This is the third in Luanne’s new lifestyle column, Life in the Green Lane. Read the inaugural column, “The Pros & Cons of Being Married to an Eco Man” and the follow-up, “Why Is it So Hard to Get My Mom to Go Green?”.
My dog has fleece. And that’s not all. There are dozens of reasons why this impossibly adorable pug is leaving behind a puny carbon paw print.
If you consider dogs part of the family then it’s important they’re pulling their weight in the eco department along with the rest of us.
My little Smokey may not be as earthy as those drooling, stick- fetching, shaggy water dogs you see at Ocean Beach. But he plunges into nature pretty darn well for a pampered, toy breed favored by Tibetan monks, Chinese emperors and 16th century European royalty.
Plus, he’s a champion chick magnet. I can’t take him anywhere without hormonal, puppy-loving teenage girls gushing over what looks to them to be a huge stuffed pet. Their devoted boyfriends stand by while they give up some love to my guy. “Ohhh, is that your pug? Can I pet him? What’s his name? OMG, he’s sooooo cute!”
Okay, so being a magnet doesn’t earn you an LEED certification, but these other things count – things you won’t learn at obedience school.
Here’s why my dog is cuter..I mean greener…than lots of other dogs.
1. Carpools on Playdates
Smokey gets picked up for his group, The Littles, a couple of days a week, and this has helped him become the socialized, refined gentleman neighbors invite over for biscuits and tea. Also, his owner (me) is saving fuel by not driving him myself.
2. Named for the Bear
Every time we call out his name, “Smokey, stop eating those Bounce sheets,” people are reminded of that famous ranger bear Smokey who first appeared in 1952 to get clueless cigarette smokers and weekend campers on a campaign to prevent wildfires. My mother argues he should be named Oliver or Churchill or something that goes with brandy and a cigar. But Smokey was already named when our babysitter gave him to us ’cause she was moving and couldn’t keep him.
2. Reuses Everyday Household Objects
A savvy consumer not taken in by the notion that new is best, Smokey forgoes the fancy, synthetic dog bed for a cozy laundry bag or basket filled with warm sheets and socks. Good boy! That’s my good green dog! However, his favorite mount is our laps and that costs nothing at all and we like it because he is so lovable and sweet.
3. Maintains a Strict Organic Diet
We feed him Newman’s Own organic pet food, as well as organic kibble and free range chicken broth in a reusable stainless steel dog dish. Occasionally, we let him have a treat, such as organic string cheese, which was a great training aid for prompting him to sit, lie down and stop eating Bounce Free sheets.
4. Walks the Walk
Smokey is an avid walker who adores cruising to a nearby playground or hiking at Fort Funston. Walking keeps him fit (pugs have a tendency to pack on the pounds) and also calms him down. Walking is great for me, too, and for pet owners like you! Besides, Smokey gets rather nervous riding in cars. He insists on having the windows rolled all the way down and whimpers uncontrollably until we arrive at our destination. My husband is the same way.
5. Wears Made-in-the-USA
Whether starring in a 4th of July parade in Sonoma or escorting his sisters on Halloween, Smokey wears locally-made garb, from patriotic bandanas to harnesses and muscle shirts. He feels we import too many toxic toys and products from China, and although he springs from the Asian culture and resembles the Foo Dog in looks and stature, it all stops there.
6. Creates a Warm Fur-ness
If you can sleep through the intense snoring (being hit over the head with a large mallet can help) then you don’t need to turn up the heat on a cold night in San Francisco. When Smokey stomps on your ribs and flops down on you or near you, it’s like a natural furnace that keeps you toasty all night. Just ask old Audrey. She likes to hang with Mr. Smokes for sunny afternoon cat naps. Audrey showed him who is boss from the very start, but now she needs him. Oh, yes she does, girl.
8. Prefers Biodegradable Pooper Scooper Bags
He won’t tolerate any other sort of bag for scooping up his shit. Funny, that’s one of the reasons I love him so. I once tried to pick up a poop using a plastic grocery bag and boy did he yelp. He likes that Bio Bags are made with planet friendly corn that breaks down. We use bio bags for composting, too.
9. Is Never, Ever Wasteful
Kids might kvetch, “there’s nothing to eat,” but Smokey never takes that stance because he will eat just about anything that resembles food. While I’m preparing his meal, he cries and dances manically in a circle, a tribal dance reminiscent of Native American rituals praising the buffalo. If a scrap falls on the floor, he laps it up. If he feels the compost we set aside could be more useful as a snack, then he asserts himself like a good steward of the planet should. And if Audrey won’t finish her own breakfast, Smokey recycles that into his dessert.
10. Conserves Energy
Like the best hybrid, Smokey is efficient at conserving fuel. Here he is after completing a five mile course along the Great Highway bike path. He parked his tired pug ass on the sofa for a snooze before dinner. After dinner, he usually rests until his late night walk with dad. Then he parks it until breakfast.
OMG! My pug is sooooo cute!
Images: Luanne Bradley