Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poodle Bitch does not care for "Dogshaming"

Poodle Bitch has noticed that human beings can often find a great deal of comfort -- or at least humor -- in the humiliation of others. The "Numa Numa Dance" guy. The "Star Wars kid." "Afro Ninja." The "Funky Chicken Teacher." The journalist Jon Ronson has observed that one sure way for humans to achieve internet success is to humiliate themselves.


But, what about those humans who wish to achieve some internet fame while remaining insulated from embarrassment? Poodle Bitch notes that if those humans have companion animals, they can offer those animals as sacrificial lambs to the internet gods, to bear the burden of shame in their place. Poodle Bitch has already written about Denver the "Guilty" dog, shamed by his human companions into appearing in a pathetic and mean-spirited video. Now, there is a new Tumblr called "Dogshaming," in which humans post humiliating photos of their oblivious companion animals "confessing" to "crimes."

Ha, ha.

Poodle Bitch is irritated.

First of all, there is the fact that the dogs themselves do not feel "shame." The dogs are engaging in behaviors that come naturally to them, and responding to cues from their human companions. In the case of the above photo, for instance, you have an image of a dog that feels genuine trauma during storms -- which can be quite confusing and frightening for dogs, with the cacophony of rolling thunder and the flashing of the lightning, and the rain pouring down from nowhere and everywhere all at once -- and so s/he reacts with fear, to such an extent that s/he cannot control bodily functions.

The human thinks this is funny. The trauma of a dog is amusing to this human. So much so, that the human scrawled a note that the dog most likely is unable to read, and had the dog sit beside it, so that a "hilarious" photo could be taken and shared with the entire world.

Poodle Bitch would like to point out that we have no real proof that the animal depicted in the above photo is actually "guilty" of the "crime" described. Human beings are notorious liars. They are notorious pursuers of fame. They are capable of random cruelty and narcissism. They are a strange and fantastic species. The existence of "Dogshaming" is proof of that.

And its growing popularity is further evidence of Poodle Bitch's theory that human beings are losing the ability to empathize, even with members of their own families, and see their companion animals as nothing more than "pets," as possessions to be used in whatever way will bring them the most amusement.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sadly noted with Poodle Bitch: The sad story of Lola

Poodle Bitch read with sadness and horror the story of a "former screenwriter" who allegedly punched a four-pound poodle bitch in the face, killing the poor dear.
Police say a former television screenwriter was arrested after punching his poodle in the face so hard that it died of a brain injury. ... His wife tells the newspaper that the dog's death was a "horrible accident."
Poodle Bitch wonders how one can "accidentally" punch a poodle in the face, let alone punch the poodle so hard that the creature dies as a result. The New York Post has more:
Sources said Shuttleworth, who has worked for Steven Spielberg and now reads scripts for $300 a pop, allegedly decked little Lola on May 29 because he was angry at the pup. He took the 5-year-old dog to a veterinarian, where her death raised suspicions. The hospital called the ASPCA, which took Lola’s remains for a necropsy. “Lola sustained a traumatic brain injury secondary to the application of blunt force to the right side of her head at the hands of the suspect, her owner,” said ASPCA spokesman Joseph Pentangelo.
Poodle Bitch believes quite strongly in the proposition that all creatures, human or canine, are "innocent until proven guilty." Nonetheless, she admits to having some difficulty in not holding this "human" in abject contempt. She hopes against hope that in fact the entire incident was a "horrible accident;" that the poor little five year-old poodle bitch Lola was not brutalized by her human companion, the companion for whom she had nothing but unconditional love, whose smile made her feel alive, whose voice calling her name made her heart race, whose very presence was a comfort during thunderstorms, whose lap was a safe place for sharing time and space together. The alternative is just too sad. Poodle Bitch's heart aches.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Briefly noted with Poodle Bitch: Jennifer Aniston's agonizing decision; Bo Obama ends world hunger and violence with a puppy; loving Ben Gibbard

People magazine has a "People Pets" section, in which appears allegedly interesting articles about celebrities and their companion animals (here referred to as "pets"). On Monday, they carried a story about the famous human performer Jennifer Aniston and her new dog, Sophie. Specifically, the reason why Sophie got her name.

As Ms. Aniston tells it, the fabulously wealthy performer wanted to adopt three dogs, but could not, for some reason. She felt comfortable only taking one dog home. This was an excruciating decision for Ms. Aniston.
"We were [at the shelter] for three hours. I was almost walking out with three puppies," she told Jay Leno in a Friday appearance on The Tonight Show. "That's why we named her Sophie, because it was [like] Sophie's Choice. I was crying – it was so hard."

Excuse Poodle Bitch for a moment, while she wipes away a tear.

Ms. Aniston, one of the stars of the ampersanded film "Marley & Me," clearly knows about the genuine emotional attachments that can exist between humans and animals. So her anguish was no doubt as genuine as that which she expressed on screen, when she had to emote alongside several Labrador Retriever actors who were nearly her equal.

Yet, Poodle Bitch wonders about the sensitivity of comparing the adoption of a dog to the choice of an albeit fictional woman who had to decide which of her two small human children a Nazi doctor was going to take immediately to the gas chamber, and which would be allowed to live in a concentration camp. That is the terrible decision at the heart of the novel Sophie's Choice. After all, human women have special attachments to their human offspring -- they have carried them in their bellies for nine months, nursed them, raised them from babyhood to childhood, borne witness to their first steps, their first words, their first poo on the toilet.

Ms. Aniston is a fabulously wealthy actress on a lark.

Perhaps Poodle Bitch is being too hard on Ms. Aniston. Perhaps a "Sophie's Choice" has come to mean something else, something slightly less agonizing, in the intervening years since the publication of William Styron's novel. Here is urban dictionary:
From the novel and film of the same name, an impossibly difficult choice, especially when forced onto someone. The choice is between two unbearable options, and it's essentially a no-win situation.

It is NOT a difficult choice. It's a choice between two options that will results in the destruction of the option not chosen. A difficult choice is just called a difficult choice, IT HAS NO NAME because it doesn't deserve one for the dramatic effect.

Poodle Bitch cannot look inside Ms. Aniston's heart and see what kind of anguish she must have felt over having to choose between three different dogs to adopt. Perhaps what she felt is exactly the same as what she would have felt had she been forced to choose which of her human children to send to the gas chamber. Or, perhaps, this was simply the most unbearable choice she's ever had to face in her life.

But in that case, Poodle Bitch is perplexed by something else that Ms. Aniston said during her interview:
The adorable puppy made sure she stood out from the pack. "Sophie came right up to us," said Aniston. "That was sort of a big indicator – they choose you." She then shared photos of the tiny pooch, who seems to be loving her new life.

If in fact young Sophie "chose" Ms. Aniston, where was the agonizing decision? Where was the "Sophie's Choice"? Did Ms. Aniston not want Sophie, yet was forced into taking her? Poodle Bitch is starting to wonder whether Ms. Aniston deserves the benefit of the doubt. She is starting to wonder if perhaps the adoption of the puppy Sophie wasn't part of a larger promotional push for her latest film, a comedy that apparently makes fun of hippies.

Poodle Bitch wonders why it is that Jennifer Aniston tried so hard to resist this adorable face.

Regardless, Poodle Bitch wishes Sophie all the best in her new life, which is most certainly going to be better than the lives of either Jan or Eva Zawistowski.

Another famous dog with an enviable life is Bo Obama, the companion animal of the Obamas, current human residents of the White House. As the "First Dog," Bo could no doubt be using his elevated position to create awareness for, oh, something important like pet adoption. And perhaps that is the message at the heart of this video, although it is so scattershot and ineptly produced that Poodle Bitch isn't entirely sure of what is being said in it:

From what Poodle Bitch can tell, the human girl portrayed in this film lives in some unnamed country where poverty, crime, and violence run rampant. She dreams of having a dog, which will apparently alleviate some of the anxiety that she feels over her current living situation. So she writes to the famous Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who apparently has a dog, and to the famous American leader Barack Obama, who of course has Bo, requesting that they give her a dog of her very own.

Poodle Bitch notes that a dog would be better than a drone dropping bombs on her. But she digresses.

At that point, CGI versions of the dog companions of Misters Obama and Putin start rapping and dancing around, and are soon joined by CGI versions of the world leaders themselves. Poodle Bitch is scratching her head. Right behind her ear.

Even after reading the message posted underneath the YouTube video, Poodle Bitch is confused:
Supper Doggies are pursuing the dream to perform around the world, with the involvement of local communities, focusing on children. Concerned about their future, Super Doggies has focused its attention on the global issue of youth poverty. The Super Doggies are 'good citizens' who want to bring attention to the issue of poverty and work with local communities to highlight their plight. Super Doggies's citizenship principles are founded on the conviction that the arts, business and social initiatives can, together, contribute to making a better world.

That just sounds like a bunch of feel-good words strung together to Poodle Bitch's ear.

Perhaps the lyrics will provide Poodle Bitch with some kind of clue?
Listen to your heart
Now tell me how it sounds.
Now walk like a king with a crown
Everyone alive got a goal to achieve
Focus on your path when you’re following your dream
March like a solider
Never look back
The world is a beast that’s ready to attack
Life is a party and the music don’t change
So I will dance with the sun and the rain


Every day, every day is struggle.
Every day in some way we get stronger.
Every day, every day we should stand up!
Every day in some way we should rise up!

When you look up to the star,
All your dreams may seem too far.
You can turn your make-belief,
Into your reality.
It’s a long road you can win,
When you find the love within.

No, Poodle Bitch is no less confused. The world is going to attack you, so you should march like a soldier, and yet life is a party where you are stuck listening to the same music all the time. But you can still win if you find love within. Or something.

And then at the end, the girl gets her puppy. Poodle Bitch is a firm believer in the importance of the connection that exists between humans and canines, but she wonders if perhaps the little human girl depicted in this video might have been better off if, perhaps, something were done about the poverty and violence with which she lives on a daily basis?

While Poodle Bitch believes in the importance of the connection between humans and canines, she believes that there are some people who can take that connection too far. Animal hoarding, for instance. But Poodle Bitch admits that this story made her wince:
A husband, his wife and her lover have been charged with conspiracy to commit bestiality after using Craigslist to find a dog for the wife to have sex with.
The two men were to watch while [the human woman] had sex with the dog.

Poodle Bitch understands that dogs occasionally give mixed signals to humans. Or, that humans could misinterpret canine actions. For instance, Poodle Bitch would like to assure her human readers that when a dog is "humping" your leg, it is usually in an attempt to assert dominance.

It is not a come-on.

Poodle Bitch does not wish to speak for all dogs, but in her own case, unless you are Death Cab for Cutie singer Ben Gibbard, she does not have any romantic interest in you.

Poodle Bitch would definitely respond to Ben Gibbard's Craigslist ad.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Poodle Bitch is saddened by the story of Nick Santino and Rocco

Ever since she first read about the story of Nick Santino and Rocco, Poodle Bitch has felt a mixture of sadness mingled with anger. Mr Santino was a sometime soap opera actor who took his own life shortly after euthanizing his companion Rocco, apparently after intolerable harassment from imperious neighbors.
[I]n 2010, his building at 1 Lincoln Plaza announced strict new dog regulations, including a ban on pit bulls. The ban didn’t apply to pit bulls already in the building, but friends and neighbors said Santino began to be harassed.

“People were complaining about his dog,” said neighbor Kevan Cleary, 63, an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. “It was open season on him.”

Rocco couldn’t ride in the main elevators and wasn’t allowed to be left in the apartment alone for more than nine hours.

Santino was then threatened with a $250 fine for having a barking dog, neighbors said.

“The dog was not a barker, but somebody complained that the dog would bark,” Cleary said.

There is a breed of human -- the Western petty tyrant -- that Poodle Bitch notes is sadly all too common. The Western petty tyrant believes that s/he has found the one true way in which to live one's life. S/he believes that anyone who is not living his or her life in the manner the Western petty tyrant deems appropriate is abusing him or herself, and must be protected from his or her own bad judgment. The Western petty tyrant believes that s/he is the only person who can protect others from their own bad judgments, and therefore seeks positions of authority -- on condo boards, home owner associations, PTAs, city councils, state legislatures, federal legislatures, governorships and presidencies. Poodle Bitch notes that the mayor of the town in which Mr. Santino and Rocco lived, New York City, is famously dedicated to imposing his own will on others.

The Western petty tyrant often does so in the name of "safety." No doubt that was the stated motivation behind banning one specific type of dog -- the pit bull. Armed with a few exceptional and admittedly appalling stories of attacks by these types of dogs, they claim that their actions are merely for the safety of everyone else around them. These stories appear in newspapers and on television reports that are interested only in reporting what happened during the attack. Very little consideration is paid to how the animal in question was raised, or what kinds of behaviors were reinforced in them.

Most humans don't even realize that "pit bull" is not even a breed of dog. As Radley Balko has pointed out:
These types of breed-specific prohibitions are a bad idea for a variety of reasons, but the most glaring is that the most common target of these laws — the "pit bull" — isn't really a breed at all but rather a generic name given to dogs with with features we've come to associate with a certain type of dog with certain aggressive characteristics. The "pit bull" very generally refers to the American Staffordshire Terrier breed, but can include a number of breeds with similar features, including bull terriers like Rufus, and just about any mutt with traces of bulldog, mastiff, or bloodhound crossed with any breed of terrier.

Mr. Balko pointed Poodle Bitch in the direction of an article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell, highlighting research into the temperaments of various dog breeds. What was discovered might surprise the petty tyrants on the condo board at Mr. Santino's and Rocco's former residence:
A Georgia-based group called the American Temperament Test Society has put twenty-five thousand dogs through a ten-part standardized drill designed to assess a dog’s stability, shyness, aggressiveness, and friendliness in the company of people. A handler takes a dog on a six-foot lead and judges its reaction to stimuli such as gunshots, an umbrella opening, and a weirdly dressed stranger approaching in a threatening way. Eighty-four per cent of the pit bulls that have been given the test have passed, which ranks pit bulls ahead of beagles, Airedales, bearded collies, and all but one variety of dachshund. “We have tested somewhere around a thousand pit-bull-type dogs,” Carl Herkstroeter, the president of the A.T.T.S., says. “I’ve tested half of them. And of the number I’ve tested I have disqualified one pit bull because of aggressive tendencies. They have done extremely well. They have a good temperament. They are very good with children.” It can even be argued that the same traits that make the pit bull so aggressive toward other dogs are what make it so nice to humans. “There are a lot of pit bulls these days who are licensed therapy dogs,” the writer Vicki Hearne points out. “Their stability and resoluteness make them excellent for work with people who might not like a more bouncy, flibbertigibbet sort of dog. When pit bulls set out to provide comfort, they are as resolute as they are when they fight, but what they are resolute about is being gentle. And, because they are fearless, they can be gentle with anybody.”

Then again, Poodle Bitch notes with some weariness, the Western petty tyrant usually does not care when his assumptions are contradicted by evidence. He will point to the sensational and sad story in the media, pass his restriction, and then move on to the next great alarm, leaving others to deal with the consequences of his actions.

Suicide is an extreme reaction to the harassment and frustration with which Mr. Santino had to deal. Poodle Bitch has no way of knowing how many other issues he was facing. But she does note that Mr. Santino should not have had to deal with the petty tyrants who lived in his building, and targeted him with their bullying tactics.

They are far more dangerous than the pit bulls they banned.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Briefly noted with Poodle Bitch: Should Poodle Bitch start listening to P!nk?; the power of Craigslist; Newt Gingrich's magnanimity; infernal cats

Poodle Bitch was deeply touched to read of the generosity displayed by the musical performer P!nk, who paid $5,000 to provide surgery and other medical care to a shockingly mistreated canine.
Sources tell TMZ ... P!nk was surfing the Internet recently, when she stumbled upon a story about a puppy that had been thrown off an L.A. overpass ... and suffered 3 broken legs when it landed in the L.A. river.

We're told the dog was in bad shape ... and required major surgery FAST ... or else.

That's when P!nk sprung into action -- contacting the Ace of Hearts animal rescue organization and offering to pay for any medical expense it took to save the dog's life.

In fact, Poodle Bitch was made dizzy by the whiplash between bizarre, unwarranted cruelty and kindness and decency contained within those few hundred words on TMZ's site. Perhaps it was this dizziness that explains her stumbling upon the following music video by Ms. P!nk:

"So raise your glass if you are wrong in all the right ways."

Poodle Bitch at first thought that this was a song about "just being yourself, no matter what," the type of lesson that used to come from Afterschool Specials so many human years ago. But, a careful examination of the lyrics reveals that in fact this is a paean to P!nk herself, in the guise of a fan recruitment anthem. As long as you are "wrong," in a manner deemed acceptable to P!nk, you may join her. Those of you who are not "wrong" in the "right ways," which is to say, "correct," well, then, P!nk is passing judgment against you.

She, P!nk, makes the judgment for or against you. And if you make the cut, then you are one of her underdogs. And as for those underdogs, they,
will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks

Which obviously leaves out Poodle Bitch. She thinks it is fair to say that she will never be a nitty gritty, dirty little freak. She has, however, been known to get a bit "loud," especially when a certain Deutscher Schäferhund goes strutting down the sidewalk past her home. Poodle Bitch wonders if that would be enough to pass muster with P!nk. She rather hopes not; while she willingly raises a glass in honor of the musical performer's generosity toward a dog in need, she fears she has already heard more than enough of her music.

Poodle Bitch is happy to note that it isn't just composers of self aggrandizing dance music who are capable to showing compassion to canines. A human school teacher in San Antonio, Texas was able to buy a few more days of life for a blind dog named Stevie Oedipus Wonder -- and in that time, his human companion was found:
On Dec. 11, Stevie showed up at Animal Care Services. A collar and tag kept him alive for five days, Jeanne Saadi, the agency's live release coordinator, said. But with outdated information, the agency failed to find his owners and prepared to euthanize him.

That's when Brooke Orr, a high school teacher, saw the agency's ad seeking a home for the blind dog. She agreed to care for Stevie over the holidays, buying him a few more days.
"I thought that he must belong to someone. So I went to Craigslist and went to lost and found and I put in 'blind dog,' and there he was," she said.

Poodle Bitch will admit to some confusion after reading the entire story. Firstly, who would mistreat any animal, most especially a dog born without eyes? Poodle Bitch can't imagine what it must be like to be unable to watch certain reality television programs, view great works of art, and to have to rely solely on her sense of hearing and smell to know when a certain Deutscher Schäferhund happens to be walking past. And, of course, she loves to see the faces of her human companions. Such animals should be treated with extra care.

Secondly, why did Ms. Gutierrez's landlord tell her that Mr. Oedipus Wonder was deceased?

Thirdly, why wasn't the information on Mr. Oedipus Wonder's tag correct?

Regardless, Poodle Bitch is gratified that Mr. Oedipus Wonder has been reunited with a family that loves him. And, if she could, Poodle Bitch would sit through at least one of Ms. Orr's classes -- she apparently teaches English as a second language; English is in fact Poodle Bitch's second language.

Poodle Bitch does not follow human politics, for what she believes are reasons so obvious that she will not elucidate them here. Yet it happened that she came across an item about one particular candidate for human president of the United States, a man with the rather bestial-sounding name "Newt." Apparently, this human claims to have softhearted feelings toward animals.
The campaign said today that it will soon launch a “Pets With Newt” site aimed at Gingrich’s love for animals, intended to show a “lighter side” of the candidate. “As speaker I made it possible for people in public housing to keep their pets in 1988. I love pets so we’re going to have an entire project,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich doesn’t have any pets at this time, but he told ABC News today he and his wife Callista want a dog in the White House, and it’s a friendly disagreement between the couple over what kind and size of dog. Callista wants a small dog and Newt wants a large dog, though he says dogs like a Great Dane are a little too large.

Poodle Bitch appreciates the obvious magnanimity that Mr. Gingrich displayed in making it possible for people in public housing to keep their pets. Obviously, such power should be wielded only by the most benignant. Perhaps that is why so many "pets" seem to be "with Newt," at least if the website is to believed. Poodle Bitch wonders if any of those animals knew that, when their companions were taking their photos, they'd end up as campaign propaganda for this human:

Poodle Bitch was reminded of the canine companion-related antics of another presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Apparently, Mr. Romney once put an animal crate on top of his car and drove some great distance. Poodle Bitch is unclear about the details, but at least one New York Times columnist has the story down, and mentions it at every opportunity:
Gail Collins loves telling the story of how Mitt Romney drove his family to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car -- and telling it, and telling it, and telling it.

The liberal New York Times columnist has mentioned the incident in print 19 times, by our count. She devoted a column to the incident in 2007 when Romney first ran for president. In another column, she suggested John McCain pick Romney for his running mate "so I can repeatedly revisit the time Mitt drove to Canada with the family dog on the station-wagon roof." And when Sarah Palin was picked instead, and Collins opined that "unlike Mitt Romney, she has never gone on vacation with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car."

Poodle Bitch has met plenty of dogs with a "sense of adventure" who might enjoy riding along on the roof of a car. That in itself does not particularly shock or disturb Poodle Bitch-- most especially considering that the alternative to the roof ride is to spend time in a motor vehicle with a politician. However, Poodle Bitch notes that dogs have nonverbal ways of communicating their distress with a situation. Apparently, Mr. Romney's dog did so:
As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

Poodle Bitch notes that, at best, Seamus required more bathroom breaks than he was being allowed. At worst, he was so nervous about his traveling situation that he could not control his bowels. But at least Mr. Romney got a chance to show his "emotion-free crisis management;" while the animal actually experiencing the crisis got to... ride on the roof the rest of the way to Canada. And then, presumably, back to Boston.

And what does Mr. Romney have to say about this?


And now Poodle Bitch will go back to ignoring politics. However, she finds it impossible to ignore cats. She has often wondered at the humans who willingly keep these passive aggressive manipulators in their homes, and now she has even more evidence that the creatures are not entirely to be trusted.
Tempted by the playful antics of that adorable kitten in the pet shop? If you've never had a cat before you may want to think again, especially if you have other allergies, researchers warn.

And if you do acquire a feline, keep it out of your bedroom.

While having a cat as a child may protect against future allergies, getting one in adulthood nearly doubles the chances of developing an immune reaction to it -- the first step towards wheezing, sneezing and itchy eyes, a European study found.

The same study, which covered thousands of adults and was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that people with other allergies were at extra high risk of reacting to a new feline in the house.

Poodle Bitch notes that adult humans who are considering getting a cat should instead consider the delightful poodle. She is willing to concede, however, that the reader might consider her to be biased. So instead she will quote from a Mr. Malcolm Dupris at, who states:
One advantage of the Poodle's coat is it is so dense that hair and dander do not easily fall off of the dog, therefore people with allergies are not as afflicted around Poodles as they would be around some other breeds.

But Poodle Bitch would be doing a disservice to the reader if she did not offer more from Mr. Dupris:
All Poodles are quick learners, are energetic, can be comical, and are natural born performers. Their intelligence is quite remarkable, some owners swear their Poodles are capable of reasoning, and they are very attuned to mood in their environment. The Poodle is also very versatile. This breed of dog has been used for hunting, retrieving, they have performed in circus' and as a war dog.

Poodle Bitch wonders why all humans don't have at least one poodle companion, given their remarkable intelligence. She also believes that "War Dog" is a fine title for a Steven Spielberg film. Or, perhaps, "War Bitch."

Stevie Oedipus Wonder picture source.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Poodle Bitch presents her new Christmas poem: The Merry Caniche de Noël

The Merry Caniche de Noël

She travels for peace and goodwill's sake,
Leaving chicken breast and tomato slices in her wake.
All good boys and girls know so well
That beloved and sweet Caniche de Noël.

One Christmas Eve night I filled up with eggnog,
And attained a warm glowing feeling, my senses agog.
I stumbled out of the pub and into the snow,
With no care for direction, for I'd nowhere to go.
There met my vision so hazy and blurry,
That Merry Caniche de Noël, in her red-fringed surry.

Said I, "What brings you to this questionable boulevard,
Where shamble human detritus who find living so hard?"
At least, I believe that is what I mumbled,
For years of hard drinking had left my head jumbled,
And cold winter wind was biting through my clothes,
So I might have said nothing, for all anyone knows.

Yet the Merry Caniche de Noël understood what I meant,
For she laughed at the earnestness behind my lament.
Then she licked at herself, and shamelessly so,
As my fingers fumbled with a bottle of two week-old bordeaux.
Offended, I shouted, "How dare you come here,
Especially now -- at this awful time of year!"

After one more long draught, my tirade resumed:
"My silly species is wrecked! We're all doomed!
Yet for one too-long night we're forced to pretend
That this one's an ally-- that that one's a friend!
And all the while he keeps hidden from view
The stiletto with which he seeks to skewer you!"

I know not from whence sprang such corny indignation;
When I'm in my cups I am prone to high sensation.
Another human might have seen it as skylarking,
Yet the Merry Caniche de Noël responded by barking.
Although her manner seemed disconcertingly aloof,
Each word that she spoke was a gentle "Woof, woof."

"Every snowflake that falls is a reflection in the air,
Of the human compassion present everywhere.
It's simply so common that most choose not to see
All of the good contained within humanity.
It is possible that you've all been led astray
By the monster you've created in this holiday

"For only a species so simple and abstruse
Would use a yearly celebration as an excuse
To create yet another commercial event
That contradicts its own original intent.
Within you all, even you who stand before me,
Resides great promise and generosity!

"So listen hard," (she concluded), "to my gentle doggerel,
And heed now the message of the Caniche de Noël."
With that, the sweet poodle was off and away,
And I heard another voice from somewhere else say,
"My friend, you've clearly had one to many,
A public street's no place for a drunk to spend a penny."

The policeman was quite rough as he took me to jail,
But I just had to laugh, despite my travail,
For the words of the Caniche still rang in my ears,
And in my fraying old pockets found I two souvenirs:
Fresh tomato slices and pieces of chicken breast
Which I ate on that night I spent as the city's guest.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Poodle Bitch is sad to note the passing of Pusuke

Yesterday, Pusuke, described in the Mail Online as a "male cross breed," passed away. Pusuke's passing is notable because the authoritative collector of human "records," the Guinness Book, last December certified him as the oldest living dog on the planet.

Here is how the Mail Online story begins:
The world's oldest living dog has died in Japan at the age of 26 - the equivalent to more than 125 human years.
Poodle Bitch wonders why it is that a canine's age must always be presented so. Are humans so unable to comprehend that 26 is an extraordinarily ripe old age for a dog that they must have it spelled out that the "human equivalent" is, well, a ripe old age for a human?

Poodle Bitch would like for everyone, human and canine alike, to finally once and for all acknowledge that human and canine bodies age differently. Canines mature faster. While human babies are still making (pardon Poodle Bitch's language) "poo" in their diapers, most dogs have already learned to patiently sit by the door and wait for a human to let them out. And very few humans ever learn that the only proper, dignified spot in which to leave one's (again, pardon Poodle Bitch's language) "poo" is outside in a nice, shady spot, far away from the structure in which one dwells.

Poodle Bitch very much appreciates this reporting on the story, at something with the cutesy-poo name "Animal Tracks," in which Pusuke's passing is noted not in human terms, but canine:
Pusuke, who was listed as the oldest living dog in Guinness World Records, died on Dec. 5, 2011 in Sakura, Japan. He reached the ripe old age of 26 years and 9 months.
Unfortunately, the story is three paragraphs in length. The first paragraph, Poodle Bitch has pasted in full above. The second paragraph consists of two sentences noting the previous record holder was an American Beagle who passed away in 2003. The third paragraph is a single sentence containing a link to a "slideshow of the biggest, fastest, longest, weirdest and wackiest record breakers from the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records."

Hardly a dignified notice of the passing of a dedicated companion of more than 26 and a half years. Especially given what Poodle Bitch learned from an article which appeared in Business Insider (Poodle Bitch wonders if Pusuke was involved in business in some way?) back in July 2011:
But Pusuke came close to losing out on the prestigious Guinness title.

In 2008, the dog was run over by a car and several of his organs were crushed during the accident.
Leaving aside for a moment the casual indifference with which this information is presented, Poodle Bitch has to admit she gasped upon reading those words. Pusuke's organs were crushed when he was run over by a car three years ago. Appropriately, a website called A Place to Love Dogs has more:
The spry elder canine still enjoys his role as guard dog, but nearly lost his shot at the Guinness record when he was struck by a car in 2008, rupturing a number of internal organs. Emergency surgery saved the 28 pound wonder dog.
Poodle Bitch concedes that's not much more, but it does tell the reader that Pusuke had surgery. Also, Poodle Bitch can't help but note that while Business Insider (the place for canine-related news?) says that Pusuke's organs were "crushed," which sounds like something humans occasionally do to the delicious tomatoes that Poodle Bitch so loves before placing them in jars, A Place to Love Dogs reveals that Pusuke's organs "ruptured," which sounds much more like a medical term.

But which was it -- were Pusuke's organs "ruptured," or "crushed"?

Poodle Bitch also notes that Ms. Nagai is described by the website as Pusuke's "owner." Perhaps they should call themselves "A Place to Own Dogs"? Regardless, A Place to Love Dogs claims that Pusuke's human companion, Shigeo Nagai, gives him vitamins twice daily, but does not share exactly what vitamins he takes. This is information Poodle Bitch might like to have.

Perhaps the vitamins twice a day lifestyle is the norm in Japan. Poodle Bitch notes that the average human life expectancy in Japan is 82.9 years, which is apparently the longest in the world. Poodle Bitch is curious as to the average life expectancy of dogs worldwide, but was only able to find canine life expectancy information broken down by breed, not nation. So she has no way of knowing for sure if Japanese dogs live longer.

Still, Poodle Bitch has long maintained that is the quality of the years, not the quantity, that most matter to her. She is happy to have found companions in whose presence she feels safe and protected, and she is happy to have gotten plenty of satisfying chicken breast and tomato slices. And a nice place outside the house in which to (one last time, Poodle Bitch apologizes for her language) poo. She hopes that Pusuke could say the same.

She hopes that all dogs can say the same.

Pusuke and his human companion, Shigeo Nagai. Two very lucky individuals.