An Open Letter to the Female Hat-Wearing Dog From “Go Dog, Go”

Dear female hat-wearing dog,

I bought your book to help my son learn prepositions and adjectives and was, from the first read, inexorably drawn in by your heart-wrenching struggle for approval.  Momentarily distracted by the humdrum parade of big dogs, little dogs, black and white dogs, I watched as you walked in, brimming with joy and confidence, and looked on as some total nobody, indistinguishable from most of the other dogs in this book, crushed you with his subtle rejection.

do you like my hat 1 full theuglyvolvo
“Do you like my hat?” “I do not.”

And you don’t even know me, but I wanted to take a minute to tell you that what matters is that you like your own hat, hat-wearing female dog.  Who is this guy anyway, some sort of dog hat expert??  Who cares what he thinks???  Wear a hat you love and if he doesn’t like it?  F*#% him.

I want you to take this in, hat-wearing female dog, lest you spend the next 15 years of your life trying to impress someone who is not worth your time.  Ignore the hat-based norms of the dog universe and wear what makes YOU happy.  Celebrate yourself!  You are awesome and unique, like that dancing eleven-year-old in the blonde wig from Sia’s Chandelier video, only a dog version!

So you try again.

feather steal theuglyvolvo
Just because someone owns a bowler hat doesn’t make them the Tim Gunn/Bill Cunningham of the dog fashion universe.

And not only does he shut you down once again (“Do you like my hat?” “I do not like it.”) he literally steals the feather out of your hat as he rides off on his scooter.  OMG, WHAT IS HIS ISSUE, RIGHT?  SCREW HIM AND HIS DUMB SCOOTER AND HIS HALFHEARTED FOUR-DAY-LATER FOLLOW UP TEXT MESSAGES.  (Not into UR hat, babe.  U look cute tho.)

If you’re seeking approval because you’re itching to be in a relationship right now, know that there are other fish in the sea and, more importantly, bazillions of other dogs in this book.  Without even looking I found some big dogs and some little dogs going around in cars.  I found a red dog on a blue tree.  I found a green dog on a yellow tree.  I found two dogs in a house on a boat in the water and three dogs at a party on a boat at night.  All of whom seem single, ready to mingle, and possibly capable of empathy.  The female-to-male dog ratio in this book is totally in your favor so why are you selling yourself short???

dog party theuglyvolvo
Admittedly this is like the world’s most pathetic party, but in fairness they seem like nice guys.

Forget this dude who isn’t into your hats!  It shouldn’t be hard—he is so completely and totally forgettable because P.D. Eastman draws all dogs more or less identically.  And yet like so many cartoon female dogs, you only have eyes for some generic nobody who can’t see how freaking fantastic you are.  You confront this guy a third time, desperately searching for the hat validation that since childhood you’ve been told you need.

ski hat confrontation
“I’m just a boy, standing in front of a girl, telling her I don’t like her hat.”

IT IS NOT ABOUT THE HAT—ARE YOU LISTENING???  It doesn’t matter if he likes your hat or not.  I want you to feel the burning radiation of your self-worth as you say, “THIS IS ME.  THIS IS WHO I AM.  IF YOU’RE NOT INTO ME BECAUSE I’M WEARING AN UNCOMFORTABLY LONG SKI HAT, MAYBE THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP FOR EITHER OF US.”

But you’re not ready to do that.  And like so many relationships, it comes to a head at a party.  A dog party.  A big dog party.

dog party tree
Unlike that other ‘party’ that consisted of three dogs, a checkerboard, a banjo and a lollipop, this one is actually like a legit party.

Big dogs, little dogs, red dogs, blue dogs, are all at a dog party.  What a dog party!  And you show up looking totally cute and you approach him again (In fairness, I admire your tenacity) and ask one final time if he likes your latest hat.  A hat topped with a flower pot and a pennant flag–one that has no fewer than two spiders and a goldfish dangling off it.  A hat that features a bouquet of lollipops and three candy canes in close proximity to a mop that clearly you only put on because you lost a bet.

close up on crazy hat
This hat is Vera Wang’s living nightmare.

So you ask if he likes your hat and he’s like “Yes!  I like it!  I like that party hat!” and you guys drive off together into the sunset.  And it seems like an idyllic future, except that there is literally no way you can wear this hat every day without sustaining major neck damage.  So you guys settle down, date for a few months, maybe move in together, but eventually you get to the point where you’re like “I sort of don’t want to wear this hat every day just to keep this relationship going.”  And honestly, at this point he’s not even into the hat anymore because the novelty is wearing off.  The sex isn’t as good.  You lie awake in bed next to each other staring at your phones as you frantically wonder if you should buy a new hat to spice things up. Have you gone right back to being invisible?  Who are you to him now?  Just a series of crazy Mardi Gras-style hats?


Assess your value, female hat-wearing dog.  Take a minute to really look at yourself in the mirror and say:

 “I am a moderately well-drawn ketchup-colored poodle and my storyline is the closest thing this book has to a plot.  I am the only thing pulling the narrative along.  I’m well-groomed, enjoy skiing, and have enough disposable income to amass a comfortable hat wardrobe.”

And then feel free to ask your reflection if it likes your hat.  And if your reflection is like, “Girrrrrrl, you look amazing regardless of whether or not you’re even wearing a hat,” maybe ditch this mustard-colored moron who immediately ends a date when he’s not digging the girl’s hat because you’re terrific and life is short and sh*t like that’s not worth your time.   



   *         *          *

Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming

 If you are attending a baby shower in the near future, I have a book out designed as a gift for new parents called Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming that you can purchase through AmazonBarnes and Noble or Indiebound.  It is a very small, lightweight book that can be read by someone who is averaging 3-4 hours sleep a night that reminds them that eventually, someday, they will maybe get 5 or (perhaps I am being ambitious) 6 full hours of sleep again.  Someday.  Maybe.

If you enjoyed this piece, please share it and/or follow The Ugly Volvo on Facebook or Twitter.

I know at least one person will be upset that I “can’t just enjoy the book Go Dog Go like everybody else” so if anyone needs me I’ll be right here repeatedly banging my head into the wall and writing the word “Satire” on my tile floor with Crayola bath crayons.

Also, if you’d like to buy the book Go, Dog, Go, do that too!  Despite my making fun of it, it’s a lovely book that I have read about 4,000 times.  It’s literally like 5 bucks.  My book is like 12 bucks.  Go nuts.















241 CommentsComment

  1. So funny!! Spot on.

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    robin helbling

    Spot on! Bravo!
    You absolutely nailed this with your intellect and sharp wit.
    I also think the female dog should be allowed to go sleeveless, in spite of what Speaker Paul Ryan says.

  3. The 2nd most frustrating thing to me about this book is the lack of an “e” at the end of goodbye. I cringe a little every time I read it…which, thankfully, as of late is not often. The dogs I am forced to read about lately are those of the Paw Patrol. Interestingly enough, they also have an incredibly disproportionate number of males to females. Hhmmm….

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    Ashley Williams

    This is amazing. I’m a mom of 4 and have always been upset by the plight of the female dog in this book. It resonates strongly with, like, every woman I’ve met in my life. Ever. Thank you.

    Also, your writing style is hilarious. Carry on.

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    Terry Lee

    My sister sent me a link to this article when it first came out, but my second child hadn’t aged into “Go Dog, Go” yet. Now that he has, I read this book almost daily. I appreciate what I put my poor father through, almost 50 years ago. This book was so beloved by myself and my sisters that we buried a copy with my mother (upon her death, naturally).

    Curiously, not only have I made the assumption that they are male and female dogs, but I also have made her French (she appears to be a French poodle) and him British (due to the fact that he wears a bowler). My son often turns and stares at me as I struggle to imbue each of their interactions with overtones that befit their genders, their nationalities and their relationship to one another.

    Perhaps it’s Stockholm Syndrome, but I have also informed my wife that I am considering a full back tattoo of the dog party in the book. It’s equally as valid as a Molly Hatchet album cover or, or whatever the kids are doing today.

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      Raquel D'Apice

      I’m pretty in awe of the dog party full back tattoo idea. Best of luck!

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    J T Nichols

    Nothing wrong with the truthful answer that the other dog doesn’t like the hat. Could be a favor to let the other dog know, like telling someone they’ve got a piece of broccoli stuck in their teeth..

  7. Tremendous stuff! The exchange between these two dogs has always been a favorite in our family. We play the scene out in a variety of mundane situations (e.g. Do you like the toast? Daughter responds: I do (or don’t) like the toast?). We have standard voices we use for the dogs so everyone’s in on the joke.

  8. Wait! Who says “he” is a male? I have always been a bit angry at that rude dog, but since none of them have genitalia drawn, I always assumed they were ALL female dogs. We all know that hat-rejecting dog is certainly a “bitch.”

  9. Um…what makes you think the red dog is female?

  10. This whole thing CRACKED me up. I’ve always been a little obsessed with this part of this book. My students and I discuss how rude the dog is to always tell the hat-wearer that he/she doesn’t like it. I will say, though, that the hat-wearer never seems too upset or rejected.

    I’m dying that some people are saying the hat-wearing dog is not female. Interesting perspective.

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