HAS AMERICA GONE TO THE DOGS?
Or ....Paws for Thought....
By Thor Trewoofe, a glad-handing globe-trotter with a keen interest in those virile Vikings who once ruled the world of whacking, whomping, and perhaps far too much whoopdedooing for their own good
Canucks take a good deal of pride in their hockey, beer, and cell phones (especially those Fido commercials about perky pet-owners who bear a striking resemblance to their posh- or pathetic-looking pooches).
In Toronto, (the capital of everything BIG in Canada), they organized a weird and wonderful dog's breakfast event this month called “Woofstock”, to celebrate man’s best friend plus push every imaginable product and service to pamper one’s hip-looking hound.
The most fur-friendly towns in Canada are probably Poopoo Creek (British Columbia), Dog Pound (Alberta), Dog Creek (Manitoba) and such Ontario doglegs as Dog’s Nest, Pooch Lake, Pooh Lake, and Puppy Lake. The only doggone place however where they've actually waged a war over the issue of freedom for Fido is in Victoria, British Columbia. Elected officials there passed a bylaw permitting off-leash perambulating and piddling for well-behaved mutts (and owners) who care to saunter and sniff their way along a scenic seashore stretch known as “Dallas Road”).
In fact, America is home to some unusual pastimes such the enduring love of its citizens for bigger-than-life spectator sports. One of the most popular forms of entertainment involves media-hungry politicians. They simply adore "marking their territory", "getting their paws on a bone", and "letting a little fur fly" once in awhile, (as long as they're not caught on tape "barking up the wrong tree").
Come to think of it, if the current President of the United States needs canine confidantes in the Whitehouse, (two Scottish terriers named "Miss Beasley" and "Barney" to guide the affairs of state ...in return for a free run of the red carpet), then you know things must be hunky dory. Just don't let Lassie, Spot, and Snoopy know or they'll want in on the action too!
The companionship of a canine is clearly a must for those seeking election to the highest office in the United States. According to sources at the "President's Pet Museum", since the founding of this pet-friendly nation, 40 out of 43 U.S. presidential pet-owners have brought with them a magnificent menagerie of some 200 critters to share the "top dog" spot at this prestigious address.
And for those who can't get enough hair-raising facts to stimulate their minds, there are 28.4 million web pages devoted to these marvellous mutts. As if that were not enough, more than 1,086 geographic features (including airports, bars, bays, beaches, bridges, buildings, canals, capes, cemeteries, channels, churches, cliffs, crossings, dams, flats, gaps, glaciers, islands, keys, lakes, mines, oilfields, parks, pillars, post-offices, ranges, reservoirs, ridges, schools, springs, streams, summits, swamps, valleys, and wells) have been named after these blessed bow-wowing creatures (according to the U.S. Geological Survey - National Mapping Information website).
It may be a "bird dog", "hang dog", "dog-in-the-manger", "dogmatic", "dogtrot" or simply a "dog-eat-dog" world out there ...but judging from the plethora of pet-inspired U.S. place names, the most Fido-friendly towns to hang out in are probably:
- Big Lick (North Carolina)
- Canine Gulch (Alaska)
- Dog Bluff (South Carolina)
- Dog Canyon Estates (New Mexico)
- Dog Corners (Maine), Dogs Corners (New Jersey)
- Dog Creek (Oklahoma, Kentucky)
- Dog Ear Lake (Florida)
- Dog Hill (Tennessee)
- Dog Pond (Arizona)
- Dog Hole Lake (Florida)
- Doggie Island (South Carolina)
- Doghouse Junction (California)
- Dog Island (Florida)
- Dog Island Corner (Maine)
- Dogpatch (Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona), Dog Patch (West Virginia)
- Dog Ridge (Texas)
- Dogtail Corners (New York)
- Dogtown (Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee)
- Dogsboro (Georgia)
- Dog Walk (Illinois, Kentucky)
- Dogway (West Virginia)
- Gnaw Bone (Indiana)
- Licking (Mississippi)
- Mutt (Virginia)
- Paw Paw (Illinois)
- Poocham (New Hampshire)
- Tick Bite (North Carolina)
- Township of Dog Ear (South Dakota)
Americans currently spend close to $34 billion annually on their pets. While ornery owners sometimes find themselves in the proverbial "doghouse", millions of mischievous mutts and misbehaving mongrels enjoy a life of ease as someone's favorite "animal companion".
It is estimated that 64.5% of American adults are now categorized as overweight according to the American Asssociation Obesity. As if that's not enough, more than 40% of household pets today are said to be obese, causing alarm among the nation's pet-insurance providers (as health-related illness claims for "Max" or "Minnie" spiral out of control).
Meanwhile back in Emerald City, vets are trying to capitalize quickly on the latest canine craze among celebrity pet-owners -- tummy tucks, fancy face-lifts and testicular implants. So rest assured "Petunia Plump", "Ms Piggly-Wiggly" and "Fat Freddie" ...you too can be slim and trim ...(just like Toto for pete's sake)! Who says you don't stand a dog's chance of winning a red ribbon in a Bow-Wow Beauty contest?
According to Amazon.com, (a remarkable database of delightful doggie doodads for canine consumers), there's something for everyone who enjoys a bit of "Rufus retail therapy". Forget about "letting sleeping dogs lie", or "teaching old dogs new tricks", because if one's keen about making sure "every dog has his day", then "putting on the dog" is all that's required (plus a valid credit card of course).
Here’s a hint of just how important these pooch products and dandy “dogs” of all kinds are to the economy of the world’s richest country. According to the folks at Amazon.com, they have more than 96,000 canine consumer products in 38 categories to whet your whippet's appetite! Not surprisingly, one might even conclude from these statistics that America has definitely gone to the dogs -- and who knows, they could be right!!
Meanwhile across the pond in England, professionals from "PetPlanet" point out that one insurance company has collected file cabinets of doggy data about which mutts have the highest accident-rate. So do take care and avoid naming the silly scamp Rush, Fagin, Heinze, Berty, Ruskin, Jena, Cagney, Captain, Brook, or Radar please.
Lest anyone think that everyone's gone completely bonkers, one only has to read the anecdotes of Aesop (whom it seems had a penchant for pooch platitudes judging from his wildebeest works entitled “The Dog in the Manger”, “The Dog and the Wolf” and “The Fox, The Cock and the Dog”).
May the Force of Fido or Fifi be with you and yours forever more! And if there are any bad dudes out there...better beware of dog catchers or at the very least ... "Dog" the Bounty Hunter... 'cause he's got one powerful posse on your tail!
For those who can't abide blood-letting sports involving elected officials, take a look at a low-impact, safe sport known as "Dog-whistle politics" (played by peace-loving politicians from "Down-Under" places). See "Double-Tongued Word Wrester" for more delightful details http://www.doubletongued.org/index.php/dictionary/dog_whistle_politics/
Bothered by the dog-days of summer? If so, drop by your local dog show or at least book ahead for the "Woofstock" Festival held in Canada's two canine-conscious corners -- Toronto and Vancouver http://www.woofstock.ca/
And for dogs and owners who can't get enough of each other, try going OVERBOARD http://www.ucomics.com/overboard/2005/06/04/.
Of course, you can always "put on the dog" by purchasing some marvellous matching Mutt and Jeff t-shirts at http://www.cafepress.com/trendyteeshirts/575795 . Or better yet, you can fork over some change to get the latest custom-crafted, international designer doggie diva duds from Jennifer Ritchie of Campbell River, B.C. http://www.skookumdesigns.com. She stitches everything from casual chic canine wear like sweaters and aviator jackets to fairy outfits, pink petticoats or costly corsets, not to mention bejeweled Renaissance gowns for trendsetting tarty-types with matching muffins like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
Remember, only in America can you find a world-famous bounty hunter, media personality and speaker by the name of Duane "Dog" Chapman -- http://www.dogthebountyhunter.com
Pulling your hair out trying to figure out what to call your dog? Need to post a picture of your pooch -- visit http://www.picturepuppy.com. Oh and forget about pursuing a degree in onomastics, consulting a Ouija board, or asking your best friend what to name your four-legged furry companion ... just visit http://www.geocities.com/dog_names/most_popular_dog_names.html
You think you've seen it all? Well we may have dog groomers, dog sitters and even dog walkers, but how about dogs who earn their own keep! Yup, check it out at http://www.dogswithjobs.com
If you're a pleasure-seeking "party animal" with a few "pet peeves" under your belt, take a peek at some wonderful whimsical prints and originals by Salt Spring artist Julia Lucich athttp://www.landingpartygallery.com.
On the other hand, if you prefer being a "watchdog" -- keep your eye on the weather -- because although it's never rained cats and dogs anywhere, it has however rained frogs, toads, fish and birds; (chalk it up to some very wicked whirlwinds, waterspouts, and tornados). See http://www.halife.com for more interesting stuff.
How about some "Earthbound dog-tags" http://www.earthbounddog.com/
This year marks the 55th anniversary of Charles Schultz's best-known, best-loved, bouncy beagle in town, "Snoopy", not to mention the other wise-cracking "doggone" cartoon-strip characters from "Peanuts" who are also a real hoot! For more details, check out the UnitedMedia.com website to meet Peanuts and all the gang.