I knew my dog was dangerous

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That’s him, the environmental offender, at right

So the hate mail from animal lovers responding to my essay this summer about my dog is finally dying down. Believe it or not, I still get comments on this follow-up post and this one. The haters far outnumber the sympathizers, but this doesn’t bother me; working moms who profess to feel exactly the same way are too busy to Google me and hunt down my e-mail account (to make it easier for you, friends and haters alike, it’s above at right).

Like I said on those posts, I do not hate my dog. My essay was an attempt to explain the dramatic and completely unexpected change of heart I had toward him after the birth of my child. I know with absolute certainty that I’m not alone in this, but I am possibly the first mom to bring it up (at least to an audience of 3.25 million). For this I blame the cult of canine sainthood in this culture, in which we aren’t allowed to admit anything but utter adulation of our four-legged pets. Also I blame my tendency to view the essay page of the magazine as a confessional.

Anyway, I dredge all this up again at the risk of further inciting a hate-mail torrent because I came across the news earlier today that my dog might be dangerous after all. Despite my annoyance at his quirks—the inexplicable howling, the prolific shedding, the endless pacing—even I have to admit he poses no harm at all to my child.

But his farts might be endangering the world.

According to Slate: “Scientists are trying to fight global warming by changing animal flatulence.” Read:

Emissions from livestock reportedly account for up to half of greenhouse gas emissions in some countries. Kangaroos have stomach bacteria that eliminate methane from their gas; scientists want to transfer these bacteria to sheep and cattle. Bonus: The bacteria could improve digestive efficiency by 10 to 15 percent, thereby reducing feed costs. Alternative proposal: Eat less cattle and more kangaroo meat: “It’s low in fat, it’s got high protein levels,” and “it’s the ultimate free range animal.”

Okay, okay, so they’re talking about cows and pigs. But I’m telling you, my dog can lay one. Now that he’s in old age, his gas emissions are frequent, sudden and can clear a room. They’re of the SBD variety, which leads my husband and I to eye each other with suspicion when the stink hits. But our befouled air is nothing compared to the earth’s. As you all know, I’m trying somewhat seriously to reduce my household’s carbon footprint. Do they sell carbon credits toward an environmentally offensive dog? Any suggestions?

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