Sunday, October 17, 2021

Dogs of Wisconsin


     Our dog Kitty travels well, and has ranged across the country from the Rockies to the Atlantic.
     Alas, the one inn we could find in Door County with a vacancy at short notice does not accept dogs. So we had to leave her with neighbors—who are, to Kitty's credit and theirs, somewhere between happy and overjoyed to savor her company for a few days. She really is a most easygoing dog.
     Because of her absence, I was perhaps more attentive to those travelers on our trip who managed to take their dogs with them, particularly this dog, spied on the Eagle Trail at Peninsula State Park. His name is Lazlo, his owner told me, and he is a Puli, or Hungarian sheepdog. At first I thought his long, dreadlock-like coat had to be some kind of singular neglect, but that is how the breed grows it, in these tight coils, which actually take quite a bit of attention to keep clean and in the pristine condition that Lazlo presented.
     I choked back the obvious question, "Can he see?" because there seemed to be a whiff of criticism about it, and there are enough people ignorantly challenging others over baseless concerns for me to add to the scrum. If you Google "How can a Puli see?" you find this question has been well-masticated. The answer is "yes of course," and there is even a supposed "old Hungarian saying," which goes " “The Puli, through his hair, sees better than you.”
     The other dog sat next to me at the Old Post Office fish boil; or, rather his owner did. We struck up a conversation (the owner and I, that is, not the dog). He had recently gotten the dog, named Wilson, a Silver Labrador that he trained for duck and pheasant hunting. I had heard of golden labs and black labs and chocolate labs, but a silver lab is something new, and he said it is indeed new. 
     The breed dates to the 1950s, which is yesterday when it comes to dog breeds. Though some think it actually is just a chocolate lab in a new light, sort of the canine version of the blue dress. Turns out, there is all t
his controversy over the silver lab, at least in circles who care about such things. Part has to do with their breeding: are they pure labs, or mixed with Weimaraner?  (which is what I suspected he was, at least partly, before I asked, though it seemed thick for a Weimaraner).
     "Dogs are an inexhaustible subject," as George Orwell writes in Burmese Days, and I probably
 should wrap this up. In closing, I have to mention that I've noticed people don't sneer at Kitty, being half-Bichon, half-Shitsu, the way they used to, nor insinuatingly demand to know what rescue shelter she was gotten at. I used to tell them she was rescued from a breeder, and point out that she was already born when we found her, and someone had to give her a home. I've either managed to better avoid such people, perhaps through good luck, or otherwise our national problems are such that grilling people over the provenance of their dogs just isn't as important as it used to be.






  1. I'm with you Mr S...I grew up with a Weimaraner-and-German Shorthair mix, and my cousin has had Weimaraners for about a half-century now. Wilson sure looks like one to me. He does appear to be somewhat on the chunky side, though. What do I know? Haven't had a dog in my life since the Seventies. I'm a kitty guy.

    How's this for a co-inky-dink? Your dog is named Kitty, and I had a cat named Daugh. Spelled that way because it was short for Daugherty, the last name of the allergy doctor whose injections made it possible for my wife to live with cats.

  2. I once had a dog named Hammarskjöld; also a cat we called Stevens. Then there was my bird Parker.


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