One of the last places I expected to hear the annoying strains of political correctness (PC) was at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, all six hours of which was recently televised.
Every time the word "pet" should have been used it was replaced by "companion animal."
This has to be the zenith of politically correct silliness.
The idea is to avoid inferring that humans are in any way superior to their domesticated animals, whose every need must be attended to in order that they might lead healthy and happy lives. How wonderfully sensitive.
The only problem with such logic is that, in every other way at this show, it was obvious that inequality abounded. Humans were giving the orders and the dogs were expected to obey. Likewise, the dogs' owners were referred to as their masters, not as their "zoological custodians," or some such inanity. And none of the dogs were there of their own free will or because they thought it would be a fun thing to do that day.
There is no PC at my house where our dog is concerned. He doesn't know the difference between a companion and a pet. He knows that my wife, Susan, and I are calling the shots, but he couldn't care less because he also knows he has it made.
I, on the other hand, have not had it so easy where he is concerned.
Having a good-sized dog like Scout in the house is no trivial thing.
I remember the day Susan drove off, secretly, to pick him up from a breeder over near the state line.
She got home in the dark of night, waltzed into the house and said, "Hey honey, here's our new dog. Isn't he cute? Hope you like him, because he's staying." Or words to that effect.
Scout had arrived and that was that. He is a fine Rhodesian Ridgeback, the perfect combination of friendly, loving "pet" and aggressive watchdog. The problem - for me anyway - is that Scout turned out to be a one-person dog and that person wasn't me.
While he worships the ground Susan walks on, during a typical day he barely acknowledges my existence.
Does he show any concern or sensitivity for my feelings? Hardly. Unconditional love? Forget about it.
Though I give Scout as much love and affection as a spurned co-owner can, it will be a cold day in July when I refer to him, or any other pet, as a companion animal.
Of course, such nonsense is not for the animals, but for those hypersensitive humans who can't bear the thought that there should be an unequal relationship anywhere on earth, even between humans and animals.
Such people should try living under the same roof with Scout, and they would learn something about the harsh realities of an unequal relationship. I may be Scout's master, but I'm utterly powerless to make him love me.
And Scout doesn't know a thing about the forced sensitivities that are the hallmark of PC, so my feelings are never spared.
Somehow, though, I manage to carry on.
* Greg Strange, a meteorologist, writes and tends to Scout in Atlanta.