I read an interesting article in today’s New York Times about a training program held in southern PA for hunting dog breeds (basset hounds, dachshunds, beagles, etc.) that have never hunted before. These dogs, your average house dogs whose most strenuous activity previously was jumping off the sofa to waddle to the dinner bowl, are paired with experienced, prize-winning hunting dogs. Set off on the trail of a rabbit, each paired team is cheered on by its owners. The usual result is that the pro dog is off like a shot after the rabbit (no rabbits were harmed according to the article), while the rookie remains behind like Ferdinand the Bull to smell the flowers.
This led me to wondering what field event pugs would qualify for. Since they are bred to be companion dogs, perhaps a lap-sitting trial? Experienced dogs, such as Pablo, would be paired with pugs who have never seen a lap. Out in the field, the dogs would be exposed to a sea of laps and cheered on as they curled up comfortably and began to snore.
The article reminded me of the only athletic event in which Pablo participated. It was a few years back at a Pug Meet in upstate NY. The organizers set up a race for all the pugs. At one end, an owner held his/her pug at the starting line. Three hundred or so feet away another owner crouched with a treat in hand. I had high hopes for Pablo, an athletic pug in his prime. An official counted down—three… two…one…. And they were off. Except they weren’t. The entire line of pugs behaved much like the twits in a Monty Python sketch. They stumbled off every which way, oblivious to their owners’ frantic calls. The only pug that eventually made it across the finish line was an elderly pug creeping along with a wheeled cart for its back legs.