WASHINGTON, DC–Bearing facial expressions ranging from goofy to adoring, dog owners from across the U.S. gathered in the nation's capital Monday, demanding to know who's a good boy.
"Who's a good boy?" asked National Doggy Appreciation Society president June Erhardt, speaking before an estimated 300 canines ranging from border collie to schnauzer. "Who? Who?"
Added Erhardt: "Is it you? Is it you?"
Despite its consensus on overall dog adorableness, the dog-loving community remains sharply divided on the question of who is a good boy. Some say the answer is "Such a good boy, yes." Others contend the good boy "needs his belly rubbed, yes, oh yes." Still other factions maintain that the only good boy is "my special little snuffy-snuffers, the bestest of all the best boys there is."
With canine-cuddliness levels at an all-time high and adorability-boosting ribbons and chew toys plentiful at pet stores across the nation, no resolution to the good-boy-identity issue appears to be on the horizon.
"The dog owners of this country still have a great many questions that require answers," said Indianapolis NDAS delegate Janine Mulhern. "Who is, in fact, my favorite little guy? Who, for that matter, has a fuzzy little tummy-wummy? And, perhaps most importantly, who wants to go outside?"
"Outside? Outside?" continued Mulhern, rattling a leash in her outstretched hand. "These are issues that must be addressed. Our high-pitched, cutesy-wutesy voices will not be silenced."
According to the results of a recent NDAS "Who's A Good Boy?" survey, dog owners are split roughly into three camps, with 40 percent favoring "What a pretty, pretty, pretty boy" and 31 percent holding that "You're such a puppy!" The final 29 percent argued that the correct answer is, "You are such a stinker, a stinker, a stinky-dinky-dinker!" The NDAS survey did not, however, include members of The Pat-Pat League, an extremist group that wants entirely non-verbal resolutions to the issue, including play-wrestling, head-rubbing, fur-tousling, chin-scritching, and even great big hugs.
"The question of precisely who is a good boy is of fundamental importance to millions of Americans, many of whom pose this query to their loved ones several times a day," said Marvin Sidowsky, an Atlanta-area veterinarian. "In fact, they may even find themselves asking it several times in quick succession while dangling a rawhide chew stick in the air. Clearly, it's high time we had an answer."
"Right, Bogey? Right, Bogey?" said Sidowsky, rubbing noses with his Yorkshire terrier. "Oh, no... oh, no... No, no, no, no, no. No no no no no no no no no no. Nononononononononono."
"Awwwwww," concluded Sidowsky, wrapping Bogey in a baby-blue terrycloth towel and cradling him like an infant.
Despite the differences of opinion, dog owners remain optimistic that the good-boy question can be resolved.
"Don't worry, it's okay," said Anita Perlich, Columbia, SC, NDAS chapter president and owner of four Irish setters. "There's nothing to be scared of."
Addressing reporters from a dog-hair-covered couch in her D.C. townhouse, Erhardt stressed the need for calm. "Nothing to worry about... Uncle Joe always does that. Uncle Joe! Down, boy! Down, boy! Down!"
"He's just excited," continued Erhardt, stressing the need for a positive outlook. "He's not used to new people, that's all. Uncle Joe! Get off the nice man!"