Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Boomer May be a Buster"!

Poodle Bitch has noticed that a dog in North Dakota-- a plains state-- is vying for the attention of The Guinness Book of World Records. The ever-vigilant Associated Press is on the case:

Boomer may be a buster: Measuring 3 feet tall at the shoulders and 7 feet long from nose to destructive wagging tail, his owner thinks she may have the world's tallest living dog.

Caryn Weber says her 3-year-old Landseer Newfoundland keeps all four paws on the floor when he drinks from the kitchen faucet in her family's farm house in eastern North Dakota.

Poodle Bitch has not met very many Landseer Newfoundlands, so she naturally decided a little research was in order. What she discovered appalled her. First, regarding the breed's "temperament":

The Landseer is a dog with an outstanding temperament, good, courageous, generous and intelligent. It is also a patient dog, mild with guests, and obsequious with its master. He is noble, calm, gentle, loyal and trustworthy with a sweet temperament.

Poodle Bitch has always thought that the words "obsequious" and "noble" were antonyms. How can one breed dogify both terms? And why should one breed want to?

But that is a minor, some might say purely semantic, argument. What truly disturbed Poodle Bitch was information on the breed's height and weight:

Height: Dogs 28 ½ -31 ½ inches (72-80 cm.) Bitches 26 ½-28 ½ inches (67-72 cm.)
Weight: Dogs 130-150 pounds (59-68 kg) Bitches 100-120 pounds (45-54kg)

According to a caption of one of the two photos accompanying the AP story,

The dog [Boomer] measures seven feet from nose to tail. stands 36 inches tall at the shoulders, measures 7 feet from nose to tail, and weighs 180 pounds.

This means that Boomer is 4 1/2 inches taller than the average expected height, but a full 30 pounds heavier than the average expected weight. Poodle Bitch returns to the breed information, to a section called "Health Problems":

Prone to hip dysplasia. Do not let a Landseer get fat. Also prone to a hereditary heart disease called sub-aortic stenosis (SAS). Breeders should have puppy's hearts checked by a veterinary cardiologist at 8-12 weeks of age. Adult Newfies should be cleared of SAS again before breeding.

Poodle Bitch wonders if Boomer isn't dangerously overweight-- and therefore his "record" size is not something to be celebrated. She further wonders if the reason Boomer "keeps all four paws on the floor when he drinks from the kitchen faucet" (as noted so approvingly in the story's second paragraph) is because the poor creature is physically incapable of jumping up?

Weber plans to send Boomer's measurements to Guinness World Records. The previous record holder was a nearly 4-foot-tall Great Dane that died this summer.

The body of the gargantuan Great Dane is still warm, Poodle Bitch notes with some distaste. She also notes that this summer another record-holding dog, Chanel, the so-called "World's Oldest Dog," passed away this summer.

(Were Poodle Bitch of a conspiratorial bent, she might wonder if record-holding dogs were being targeted by someone or something- perhaps cold-hearted rivals for their place in the record books?

But Poodle Bitch is not of a conspiratorial bent. She finds it perfectly plausible that an unhealthily large Great Dane and a dog of an accelerated age might die within months of one another.)

She would like to add that, after seeing the film "The King of Kong," she has absolutely no faith in The Guinness Book of World Records anyway.

As an aside, Poodle Bitch found the story of Boomer via the bing search engine. She notes with some amusement that several mentions of the 7 foot-long dog appeared from various web destinations, yet all of them seemingly from the same AP article that provides the reader with almost no real information. Below is the first page of the search results:

"Boomer may be a buster" is a sentence that makes no sense (what, exactly, is it that Boomer may be "busting"? the kitchen sink from which she drinks? the record books?-- if the record books, then why would anyone want to read a story about a dog that only may be a record buster? Poodle Bitch wonders if there is so little going on the world now), but seeing it repeated over and over again on the search results page caused it to take on an almost surreal lack of meaning.

Boomer may be a buster. Then again, he may just be an extremely unhealthy dog in need of medical attention. The AP doesn't really care about that-- they got their story, and they got it placed in various outlets all over the country.

No comments: