Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: The 'SBF' in a personals ad turns out to be a female labrador retriever.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: We can't say for sure whether anyone has ever used this faux personals ad (attributed to many different newspapers) to lure a lonely man into adopting a homeless canine, but the basic gag is at least several years old and has appeared in many versions with slightly different details.
In 1996, for example, an Illinois newspaper reported the following ad had appeared in a Peoria shopper:
LOVABLE, AND LOOKINGAs recently as late 2003, this joke was still bedeviling the Atlanta Humane Society:
SBF (single black female) seeks male companionship. Loves long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights spent lying by the fire. Rub me the right way and I will respond with tender caresses. I am a svelte, good looking female who loves to have fun. Call now. I'm a five-week-old black Labrador Retriever.
The faux personal ad gives a metro Atlanta telephone number and says to ask for Daisy. Only careful readers get to the punch line on the bottom: "Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society about an 8-week-old black Labrador."While the Peoria version quoted above simply works this gag into the common technique of catching a reader's eye with an ad that initally appears to be one thing but is eventually revealed to be something else (such as the common scheme of printing of SEX in
"We get one or two calls a week," said receptionist Heather Bowles, who had a Daisy-related voice mail waiting for her.
There are black Labs at the shelter. There are sometimes dogs named Daisy. But there is no black Lab named Daisy.
"We never placed that ad," said Katherine Christenson, public relations manager for the Atlanta Humane Society, who has fielded curious calls from newspapers in Florida, radio stations in Milwaukee and Reader's Digest.
Bowles thinks the e-mail must vary a bit.
"Sometimes they ask about a dog and sometimes they just ask for Daisy," she said. "When they ask for Daisy, I know they're not looking for a dog. I tell them it's a joke and don't let it get any further."
We hope that if anyone ever used an ad like this one to find a home for an ownerless dog, deception wasn't a part of it. Pets should be adopted by people making informed choices after due consideration and forethought, not by those jumping into spur-of-the-moment decisions after having an idea sprung on them by surprise (or by those making hasty choices in attempts to save face or spite those who made them look foolish).
We also can't imagine that anyone working for an animal shelter would want to subject himself and his
Last updated: 8 July 2007
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