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July 2000 Newsletter - Volume 3. Issue 7

In This Issue

2000 MB-F, Inc.

You may use this paragraph as permission to reprint any article in the MB-F Newsletter providing 6rticles are printed in their entirety, proper credit is given to the author and to the MB-F Newsletter, and a copy of the publication in which it was reprinted is sent to the MB-F Newsletter, P.O. Box 22107, Greensboro, NC 27420. Opinions expressed by authors in this publication are their own and are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher. Publisher reserves the right to edit.

Announcement From MB-F, Inc. and Brown Dog Shows
by Bob Christiansen

MB-F and Brown Dog Shows have formed a new business alliance that will help bring a new competitiveness to the Pacific Northwest area, which the Brown organization has served since 1965. This step was prompted by Brown’s wish to offer more computer-oriented services to the exhibitors and greater service to their clubs, while maintaining the personal contacts they have held for many years.

This cooperative venture will make additional services immediately available to all the clubs served by Brown Dog Shows. These services include those already enjoyed by the MB-F clubs: • A free home-page for each club under contract • The ability of those clubs to prepare their premium lists online • The ability of those clubs to build judging panels online and submit direct to AKC • The ability of those clubs to resolve overloads online • Wider distribution area for premium lists • E-mail confirmation of all entries • Online access to AKC registration files to insure accuracy of entries • Online results after the show • Insurance coverage for the club • Listing of the club and its show, premium lists, judging programs, etc., on their own web site nationwide via InfoDog.

These services already enjoyed by MB-F clubs will enhance services presently available to those clubs under contract with the Brown organization.

Over the coming months there will be an orderly transfer of various operations to the North Carolina office of MB-F, which will enable Brown to provide better service to their clubs while maintaining competitive fees. MB-F personnel may be seen at some upcoming Brown shows as MB-F becomes more familiar with Brown operations. MB-F clubs and exhibitors will also find Brown Dog Show premium lists at the MB-F tables at shows, affording the Brown operation a wider distribution for their premium lists.

The Brown Dog Show Organization is excited with this new forward look and the new services that will be immediately available to their clubs. MB-F looks forward to this alliance and the opportunity to work with the clubs in the Pacific Northwest while providing increased services to exhibitors as well. This additional information on InfoDog and the increased distribution of premium lists at both Brown and MB-F shows will be a great help to exhibitors.

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Dog Shows - It’s Not Just About Bragging Rights Anymore
by W. Henry Odum, III
(Old Dominion Kennel Club of No. Virginia Publicity Chairman)

The dog show probably had its earliest beginnings when two neighbors, after a lengthy “discussion”, submitted their prized hunting dogs to an independent arbiter (read, The Judge) to determine once and for all who bred the “best” specimen. The bad news was that the result only settled the argument for that moment. The good news was they found the event to be a lot of fun and they decided to do it again and include more neighbors. The eventual result was... the Dog Show (with a capital “S”).

Originally and ideally, the purpose of a Dog Show, just as other livestock shows, was to provide a competitive showcase to exhibit breeding animals and their progeny. To what purpose? To promote a “product”. What was the product? Most often the product was the progeny themselves or the services of the breeding stock on display. But there was another more intangible “product” that the exhibitors oftentimes tried to sell – it was an idea, a concept, maybe even a dream, of just what was the ideal conformation and attitude needed to perform the intended function of these animals. He not only wanted to “sell” his product, but to put his stamp on the products of his peers as well. Winning was important, but influencing the future of the breed was the ultimate in bragging rights.

Today’s breeder faces a host of new challenges that must be added to the already difficult task of breeding the best dog. Political, social, economic and even ethical issues have found their way into the sport. Animal “rights” activists pursue an agenda aimed at achieving the demise of the sport. Communities face pressures caused by too many animals being produced as well as too many being produced for the wrong reason (the “pit bull” controversy). Almost daily the headlines tell stories of public safety concerns, noise and pollution issues, and the growing cost of animal control within the community. Only too often we are alerted to pending anti-canine legislation at some governmental level and find ourselves facing the daunting task of blocking its passage in an uphill fight. There are even those out there who feel that the basic concept of a person “owning” another living creature is wrong. (The latter obviously have never experienced the joy of sharing their life with a dog. Those of us who have would question just “who owns whom”).

These are serious well-organized challenges that, uncontrolled, could seriously impact the dog Fancy. That is why today’s Dog Show has a vital new mission of an importance equal to that of breeding the best dog – PUBLIC EDUCATION. A Dog Show presents an excellent forum to accomplish this mission and get out our side of the story. It presents the opportunity to:

Educate the public on the benefits of dogs in general and purebred dogs in particular. Extol the virtues of introducing the dog into our lives. Educate the public with regard to selecting the appropriate dog to meet the particulars of their lifestyle. Provide a forum for breeders, exhibitors and the public to meet, thereby contributing to better understanding and an educated consumer. Foster informed discussion of the new challenges being faced. Provide this education in an environment that is entertaining and enjoyable. Provide, through the forum, the financial support to continue and expand the effort.

How do we go about doing all this? How do we bring the two communities the Fancy and the public, together? Half the problem is easy; the mechanism for involving the Fancy is essentially in place. Built around the AKC show approval and scheduling process, the information is promulgated in myriad publications starting with the AKC Gazette and events supplement. A whole world of esoteric media and advertising has evolved to publicize and promote the events – to the Fancy. Unfortunately, the general public is unaware that this network exists. It is this remaining half of the problem the show-giving clubs must address.

How do we get started?

The first challenge is for show-giving clubs to recognize that the public awareness and education issue ranks right up there with having a good show. Maybe not first priority, but a very strong second. The story needs telling and we can’t succeed if we are our only audience.

The second challenge is to find and assign a club member to the important position of Public Affairs Director. If you are fortunate, you may have a member with a bent toward Public Affairs; if not, it may take a small committee headed up by someone who understands the objective and can get the most from people.

What do we do next?

Put together a plan. Now don’t panic yet, we’re not talking about a tome bound in Moroccan leather with “THE PLAN” embossed in gold. Here’s a simple outline of some of the things that might be done:

Establish your club as a full- fledged member of the community on an everyday basis. Participate in and sponsor a wide range of community events, not all must be dog related. Support scholarships in canine related fields. Provide materials for the local library system. Sponsor worthwhile projects, e.g., Pets on Wheels, shot, tattoo and spay/neuter clinics. Work with the local Animal Shelter Work with schools, 4-H, Scouts, church groups and more. Join the Chamber of Commerce. Include other community organizations in your efforts (Ruritan, Knights of Columbus, etc.) and participate in their activities. Be identified as a member of the community; make sure that your work is visible. Work with local and state (even national) level elected officials and agencies. Help to solve dog related issues before they become draft legislation. Get to know who the “movers and shakers” are. Be identified as “players” in the process. Be someone who is involved even when there isn’t a problem. Help them solve problems before the fact instead of supporting panic letter writing campaigns after the fact – it’s too late then. Never miss an opportunity to be identified with good works and don’t be afraid to let the world know that you are there.

Now, how do we get out the word about an upcoming show, our best education forum? Advertise using every possible media resource available.

1. Remember, your spectators come from your local region; most traditional advertising (Gazette, dog publications, etc.) is aimed at the Fancy not the public. 2. Identify and use all the local newspapers. The Washington Post may have a wide circulation, but local small town papers and even community advertising oriented “papers” have equally wide readership in composite, and they may be more cooperative. They don’t compete with the New York Times. 3. Identify the newspaper sections that attract people looking for things to do on weekends. In Northern Virginia, a mention in “The Best of the Week” is probably more effective than a big ad. 4. Get your show listed in the various publications that list major regional events. The AAA magazine, state, city and county public affairs booklets, a flier prepared by the park you use, the list is endless – find them. 5. Radio and television – and don’t forget your local cable company. Remember, in the first part of the plan when we established ourselves as “players” in the community? Now we can use that status to get consideration for public service announcements – the kind for which you don’t need to pay. 6. Try to establish a relationship with local radio and TV personalities. Become a favorite cause or pet project. Try to get sportscasters to include our sport. Invite these personalities to participate in Best in Show/Group presentations. Try to make them a part of the event. 7. Always try to get an area personality – Congressman, County Supervisor, radio personality, Mayor, or anyone with public visibility, to hand out ribbons and trophies. This is part of the “we are part of your community” program so don’t forget the pictures. 8. Don’t limit yourself to one type of format. Country stations as well as classical music stations have listeners. 9. Provide official passes to key organizations and individuals, even if you don’t use them for entry to the show. Don’t forget to send a pass to the people who live near the show site as appropriate. In an era where good venues are getting hard to find, we need them on our side. 10. Use available (and affordable) billboards and visible signs. Leesburg, VA, where Old Dominion KC has their show, has event signs at all four major entrances to the town. We buy space on all of them the week of the show. 11. And, last but not least, get involved with the Internet. Build a web site that is informative. Establish links with a wide range of sites to widen coverage. Keep show information up to date. Don’t forget to take full advantage of the excellent MB-F web site infodog.com. Linking to their info database on the show will not only get good information out to the public, but save your club from a million phone calls. Also use the AKC web site to your advantage. And, include your web address on all other media advertising.

I’m sure there are many other actions I could include here, but you are probably getting the idea. Remember, the choices are endless, but you have to find and develop them – they rarely come knocking.

Then, during and after the show:

Follow through at the show. You managed to get them there – now ensure they have a good day and leave happy and better educated. This is a requirement for all members of the club: smile a lot and chat with everyone you can. Spectators are easy to identify from the look of eagerness and anticipation on their faces. Give them a ride to the ring area when passing on your golf cart. Do little things that make them feel welcome. Have education materials readily available. Have knowledgeable people at the club tent that can answer questions and give advice. Make announcements on the PA system that help the public as well as the exhibitors Make everyone part of the show. The program does not end at Best in Show. Just like in golf, you must follow through! Don’t forget to send those thank-you notes and pictures as appropriate. Remember everyone who helped. Don’t forget to get the information on Kerry Blue Terriers to that family from Arlington – you get the idea.

What now?

The cycle doesn’t end here. To find out what to do next go back to the paragraph that asks the question, “How do we get started?” You guessed it – the process never ends. There is always a new family in town and a new public official that needs to understand dogs and a new organization that needs help.

Get involved and stay involved!

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From Where I Sit
by John S. Ward

The foundation blocks of the sport of purebred dogs are the local clubs. Fortunately in this day and age there is a wide variety of such clubs, offering the enthusiast many opportunities to participate in a wide range of dog activities. In addition to the customary menu of dog shows, field trials, and obedience trials, there has been an upsurge in the number of AKC-sponsored performance events, such as agility, lure coursing, and several forms of hunting tests. This in turn has naturally led to the formation of many more dog clubs whose primary function is to sponsor competitive dog events under AKC Rules and Regulations.

Close behind that principle objective is the function of educating the club’s members in all aspects of the dog activity to which they are committed. In the case of clubs specializing in a particular performance event, this is accomplished by conducting training classes for their members and sometimes for the public in order to provide a structured approach to successful competition in their specialty. These classes are usually very well attended and are held as frequently as once a week.

With regard to local conformation clubs devoted to a single breed, however, education runs a very poor second to the effort and time expended on planning for and putting on their annual breed Specialty Show. In many instances newer members of these clubs are discouraged by what they perceive to be complete preoccupation of the older members with the nuts and bolts of dog shows to the preclusion of educational topics.

The solution to this imbalance of course is to delegate as much as possible of the dog show preparations to the Board of Directors of the club and/or the Show Committee. This in turn frees much of the time of the general meetings for educational programs. This of course brings us to the position of Program Chairman. The selection of this individual in my opinion is at least as important as the designation of a Show Chairman. He or she can be a powerful factor in recruiting and retaining the new members all clubs need to survive.

It is indeed difficult to come up with an interesting program month after month and the job is a challenging one. In the interests of helping that individual in your club perhaps some of the following ideas will be of value.

First and foremost as a guest speaker is our old friend the veterinarian. In these days of increased specialization in the field of veterinary medicine, it is not difficult to find vets who are versed in specialties such as orthopedics, reproduction, and the like. At least one program a year could be scheduled.

The subject of dog judging can provide enough material for two successive meetings. The first meeting could be a general discussion of the breed standard moderated by one of the senior breeder members of the club, using live dogs for demonstration purposes. This could be followed by a presentation the next month given by an approved judge of the breed, who was also approved for all the members of the Group to which your breed belongs. This individual could be asked to provide the members with an exposition of his procedure and evaluation in the ring.

Another subject of general interest is dog gait or movement. The AKC has one or two very good video tapes on this subject which can be borrowed. The video can be shown at the meeting and will provide a generalized appreciation of dog movement. This should be followed by a discussion of the gait of your particular breed moderated by a handler of the breed or by a skilled amateur.

A nice change of pace for a meeting is a presentation on dog obedience training, preferably given by a member of your club who has actually trained one of the breed in obedience. A side benefit would be a discussion of how to train a dog that is to be shown both in conformation and obedience.

Of general interest is a forum on Dog Show Rules and Regulations. This is especially useful for the newcomer who has no idea on how our sport is organized and monitored. Another subject to be discussed at this same meeting could be registration.

If your club is concerned with a coated breed a meeting devoted to grooming might be in order. This takes a bit of doing inasmuch as a hands-on demonstration with brushes, combs, and clippers can generate a clean-up problem. If possible this session should be physically split into two or three grooming stations so that everyone has an opportunity to view the process easily.

Field trips can be very productive and interesting sessions. It is often possible for example to visit a community college that has a veterinary technician curriculum. Similarly a visit to an obedience training class or a session devoted to agility training can broaden your members’ horizons.

Finally, be careful not to overdo the use of videos or films. If such are shown there should be a discussion period following the video moderated by a knowledgeable club member. There is no substitute for give and take between live human beings.

I hope some of the ideas discussed above will assist your club in its education program. Don’t overlook what I would call targets of opportunity. For example, you might be fortunate enough to have in your area a geneticist who would be willing to initiate you into the elements of that science and perhaps explain how that mysterious thing called DNA functions.

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(The following excerpts are from the article titled above that first appeared in the July 1, 1935 issue of the American Kennel Club Gazette. In the interest of space we present only those excerpts that pertain to the show itself and not the individual dogs. They are reprinted with permission. FYI Best in Show 1935 was the American-bred Irish Setter, Ch. Milson O’Boy, owned by Mrs. Cheever Porter.)

All roads lead to Madison! All thoughts turn to Morris and Essex! It is the dog’s day, and throughout the New Jersey countryside one finds a singleness of purpose that is unique to special occasions. In England there is “Derby day”; and in Ireland there is “horse show day”; but nowhere can one find a closer bond than exists between the dog and the crowd which flows steadily – from early morning until mid-afternoon – to the great polo field at Giralda Farms.

The pure-bred dog, washed and combed, trimmed and chalked, shining in the glorious heritage of 86 different breeds, is a powerful magnet on this day of days. His appeal has penetrated to 30 States of the Union, and several foreign countries. His plea has gone forth to all corners of the nation; and the response has been amazing. All types of humanity have answered the call.

A. Maclore Halley (l), M & E Secretary, worked for Mrs. Dodge buying art bronzes and dogs abroad. He showed many of her dogs coast to coast. George Foley of the Foley Dog Show Organization, superintendent of Morris and Essex. Both are pictured in 1935.

There is no possible standard of comparison among the thousands who flow toward Madison’ but they all have one dominating characteristic that makes them brother and sister – they love dogs. Some have come to our shores in great ocean liners; others have gathered from great distances on this continent, progressing here by railroad and plane, although the motorcar seems to be the most popular form of travel.

Those who travel by automobile find that for many miles the trees are posted with gaily colored arrow signs that point the way to the ‘dog show.” But no one needs follow the arrows. There is a steady stream headed for Giralda. And as one draws near, traffic cops are at every important intersection to keep the lines moving. More than 9,000 cars are to be parked on the estate of Mr. And Mrs. M. Hartley Dodge’ a record in itself.

Records! There are so many records being established by this ninth annual Morris and Essex Kennel Club show that any single mark seems rather lost. Dominating all figures is that dazzling total of 3,175 dogs entered 4,007 times. It is the largest number of dogs ever catalogued for a one-day show anywhere in the world; and it constitutes America’s largest show in the sixty years that dog exhibits have been held in this country.

It is no wonder that it requires the services of some 160 employees to assist the judges and stewards and the committee members who contributed toward maintaining that famous clock-work time schedule. The show begins at 10 A.M. and moves steadily forward through the breed classes until 4 P.M.

There are 47 rings set up in the great square made by the 14 huge tents and the many small gay-colored sheds. All rings start at the same time, and no judge – despite the size of the entry – has more dogs than he can handle within the time limit. At 4 P.M. some of the smaller rings are thrown together, and the first of the variety groups holds the center of the stage. The six groups, and the final for best in show are finished by 6 P.M., and Morris and Essex may claim another crown for its speed and efficiency.

View of the crowds around the Best in Show ring at the 1935 show.

All the amazing details of Morris and Essex do not become apparent until one has moved back and forth through its tremendous length and breadth for several hours. It represents the ideal of an outdoor show that Mrs. Dodge has had in her mind for many years. Beginning in a small way in 1927 when classes were provided for 18 breeds, and the show benched 595 dogs, it has grown year by year. New features have made their appearance at each successive show, until one wonders if anything more could be done to make it a finer exhibit for dogs, exhibitors, and spectators.

There is strong competition, this year, in all breeds. In fact, it has been the policy from the beginning to see that there was competition. Prizes are generous at Morris and Essex – some 220 sterling silver trophies, in addition to cash prizes, being offered this year – but no honors may be won in empty manner.

The weather man is smiling on the big show, this year, for the first time in its history. It is neither too hot nor too cold; neither too dry nor too wet. In fact, with sun overhead and a cool breeze sweeping in through the bordering trees, it is just about perfect. And as the day goes on, the crowd gets larger and larger. But there is no confusion, for the aisles are extra large, and interest is very much divided among the four dozen rings and the benches in those encircling tents. Neither do the exhibitors find any confusion. The benchings have been arranged so carefully that the ring in which each breed is judged lies as near as possible to the tent in which that breed is benched.

Five of these breeds have passed the century mark in number of dogs. All breeds are led by the smashing total of 207, brought here by the dachshund people. This makes the second time in the United States that the gay little teckel has headed a great show, for three months ago the breed also held first place at Westminster. Cocker spaniels are next in line with 177, followed by German shepherds at 145, Irish setters at 120, Boston terriers at 117, and wire fox terriers at 102. Many other breeds have climbed high up the ladder in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, but those first six are the leaders.

There could be a separate story written about each breed, for many are regarding this event as the yearly specialty show; there could be something of interest said about each of the judges, for no man or woman has been selected as an authority without many years’ experience in the ring; but all these matters must give precedence to the dogs that go to the top ranks. That means the variety classes, and best in show; for these are the awards that the logical elimination system of The American Kennel Club makes of paramount importance.

Many kennels have been pointing for this show for months. Some of the dogs have been held back from previous spring exhibits so that they might make a more sensational appearance at Morris and Essex. Hopes, of course, have been running high – especially among the less popular breeds, for a victory at a show of such dimensions means more than triumphs at half a dozen shows with smaller entries. That is one reason why there are more than 1,900 individual exhibitors.

Champions are so numerous among the 3,175 dogs that it seems almost a requirement of entry. And, today, there is a settlement of the comparative qualities of outstanding dogs – rather

than a heralding of new titleholders. Yet, certain startlingly good ones have made their appearance here today, and they are displacing some famous winners. And it is always so when one breeds to standard, and aims always for the perfect dog. In the final analysis, some 39 champions headed their respective breeds, leaving 34 top rungs for the dogs now on the way up to titular honors… .

One of the most interesting opinions expressed of Morris and Essex was that of Mrs. Phyllis Robson, editor of The Dog World (London), who was here especially to see the great exhibition. She talked at great length, but I will give you her salient comments. In cryptic form, they follow:

“Oh, a grand show…nothing like it anywhere! That super catalogue…so well indexed...particularly appealing to the journalist.... I wish we had something like it in England... . Those photographers’ towers caught my fancy…one set for the morning sun, and one for the afternoon… I climbed up on one, and took a picture of the whole grounds.

“ And what good sports you have in America…no grousing over the awards during the whole day…. Your system of choosing best in show is so much more spectacular than England’s…people are breathless waiting for the judge’s decisions… .”


The Best in Show lineup for the 1935 Morris and Essex show.

Time out for lunch at the 1935 Morris and Essex Kennel Club show.



Barbara Zuchelski

Barbara Zuchelski passed away May 11, 2000 after a long illness. She was a member of the Madison Heights MB-F office since 1971. Barbara served as a superintendent along with her late husband, Norman, who was also well known and is remembered by many. Barbara was instrumental in helping many clubs get their first shows off the ground and running smoothly. She was totally dedicated to the favorable outcome of every dog show not only when working in the field but also in directing the Madison Heights data entry department in the numerous details associated with the processing of entries. Barbara was a lifetime member of Livonia Kennel Club and Wolverine Dog Training Club. Outside of dog shows and the office, Barbara enjoyed spending time with her family, including son, Mark, and daughters Debbie and Lisa. She was especially proud of her grandchildren and will be sadly missed by them. Barbara will be well remembered by the many people who knew her.

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wpe9.jpg (1939 bytes)    The Shaggy Dog Stories


A young couple got married and left on their honeymoon. When they got back, the bride immediately called her mother. Her mother asked, “How was the honeymoon?”

“Oh, mama,” she replied, “the honeymoon was wonderful! So romantic...”

Suddenly she burst out crying. “But, mama, as soon as we returned Sam started using the most horrible language...things I’d never heard before! I mean, all these awful four-letter words! You’ve got to come get me and take me home.... Please, mama!”

“Sarah, Sarah,” her mother said, “calm down! Tell me, what could be so awful? What four-letter words?”

“Please don’t make me tell you, mama,” wept the daughter, “I’m so embarrassed they’re just too awful! Come get me, please!”

“Darling, baby, you must tell me what has you so upset.... Tell your mother these horrible four-letter words!”

Still sobbing, the bride said, “Oh, mama...words like DUST, WASH, IRON, COOK...!” (submitted via the Internet) ARE YOU IN THE ‘GOOD BOOK’?

A guy just died and he’s at the pearly gates, waiting to be admitted, while St. Peter is leafin’ through this Big Book to see if the guy is worthy.

St. Peter goes through the Book several times, furrows his brow and says to the guy, “You know, I can’t see that you ever did anything really bad in your life, but you never did anything really good either. If you can point to even one REALLY GOOD DEED— you’re in.”

The guy thinks for a moment and says, “Yeah, there was this one time when I was driving down the highway and saw a giant group of thugs assaulting this poor girl. I slowed down my car to see what was going on and sure enough, there they were about 50 of ‘em harassing this terrified young woman.

“Infuriated, I got out of my car, grabbed a tire iron out of my trunk, and walked up to the leader of the gang, a huge guy with a studded leather jacket and a chain running from his nose to his ear. As I walked up to the leader, the thugs formed a circle around me. So, I ripped the leader’s chain off his face and smashed him over the head with the tire iron. Laid him out. Then I turned and yelled at the rest of them, ‘Leave this poor innocent girl alone! You’re all a bunch of sick, deranged animals! Go home before I teach you all a lesson in pain!”

St. Peter, impressed, says, “Really? When did this happen?”

“Oh, about two minutes ago.”

(submitted via the Internet)


We were asked to dinner by a new friend. When we sat down at the table, we noticed that the dishes were dirty.

“Were these dishes washed?” I asked the hostess as I rubbed my fingers over the surface.

She replied, “They’re as clean as soap and water could get them”.

I felt a bit apprehensive, but started eating anyway. Dinner was delicious, despite the dirty dishes.

When dinner was over, the hostess took the dishes outside and yelled, “Here Soap! Here Water!”

(submitted via the Internet)


A computer was something on TV From a science fiction show of note A Window was something you hated to clean And ram was the cousin of a goat.

Meg was the name of my girlfriend And gig was a job for the nights Now they all mean different things And that really mega bytes.

An application was for employment A program was a TV show A cursor used profanity A keyboard was a piano.

Memory was something that you lost with age A CD was a bank account And if you had a 3-in. floppy You hoped nobody found out.

Compress was something you did to the garbage Not something you did to a file And if you unzipped anything in public You’d be in jail for a while.

Log on was adding wood to the fire Hard drive was a long trip on the road A mouse pad was where a mouse lived And a backup happened to your commode.

Cut you did with a pocket knife Paste you did with glue A web was a spider’s home And a virus was the flu.

I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper And the memory in my head I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash But when it happens they wish they were dead.

~Author unknown


I just realized that while children are dogs, loyal and affectionate, teenagers are cats. It’s so easy to be a dog owner. You feed it, train it, boss it around. It puts its head on your knee and gazes at you as if you were a Rembrandt painting.

Then around age 13, your adoring little puppy turns into a big old cat. When you tell it to come inside, it looks amazed, as if wondering who died and made you emperor. Instead of dogging your [foot]steps, it disappears. You won’t see it again until it gets hungry enough to turn its nose up at whatever you’re serving.

When you reach out to ruffle its head, in that old affectionate gesture, it twists away from you, then gives you a blank stare, as if trying to remember where it has seen you before. You, not realizing that the dog is now a cat, think something must be desperately wrong with it. It seems so antisocial, so distant, sort of depressed. It won’t go on family outings.

Since you’re the one who raised it, taught it to fetch and stay and sit on command, you assume that you did something wrong. Flooded with guilt and fear, you redouble your efforts. Only now you’re dealing with a cat and getting the opposite of the desired result.

Call it, and it runs away. The more you go toward it, wringing your hands, the more it moves away. Now you can learn to behave like a cat owner. Put a dish of food near the door, and let it come to you. But remember that a cat needs your help and your affection too. Sit still, and it will come, seeking that warm, comforting lap. Be there to open the door for it. One day your grown-up child will walk into the kitchen, give you a big kiss and say, “You’ve been on your feet all day. Let me get those dishes for you.” Then you’ll realize your cat is a dog again.

(Reprinted with permission from The Hamburger Square Post, May 2000 issue.)

Humor is a good thing.

If you have a favorite doggy laff
-- particularly a true story --
please send it in and share a good laff with fellow dog enthusiasts.

Send to:

MB-F, Inc.
c/o The Shaggy Dog
P.O. Box 22107
Greensboro, NC 27420

e-mail: mbf@infodog.com

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