Can I keep a loose country dog?
Can I keep a loose country dog?Illustration by Jack Unruh

Q: Recently, I had a dog show up on my property and make itself at home. He didn’t have a collar or anything to identify him, but I suspected that he belonged to a man down the road who keeps a bunch of dogs for hog hunting. The thing is, I got pretty attached and now I don’t want to give him back. And I bet he doesn’t want me to either. Hog hunting is dangerous work. Have I done the wrong thing?
Name Withheld

A: The Texanist is familiar with both sides of this conundrum. On the one hand, there have been many long, dark nights of the soul in which his spirits have been buoyed by the doggy affections of a loyal and puffy bichon frise named Lulu (the Texanist’s missus assures him that a man’s manliness has nothing whatsoever to do with the size of his dog). Yet he has also dispatched more than one feral pig while it was being firmly subdued by a snarling team of rough and large South Texas hog dogs. Which is to say, he knows well the cozy camaraderie of a pampered pooch but is not blind to the fact that canines were put on earth to aid man in more than simply fetching his slippers. The dilemma in which you have ensnarled yourself is a real doozy, but the facts are the facts, and your own guilty conscience is telling you the same thing that the Texanist will repeat for you now: the dog—noble, brown-eyed, tail-wagging, slobbery, kiss-giving beast that he is—does not belong to you. And you know it. But depending on just how reasonable a man your hog-slaughtering neighbor is, all hope may or may not be lost. The Texanist advises you to make your way down the road (after first alerting an emergency contact to your destination and when to expect you back), explain the situation, and attempt to strike a deal. You may end up paying with cold, hard cash; time spent cleaning his kennels; an understanding handshake; or a years-long feud, but if you really want to legitimize your relationship with the dog, it’s vital that you at least make an attempt to reconcile. Other than having ol’ Spot ripped from your hands with a yelp or the most vicious of his former colleagues sicced on you, what’s the worst that could happen?

Q: Is there a place or function at which I may not wear my new baby-blue guayabera?
John Blakesmore, Austin

A: Ah, the guayabera. The Texanist’s closet is dotted with a kaleidoscopic array of these Mexican wedding shirts—long-sleeved, short-sleeved, cotton and cotton/poly blends alike. The combination of elegant pleating and abundant pocketry (as well as the blousy fit, which can easily cloak an extra ten to fifteen pounds at the midsection) makes it a favorite. Usage should not be limited to nuptial ceremonies held south of our southern border. The Texanist wears his own guayaberas most everywhere, with the only exceptions being swamp buggy jamborees, pie-eating contests, and goat-sacking night at the rodeo. Steer clear of those settings, and you and your new shirt should be just fine.

Q: I am a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan and a graduate of Baylor University. Until Coach Art Briles, a fellow West Texan, and Robert Griffin III arrived in Waco, I had nothing to say about Baylor football. Now I’m beaming. But since RG3 is signing with the Redskins, I have a problem. I live in Washington, D.C., and when I wear my Aikman jersey, people ask me where my Redskins jersey is. I say, “I’m from Abilene, Texas, and was raised to be a Cowboys fan. I knew what a fedora was before I started kindergarten. I hate the Redskins.” Sometimes I don’t add that last sentence, but you get my passion. I can’t bring myself to cheer for any Baylor Bear who plays for the Redskins, even the one who put Baylor football on the map. How can I show my support for RG3 without cheering for the Redskins?
Kirsten Hancock, Washington, D.C.

A: It’s a sad Texas football fact that not all of our state’s collegiate standouts end up as Dallas Cowboys like Dandy Don Meredith (SMU), Bob Lilly (TCU), Harvey Martin (East Texas State), Dat Nguyen (A&M), and even The Fedoraed One, Tom Landry (UT). The Texanist is reminded of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, the Temple native (Salute!) who spent his entire post-TCU football career with the hated Redskins, although the pain of that reality is lessened a little, since he retired before the Cowboys were even a twinkle in Clint Murchison Jr.’s eye. Still, the wrenching experience of watching a beloved college player decamp to a despised pro team is, unfortunately, just how the prolate spheroid bounces. Regardless of RG3’s current team affiliation, his outstanding achievements in the green and gold are indelibly recorded in Baylor’s sporting annals, and as an alumna, you will always have access to them. The Texanist sees no problem with you acknowledging these successes by donning the number ten jersey during Redskins games, so long as the Cowboys are not on the opposite side of the field. If you find yourself unable to muster even this small tip o’ the hat, the Texanist suggests that you simply have a bear claw for your game-day breakfast and slip on the old number eight.

Q: Is it okay to throw cans and bottles into a bonfire on the beach? I was recently sitting around a campfire on South Padre Island with a bunch of friends, and this very question came up after someone tossed an empty beer can into the flames. If the fire’s hot enough, the can sort of melts into nothing and then gets buried anyway, so it’s not exactly like littering, right?
Name Withheld

A: You are correct: chucking dead soldiers into a beach bonfire is not exactly like littering, but the Texanist would counter that neither is it exactly like not littering. Come to think of it, it’s a whole lot more like littering than it is like not littering. When visiting the beautiful beaches of the Texas Coastal Bend, it’s best to try to pack out what you pack in or at least utilize the provided trash barrels. Really, the only foreign body that it is okay to bury in the sand is your Uncle Stan’s, but even then, that should be temporary. He burns so easily.