This essay is a speculative inquiry into the possibilities and problems of canine citizenship. Informed by a cross section of contemporary images of and relations to dogs in the United States, it asks to what extent, and to what effect, man’s best friend has become invested with a particular set of meanings about public participation. These are meanings worth exploring, I think, for three reasons. First, animals have a long history of symbolizing fantasies and anxieties about human life; we sometimes call this anthropomorphism. As a kind of surrogate human being, the American dog can help make the terms of being human, and more specifically the terms of being a citizen, more visible. Mine is a strategy of displacement that considers what these dogs reveal about the character of public life and its participants, or lack thereof. What can these dogs tell us about citizenship as a set of actions or inactions, as a definition of personhood, as a way of moving through and imagining the nation?