how much he prefers male company though. Sure, he'll interact with females, but he never allows them too close; he'd much rather dress one than mount one, I believe. Still, I don't say anything to Champ about these candid observations. After all, I wouldn't want to put the wrong idea in his head.

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