The Pet Lady


I intend to buy a dog for my 4-and- a-half-year-old son and myself sometime in the next year or so, and have been doing some research regarding the breeds I'm interested in. I would really like to buy a German shepherd, but now my brother tells me their temperament is unstable and they've been known to turn on their owners. I know breeds such as Dobermans are prone to that, but are German shepherds? Any help you can give me regarding this issue would be greatly appreciated.



The Pet Lady loves your name. It reminds her of the lovely month of May as well as mayonnaise, a fine condiment indeed and French in origin; apparently, in days of yore, the Duc de Richelieu spanked the Brits in a battle at Port Mahon, and his chef wished to make a sauce of cream and eggs as part of the dr de victoire. Finding that they were out of cream, olive oil was substituted, and the resulting emulsion became known as "Mahonnaise," and, later, of course, our friend mayonnaise, to which we should all raise a glass of champagne in a French toast to its creamy goodness.

As far as German shepherds go, the Pet Lady has only ever had the pleasure of an extensive acquaintance with one. Her name was Cindy, and she was the dear pet of the P.L.'s first (and now longest-loved) friend, a sweet little girl named Margaret Rose; Cindy watched over Margaret Rose, her four siblings, and the small P.L. with a vigilance that clearly demonstrated her belief that they were her flock, despite their nonsheeplike appearance. Cindy was one of the best dogs the world has ever known, a gentle fur guardian tolerant of all manner of being dressed up in costume and other childish torment.

The Pet Lady has never heard of any German shepherd turning its fierce sense of protectiveness against its protected, and imagines that any dog brought up with appropriate love and discipline would be very unlikely to do so. However, purebred canines are, due to inbreeding, prone to health and, in some cases, emotional problems that a nice American mutt is less likely to experience; German and other shepherds, for example, often have troubles with their hips, and Dalmatians are often rather—how shall the P.L. put this?—high-strung. Dearest Mayone, so many good dogs of indeterminate origin await proper homes with 4-and-a-half-year- olds to love them; it would behoove you to visit your nearest animal shelter and liberate a fur friend, embrace it in the ample bosom of your family, and save it from possible impending doom, n'est-ce pas?

Best to you, your brother, and your dear little son, Mayone! Enjoy your champagne and mayonnaise!

The Pet Lady

Pet query? Send photos and letters to The Pet Lady, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104, or e-mail

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