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From Homophobia to Home: Dog Abandoned for Being “Gay” Gets Adopted

Fezco was dumped at a local shelter after his previous owner saw him humping another male dog. Today, he’s got two doting dads.

by Sean Zucker
March 25, 2022
Photo: Steve Nichols

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There are plenty of stupid reasons to abandon a dog you’ve taken on the responsibility of caring for. While I won’t list them all for the sake of my blood pressure, I can promise canine homophobia is near the top of the list. Last week, a dog in North Carolina was dumped at a local shelter for fear he was a “gay dog.” According to the Stanly County Animal Shelter, the previous owner stated they didn’t want Fezco anymore after seeing him hump another male dog. 

Now, if you’re like me and you’ve met any male dog, you know humping is kind of their thing. They hump for plenty of non-sexual reasons, including but not limited to dominance, overexcitement, underlying medical issues, or — in the case of my childhood dog, Gizmo — just to make my prom date uncomfortable. 

Though, that’s not really the point here. Terrible views aside, all this person had to do was a little bit of research or watch one 25-year-old episode of South Park to know this behavior was normal. But, of course, bigots generally aren’t too bright. 

Shortly after receiving Fezco, the shelter created a Facebook post about the situation. It also stated he was believed to be around four or five years old, 50 pounds, and friendly with other animals and people. The story was quickly picked up by local and national media, grabbing the attention of several high-profile figures — most notably, the great American philosopher Cardi B who pondered on Twitter, “Can dogs be gay or lesbian?”

To answer her question, absolutely. The consensus in the scientific community is that homosexuality is quite common in the animal kingdom. Biologists even believe same-sex relationships may have played a crucial role in evolution, helping to advance animals’ physiology and social behavior. 

A few days later, Fezco was adopted by Steve Nichols and his partner John Winn, an openly gay couple of nearly 33 years. “We looked at each other and said, ‘We got to do something,’” Nichols told The Charlotte Observer. Unfortunately, it seems the previous owner was not only homophobic but all around unloving. 

“What is almost as concerning as the idea that he’s gay, and that the person gave him up for that reason, is the fact that the owner apparently didn’t do anything to take care of this dog,” Nichols explained, adding that the dog had seemingly been underfed and poorly groomed. He also had heartworms and wasn’t neutered — both of which are being addressed by his new family.

Well, when faced with hateful people, it’s best to kill ’em with kindness — or in this case, naming rights. After adopting the dog, Steve Nichols and John Winn renamed him Oscar, after gay poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. So when it comes to battling intolerance, I’ll defer to Oscar’s namesake: “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

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Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker

Sean Zucker is a writer whose work has been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He has an adopted Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and has behavioral issues rival his own.