Lisa described herself as “ A 50-ish, Jewish American mother of an overachieving (almost 30 year old) daughter, who pulled a fast one.” I met with Lisa, after a short, whirlwind conversation during which she asked to join me on a dog walk. She had been referred by a former client; one I haven’t spoken with in several years. Lisa suggested that we meet on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which was convenient, as we had a pet services client whose dog I was scheduled to see. Lisa wanted to walk dogs, together.
My clients’ dog was an amusing character of an Affenpinscher, named Busby. He was an amiable soul, and would adjust to whatever situation we might walk into. At least, he always had in the past. So, armed with the little Black monkey dog, I set off to meet Lisa.
I intercepted Lisa around the corner from one of the plentiful hospitals within striking distance of Union Square. She was accompanied by a Pit Bull. She seemed to want to steer clear of the local dog park, but once we cleared the park, she and I fell into an easy rhythm.
“Dennis, Maria referred me to you, when I told her about this – my daughter’s dog. His name is Axel. He’s an intact male Pit Bull.” I was slightly amused by the statement, as most lay people don’t include their dogs’ reproductive status as part of an initial discussion, at least, not outside of the context of dealing with the typical North American animal welfare organization – most dogs in our urban centers are neutered. While listening to Lisa, I took a moment to take in a little more of the buckskin Pit. He looked youngish. Definitely adolescent and his musculature suggested that he would probably top off at 75-80lbs, assuming he was kept fit. He was a good looking dog, although I happily admit my positive bias for these dogs.
Lisa continued, “Maria told me that you have a particular interest in dogs like Axel. Initially, I thought of all of classic stereotypes about Black men and these dogs, but Maria assured me that you have your head on straight about dogs.” After a moment’s internal struggle, where I wondered when the last time anyone had last seen me in the company of an intact male Pit Bull in New York City, I asked, “Lisa, when did you learn that I am a Black man – before, during or after being referred by Maria?” Lisa unashamedly admitted, “Lisa mentioned that you are Black, after I told her that I was concerned about where Axel would end land if I gave him up. She told me that she knew a dog trainer, but hadn’t spoken with him, recently. She spoke extremely well of a dog named Asha you had – she assumed that the dog had since died. Maria told me that you and Asha would rehabilitate dogs, together.” I nodded, wistfully. I asked my profiler, “Lisa, why did you want to meet with me?” My daughter ditched this dog on me. I like him, but I really don’t want a dog, now. That he’s a Pit Bull just makes it worse. There are many places that just don’t like these dogs. I was thinking to offer him to you, but looking at the dog you have (Busby), I wonder if he’s up your alley?” It’d like to stay in touch. I can reach out, from time to time, to see how he’s doing?”
“Lisa,” I started, “I am not interested in adopting a Pit Bull, at this time. If you had discussed what you were thinking when we spoke on the phone, I would have told you this, immediately. Maria could have told you that the best approach is to be direct in your dealings with me. I hope that you don’t feel that your time spent profiling and meeting me was in vain. I need to return this dog to his home. If you’d like to discuss ways that I can support you in re-homing this dog, please give me a call during the week and we can set an appointment for me to get a better feel for who he is. There may be one or more people in my network, who are interested in a dog like him. I will charge you to evaluate him, if you’d like me to participate in his placement. I hope this has been helpful. Enjoy the rest of your day.” She seemed a little put off by what I said. Unfortunate, but Busby I left before she could comment further.
I thought the dog could be promising. Who knows, Lisa does have my phone number…
(Bald person’s note: A long time friend of mine just contacted me and shared that the word “Jewess” is considered by some to be offensive. Mea culpa. Any denigration was unintended and the word in this post is retracted.)