By Katie Naphas /// Features Editor and Julie Oatfield /// Staff Writer
PioLog staff members Katie Naphas and Julie Oatfield met up with history professor Khalil Johnson to discuss his beautiful dog, Xochi, and their long-term relationship. Sadly, Xochi did not join the interview.
Pioneer Log: How did you and Xochi meet?
Khalil Johnson: She found me when I was living on the Navajo Nation in 2005. She was cold and shivering outside my door. At night, the desert can drop to minus 8 degrees. In my memory it was raining, so … it was kind of possibly raining. I turned to my partner at the time, and I said, “We should take the dog inside,” and she cautioned me that if I were to bring the dog inside it would never leave. And I was like, “No, no, no, we’ll just take it to the shelter.” And I take the dog inside and, uh, she stayed with me ever since.
PL: When she’s not staying inside, what’re Xochi’s favorite travel spots?
KJ: I would say there are two places she loves: she loves her homeland of New Mexico, where she can run off-leash and chase horses and try to eat cow poop; and she also loves my parents’ house, similarly, because they have a big backyard and she can just run around. She’s free. Any place we can go where she can be off-leash and run around and chase stuff and smell things is a treat for her. Without her collar on, she looks like a seal. [laughs]
PL: Well, the cow poop leads to another question: what’s Xochi’s favorite non-pet food? Please don’t say cow poop.
KJ: There are two things that she loves. One, of course, is bacon fat, so whenever I’m cooking bacon she’s ON it. Which is, you know, stereotypical for a dog. But she also really loves cauliflower. Like, salivates, sits eagerly for particularly the stump of the cauliflower.
I’m not makin’ that up. You can’t make that up. I mean, she’ll eat apples, but she LOVES cauliflower.
PL: Have you ever considered putting her in a shark costume because she looks like a seal, especially without her collar?
KJ: That would be ironic. But I think that’s a good internet meme because she would look SO pathetic in the shark costume. But It would also torture her, so I’m not gonna do that.
PL: We’re glad there’s an anti-torture policy. Any political affiliations for Xochi?
KJ: Hm. She’s from New Mexico, which is a Republican state, but she’s from the Navajo Nation, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. She also was born poor and has benefited from social services, so I think she’s probably a Democrat. In fact, a friend of mine got her a Barack Obama collar — said “dogs for Obama” — so I guess she’s definitely a Democrat.
PL: How does Xochi–or how do the two of you–unwind after a long day?
KJ: She likes to go for walks of course. She and I together will go for a run in NW Portland. It’s kinda great for me because it looks like she’s smiling when we run so we’re both like, “Yaaaaaaay!” You can quote me on that, if you’d like. Seven As.
PL: You’ve got it.