- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 18, 2000

Demonstrators rattle Washington. The D.C. cops pursue rapists and drive-by shooters with bravery and dispatch, but tend to run at the first sign of traffic gridlock.

The feds are worse.

The Secret Service, which has a secret plan to eventually close every street in the nation's capital, operates on the Fearless Fosdick principle of preventive law enforcement. You remember Fearless, the famous detective who was Li'l Abner's beau ideal. When Fearless was assigned to find a can of poisoned pork and beans a heinous felon had put loose somewhere in the city, Fearless went about shooting every little old lady about to buy a can of beans. He left a trail of innocent corpses, but nobody ate the poisoned beans.

The men of the ATF, the drugs-and-guns specialists, are skilled at breaking down wrong doors, but they haven't made much of a dent in traffic, drug or otherwise.

Fortunately, some of the demonstrators who tied up downtown Washington yesterday, effectively shutting down the government (a day with a government sleeping late can't be all bad), came to town with a positive agenda. Or at least part of the agenda was positive. Nobody, including the demonstrators, was quite sure what the rest of the agenda was.

The beating heart of the Mobilization for Global Justice is the Million Mutt March, described as part of "a nationwide effort to promote adoption of mixed-breed, older, and special-needs dogs," to "eliminate canine discrimination … you are invited to bring your canine and human family members to join in the march and help promote this important cause."

But don't ever refer to these noble beasts as "mongrels." The proper way to describe one of them is "a dog of blended heritage." This is a cause whose time has arrived.

Shutting down the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund may or may not be a good thing to do, though eliminating dog snobbery is surely God's work. But if, as the London Daily Telegraph reports, the Mobilization for Global Justice is right to hold the World Bank and the IMF "responsible for the contempt in which Americans hold mongrels," it's time to smash these institutions into pieces so small as to fit into a dog's dish.

Dog snobbery is alive and prospering in Washington, where pretending to be better than you really are is the point of being here. Some years ago, a young man of my acquaintance took his dog of blended heritage to an obedience class in Glover Park. The lawn was awash in the poshest of poodles, the most precious of terriers and the coolest of gay dogs of various species.

The instructor turned up her nose at my young friend's dog, an old yellow-dog Democrat, an authentic dog of the South aptly named Ego. But, being Politically Correct, the instructor thought better of banishing Ego. "I have nothing against dogs of mixed breeds," she sniffed. "A dog is man's best friend, and some of my best friends are mixed breeds. But there are standards to uphold." The message to the young man was clear: "Ego is just not our kind, dear."

The young man, named Alex, called me that night, all but in tears, to tell me about it. "Everyone has to introduce his dog, and say what kind of dog it is. I don't know what to say. What kind of dog is Ego?"

Ah, I told him, the others should be so lucky. "Ego is a Laotian retriever, one of the rarest breeds in the world. There are only five such dogs known to be alive in the world. Two of them guard the throne of Bhutan, one is believed to be in the royal kennel at Buckingham Palace protected by a secret identity, there is Ego, and the fifth dog is missing, the object of a discreet but worldwide search." Alex took notes.

When the second obedience class ended a week later, he called me again.

"I told them what you said about Ego."

Well, how did it go?

"The instructor thinks Ego is as obedient as she will ever be, so I don't have to take her to the rest of the classes. But six people came up to me and want to buy Ego."

Ego, being a good Democrat, had no use for discipline and figured that she could do as she pleased and someone else would pay her dues. She was one of a kind. Though 16, she died too soon. The New York Times reports that it's possible now to store your dog's DNA against the day when it can be cloned. Two rich Texans have contributed $2.3 million to Texas A&M; to enable biologists to work on cloning their dog Missy. The resurrected Missy may be whelped this year.

But this is wicked exploitation of a dog's DNA. Since all dogs go to heaven, where there are no cats to disturb paradise, science ought to give their DNA a rest, too. Now there's a real cause.

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.



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