Is that a dog?

Years ago, we had new neighbors move in to the upstairs apartment in the house next door.  One Saturday afternoon shortly after the couple had moved in, I saw them out with their dog on the grassy median strip dividing our residential street. The couple was talking with some other neighbors, so I went out to say hi.

After meeting the friendly guy and his girlfriend, with no introductions to their scruffy dog sniffing at my feet, a question formulated in my head:

“Is that a male or female dog?”   

(Because, really, how can you tell without being, y’know, obvious?)

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