Wolfgang Von Blitzkrieg, “Blitz,” my miniature German Schnauzer, is smarter and better company than most people. He only has one bad habit. When pointed east he wants to invade Poland, but that is just a quirk of the breed.
Matching leather lounge chairs grace the TV room. His has a blanket. After dinner he relaxes and watches with one eye as I sip a Glenlivet, noticing when I pick up the remote.
“Hey look, the Westminster Dog Show is on?”
“OK, dog show it is. We’re just in time for the Best of Show.”
When they introduced the dogs, the first in the ring was the German Shepherd. Everyone likes a dog in uniform with a badge and he was the police dog of all police dogs. Wow!
The second dog was the slickest Doberman in the history of slick. Her name was Fifi. With tiny fawn marks on her chest and paws this coal-black bitch’s fur shined like satin. I looked at Blitz. He was standing in the chair, panting.
The third dog was an Irish Setter; its long red hair reminded me of the most beautiful woman I had ever met, the unrequited love of my life. We had walked on the cliffs in Ireland, her scented hair stirred with the breeze, her eyes shone in the sunlight; she is still the most gorgeous creature I have ever seen.
Dog four was a Dalmatian. I’ve never understood the breed and always thought they were stupid, but this one was perfectly marked.
Number five was a Kerry Blue Terrier. Terriers are always in competition with each other. Blitz is a terrier. He growled at the TV.
Six was a wire-haired Dachshund. Another great little German dog bred to dig rats out of holes.
Number seven was a Pekingese. The less said about that fuzz mop the better. Blitz, nose down in the corner of the chair, his rear end pointed at the TV, spoke volumes.
The lady judge walked over to the German Shepherd police dog and looked in his eyes. The dog arrested her on a 412, handcuffed her and then in that magnificent lope that only a German Shepherd can master circled the ring. The crowd went crazy.
The Doberman stood quietly at perfect attention, head up, ears up, tail up, filled her lungs, expanded her chest to the maximum and didn’t exhale until the judge was finished. Fifi pranced around the ring and owned the crowd. Blitz, glassy-eyed, was in love.
The shimmering long red coat of the Irish did the same to me. At one point the dog paused and looked into the camera lens. I melted. The audience went nuts clapping and cheering.
The Dalmatian was great but like I said, I don’t understand the breed. Blitz looked bored and scratched his ear.
When the judge ran her hands over the Kerry Blue looking for imperfections, Blitz eyed the TV and sneered.
My Schnauzer and the Dachshund seemed to be buddies. They are both bred in Germany to kill rats and vermin. There was something unsaid between them, a secret nationalistic paw-shake, perhaps. I noticed a common bond as the little Nazi goose-stepped around the ring.
If ever there was an animal I don’t understand it is the Pekingese. When the judge motioned for it to go around the ring it crawled. Do they even have legs? They are just a mass of matted fur, a smashed road kill of uselessness. Halfway back to its box it died and was dragged the rest of the way by the handler. No one noticed. There was no difference.
At the commercial break my mind wondered what kind of machine in which each of them would ride. The Dalmatian was easy: a fire truck. The German Shepherd would have a Harley police bike with a sidecar. The Kerry Blue would ride in the back of a Land Rover. The Pekingese would not be in a vehicle but under it as a grease spot. The Doberman needed no machine; it would just stand and pose. My Irish would ride next to me in a vintage 120 Jaguar sports car, hair flying, with disdain for anyone who was not us. Thinking of the Jaguar and the Irish, I never came up with a ride for the Dachshund.
One last time around the ring, the German Shepherd loped as a thoroughbred trotting horse arresting everyone in the first three rows. The crowd went nuts. The Doberman bitch flowed like water, never touching the floor, totally magic; the crowd continued nuts. I looked at Blitz. He was wondering what half-Schnauzer half-Doberman puppies would be worth. When the Irish Setter moved, transported back to Ireland, I didn’t hear the crowd; there were just thoughts of red hair, blue eyes, perfect skin and satin sheets. The Dalmatian, Kerry Blue and Dachshund were also great and any one of them might be a winner. The Pekingese who died earlier was dragged around the ring on a rope by the handler and still no one noticed its demise.
All the dogs stood at attention as the judge took one last look. She walked the line, stopping at each dog. As she did the audience cheered wildly for their favorites. I had my pick and Blitz had his. We looked at each other as though to place a small side bet. He gave me a little “woof” and I nodded.
“And the winner is… (long pause)… the Pekingese!”
“What? That dog died 10 minutes ago. Are you kidding me?” The Kerry Blue and the Dalmatian attacked each other in a horrible bloody fight. The German Shepherd joined in, invoking police brutality. The Dachshund ran into the stands chasing a woman wearing a fur coat. The Doberman turned on her handler and ripped out his throat, while the Irish Setter calmly walked over to the judge depositing a dissenting opinion on the back of her dress. Amazingly, no one noticed that the Pekingese was still dead even after being lifted into the victory loving cup for photographs, his head lolling over the edge.
Blitz was in shock; he needed a pat. On my way to the kitchen for another Glenlivet I stopped long enough to scratch his ears and console him as best I could. The fantasy of half-Schnauzer, half-Doberman puppies was now just a distant notion. It was a busted dream we would all have to learn to live with.