Today, I write in support of ugly dogs. The less than perfect ones. The unbathed and ungroomed. The mixed breeds. The mutts. The runts of the litter. And especially the ones without pedigrees or papers – the kind that you’ll never, ever see in the Westminster Dog Show. Those are the dogs that I have always loved, and I am not about to stand idly by while someone makes fun of them.
It happened just a few days ago. Greg Kelly, a commentator for Newsmax – a loathsome alt-right TV propaganda show masquerading as news – said this about Champ, President Biden’s 12-year-old German shepherd: “Did you see the dog? Doesn’t he look a little, uh, a little rough? I love dogs, but this dog needs a bath and a comb and all kinds of love and care. I’ve never seen a dog in the White House like this. This dog looks like, I’m sorry, from the junkyard.”
If I had been present in the studio, I would have punched him in the nose. First of all, it’s an unwritten rule in politics that you can say whatever you want about a candidate or office-holder, but leave their kids, spouses and family members out of it.
I think that rule should apply to dogs, too. (Though not cats – I’m not a fan. They always look like they’re thinking, “If I were about 200 pounds bigger, bub, you’d be in big trouble.”)
I know Kelly was really just looking for an excuse to trash Biden. But what kind of a man picks on a dog? I’m a firm believer that you can tell everything you need to know about a person by how they treat dogs, kids and elderly people.
The irony is that Champ – since dogs are often much better people than most people I know – would probably greet Kelly with a wag if the two were to meet. That’s how dogs are. They don’t judge. They love everybody. Even jerks like Kelly and Craig Shirley, a presidential historian whom Kelly brought into the conversation for piling-on purposes. Shirley said Champ “looks very dirty and disheveled, very unlike a presidential dog.”
How dare you, sir! Champ may not be presidential looking, but then neither was our last president. The way I see it, we’re all mutts. And the world would be a far better place if we judged dogs and people less on how they look and more on how much love and kindness they bring into the world
On that count, I’ll bet Champ is a true champ.
Kelly, probably not so much.