Monday, August 13, 2007

Dogs Playing Poker

Flipping through the paper today, I saw the very familiar image of dogs playing poker. It's true that the novelty of this image wore off about 12 years ago for me and indeed I think most people are aware of this image now as the yardstick by which to measure how crappy some piece of art might be. (ie. that Ronald McDonald statue is the "Dogs Playing Poker" of sculpture).

However, as a first time dog owner I now have a fresh insight into this painting. And that is, I'm quite convinced that the artist of this painting did not even own a dog. Or if they did, their dog bore absolutely no resemblance to the canine who resides in my household.

My dog would be absolutely abysmal at poker. Not because she isn't smart. She's a very quick learner, she just couldn't contain an emotional reaction if her life depended on it. Her best attempt at keeping it together when she's excited closely resembles a tea kettle on the brink of explosion. She will sit when told although she's quaking with excitement from paw to paw and emitting a steady high pitched whine from the very core of her being.

Come to think of it, I think cats are far better suited for a round of poker. Just by looking at the cat, I can't tell if he feels like snuggling up beside me or peeing in my shoe. Is the cat gazing at me with all-consuming hatred? Or tender affection? I may never know.

The dog on the other hand is currently running laps around the living room (a celebration of the major canine breakthrough of actually catching her tail).When I come home at the end of the day, I don't even know where the cat is. But the dog is practically doing backflips. She couldn't be more excited if a 5-foot tall strip of Beef Jerky walked in the room.

There's no doubt in my mind, if that dog had a good hand in poker, you would know about it. Even with a pair of fours she'd be bouncing off the walls like a leprechan on crack.As the world's worst poker player, her explosive emotions would be surpassed only by her complete inability to strategically and responsibly ante the contents of her little doggy purse.

She's impulsive you see. She will drop anything she is doing for the tiniest piece of food. I'm certain that in the heat of the moment she would give up every comfort we have provided her in return for the burnt stub of an Oscar Meyer Weiner.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe that artist did have a dog. A dog capable of reining it in with a paw full of aces. But not my dog. My dog is currently prancing around the living room with a rope in her mouth because she beat Danny at a game of tug.

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