spring 1997 cover
The American Bloodhound Club
An article from the spring 1997 issue

A Bitch Session
by Corrina Cooke

I'm relatively new to the world of dogs, and completely naive of the world of the show rings. As I begin to familiarize myself with bloodhounds and their people, I can not help but wonder - why are these people who profess to loving their hounds referring to them as BITCHES? Bloodhounds, after all, are not a contentious dog. As long as they are fed well, given plenty of exercise, and allowed as many hugs and scratches as your arms can endure, they don't tend to complain much. But here are all these dog lovers, saying, "My Bitch did this", and "Look at that Bitch", and to add insult to insult, there's even a Bitch category in the shows!! One handler may have the best dog, but oh-boy, the other handler has the best BITCH!

I do realize that bitch is the proper name for a female dog. Just as mare is the proper term for a female horse. However, since that word has crept into non-dog-specific language and crossed the floor in between "good" and "bad" language, I find it difficult to refer to any bloodhound female as a bitch, despite the word being an acceptable term. I can't help but thinking of the sexist and misogynist connotations that have shrouded this word in our human world.

I put forward this dilemma of mine to my friends on the Bloodhound Bunch E-mail group, and received many thoughtful replies. Several people agreed with me that they feel a bit odd referring to their beloved hound as a bitch, but most see nothing derogatory about the word. Despite most of the replies being from women, most people appreciate the word and the special meaning it contains.

One Bloodhound Bunch member wrapped up the qualities: assertive, independent and a strong personality. Many people related stories that illustrate how common folk do not appreciate the qualities of a good bitch. One person related this story: "My daughter heard me talk of bitches and it never phased her. Now that she is in school, she asks me why people use that word for calling people names. One day a fifth grader called her a bitch on the bus, she laughed at him and said her mom had some nice bitches."

Barbara Meyer put it the most eloquently, "By seeing it as a appellation for strength, character, assertiveness and honor. For being willing to stand up for what you believe - for sticking to your principles - for speaking your mind - for speaking out against injustice. There's not a darn thing wrong with the word. Call me a bitch and I'll say - 'Gee - thanks!' When I die I want "Veteran Bitch" carved on my tombstone."

So, with this in mind, I am working on adjusting my thinking. There is nothing wrong with being a Bitch. I will do my best to embrace Bitches whenever I can, and I will make the word and it's meanings part of my everyday life. When I hear someone being called a Bitch, I will think of her canine sister and how they must share characteristics that are to be respected. And I will look to Bitchhood as something to strive for. For instance, when I display certain canine-like behaviors once a month - declaring the chesterfield as off limits to anyone but me, growling at my husband for coming too close to my pound of chocolate, and generally dominating the TV- I will happily accept the title "Alpha Bitch"!

Corrina Cooke

This article appeared in the spring 1997 issue of the American Bloodhound Club Bulletin.
No reproductions are permitted without the consent of the ABC Bulletin editor and the author.
Reproduced here with permission.

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