Because this is the dog literature issue of Bay Woof, the publication so enamored of the world of letters that its very name conjures up an Old English classic, I was determined to score an interview with one of the most well-read mutts in Britain, Gromit of “Wallace and Gromit” fame.
It’s no secret that Gromit is one of the most erudite pooches in dogdom. In all five of the dog-umentaries of his and Wallace’s life together, the camera is always catching him working on one classic or another. In “A Grand Day Out” it is The Republic by Pluto. In “A Close Shave” it is Crime and Punishment by Fido Dogstoyevsky. In “The Wrong Trousers” a copy of Pup Fiction is clearly visible in his trash can. No potboilers for this highbrow Bowser.
Upon my arrival at his charming London flat, I was led immediately into the library to join Gromit for tea, biscuits, and a variety of cheeses. When I noticed the Wensleydale, I curled my fingers in delight and waved my hands about like an agitated sea lion. He appreciated my attempt to mimic his beloved human sidekick and after a short snack proceeded to show me his extensive book collection.
Herein is but a smattering of what I saw on his shelves.
Considering his line of work, I wasn’t surprised that Gromit’s collection included many comedies, some by Elizabethan playwright William Sharpei-speare. Examples: “The Taming of the Shih Tzu,” “Love’s Labradors Lost,” “The Comedy of Airdales,” and that infamously bawdy romp, “As You Lick It.”
Other classic plays included “Fiest” by Johann Wolfhound Von Goethe and “Waiting for… Gotta Go” by Samoyed Barkit.
There were also political polemics, such as The Komondor’s Manifesto by Good Dog Carl Marx and Prince by Niccolo Mastiffavelli.
Not to mention some American classics like Moby Dachsund by Harrierman Melville, The Hound and the Furry by William Foxnerd, and The Maltese’s Foul Con by Dachshund Hammett.
Where can you get these dog-eared tomes? Try Border Collie’s Books, soon.
The other day I was surfing the net and came across the term “dog food reviews.” The image came to mind of portly men with goatees spreading Gravy Train on sesame crackers, munching thoughtfully with a marvelous Bordeaux at the ready while jotting down their impressions. But the first headline I read at the website was much more pedestrian than I’d hoped: “Feed Your Dog with Care — Boxers are Prone to Constant Flatulence.” As Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that.”
What would my friend Gromit, the brilliant inventor, do with such information? I pictured vast, hermetically sealed Boxer kennels where the air is circulated and filtered hourly, and the volatile stuff is stored in massive steel tanks. Voila! Natural gas without fracking up the planet. Then again, I thought, Exxon has probably already bought the patent on the concept and dropped it down a very deep well with the rest of the good ideas.
But I digress. For a dog food review to be considered authentic, it would have to really be a review… by a dog… perhaps something like this—
“Say hey, gourmets! Chow Chow Le Beouf here with your latest one-minute dog food review. Well, last night I dumped a trash can over behind Chez Tar Tar and had quite the dining experience! I must say the tri-tip scraps were perfectly seasoned and the Brussel sprouts with butter and balsamic vinaigrette were tender and savory. An excellent repast. Five stars! I’ll definitely go back!
“This contrasted sharply with my visit behind The Gut Check Hash House the previous night, where the buns were basically globs of stale dough, the patties obviously rancid before being served and thrown out, and the whole mess was ground into a mash of shredded cardboard and styrofoam container shards. You can imagine my reaction. That’s right: An excellent repast! Five stars! I’ll definitely be back!”
The idea of a dog turning up his nose at anything vaguely edible is too much for even my overheated imagination.
Herb Canine is one of writer/musician Tad Toomay’s many alter egos. Get acquainted with the others at www.tadtoomay.com.