On Meetup.com, there is never a shortage of curious social gatherings, and BAGDO — Bay Area Gay Dog Owners — is no exception. Does the adjective "gay" modify "owners"or "dogs"? The group's description doesn't clear much up: "A group of individuals who either have gay dogs (you know if your dog is) or are gay themselves (this is true for most members)."
Then there's Pet Pride Day in Golden Gate Park this Sunday. Even though its organizers are only celebrating the pride (lowercase) of having pets, this second ambiguity got us wondering: Is a female dog who likes to chase lady-tail preposterous?
Researchers have reported cases of homosexual behavior in hundreds of animal species. A multitude of pets exhibiting same-sex tendencies within several city blocks, however, might be pushing things.
So, could free love in San Francisco be going to the dogs? In a city that boasts thriving gay and pet populations, maybe it was only a matter of time before the two worlds collided.
To wit, a handful of BAGDO's 104 members conveyed that the bond between their dogs was more than typical, physical animal behavior: "I live with my Charlie and Winston. Both are gay Cavaliers and very much in love. NO JOKE," wrote Jimmy Powers on his profile.
"It's more of a running joke," BAGDO member and professional dog walker Michael Murphy told SF Weekly. "If people are serious, they need a little bit of help. They're projecting a little too much."
Dr. Calvin Lum, a San Francisco vet who hadn't heard of BAGDO, says, "My two cats are gay, as am I," he said. But he pulled the "just kidding" card, too. "I like to think of them that way. It's just in fun. Pets are usually fixed, so they're sexless. Male and female dogs can mount anything. It's all hormonal, dominance, submission; we can't define that asgay behavior."
But then there's Oliver.
Eric Bailey, a 32-year-old graphic designer from Emeryville, is not gay. He just suspects his 4-year-old, 80-pound pit bull Oliver might be. A two-hour romp with a 10-pound chihuahua named Guapo was one of many instances in which "Oli" demonstrated his preference toward males. "As soon as he meets a boy dog, he comes alive. His eyes pop out of his head and he salivates everywhere. Something happens," Bailey told SF Weekly, adding that Oli's behavior has been consistent pre- and post-neuter.
Granted, Oli once impregnated a female pit bull, Sasha — but perhaps only as a last resort. "There weren't any other dogs around," Bailey explained. "Maybe he is a little more gay than straight. You never know."
It gives "puppy love" a whole new meaning.