My guest blog post on Writer Crafts and Cuisine is up on Lois Winston’s site. I had a lot of fun with this tongue-in-cheek post. Not only will one commenter win a hardback copy of Chihuahua of the Baskervilles, but I’ll throw in one of the mice and a coaster. Remember, you have to comment there, not here. Have fun!
This new book “uncovers the stories of some of the most extraordinary dogs in history,” including the true tale of how the Nazis tried to create an army of dogs trained to speak, read and write. (The Nazis claimed one of the dogs told them he wanted to serve in the German army because he disliked the French.)
[NOTE: Clicking on the pictures in this post will take you to their source articles. Have fun!]
Welcome to the world of permanently preserved pets. First of all, I have a confession to make. When our beloved rabbit, Glory Roberta, died, I took her to a taxidermist and had him remove the pelt and cure it for me. Her fur was beautiful, and I wanted something to remember her by. Once the grief wore off, I stuck it in a drawer and mostly forgot about it, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Now I wonder how much more it would have cost to go the whole way and have her mounted in a lifelike pose — rolling in her litterbox, perhaps, or chewing a baseboard.
Taxidermists are interesting people. They love animals, and they love a challenge. When a heavily tattooed and heartbroken guy brought in his dead Chi puppy, this taxidermist embraced the difficulties of mounting a seven-inch long animal, and the results are both poignant and adorable.
Preserving pets has a long history, possibly starting with the Egyptians, and certainly achieving heights of weirdness with those wacky Victorians, who made entire tableaus of dressed-up cats, dogs, mice and monkeys. Their motto seemed to be, if it moves, make a pet of it. When it stops moving, turn it into decoration.
And of course, some people preserve pets somewhat less sensitively than others.
If this is a subject that interests you, you’re in luck. Animal Planet has an upcoming reality show which is described thusly.
The show, set in Romance, Ark., follows taxidermist Daniel Ross as he runs family business X-treme Taxidermy with his wife LaDawn and three sons. Together, the family and employees specialize in reassembling family pets, including a chihuahua, a goat and a poodle.
Because of the location, the working title is, “Romance is Dead.” <cue reluctantly admiring groan>
I was just saying to my parents that I haven’t heard a good joke in a while. Here is one of my best ones. Gimme yours.
An explorer gets lost in Africa and is captured by hostile natives. He’s taken before the chief, who says, “You were caught trespassing on sacred burial grounds. We can kill you immediately, or you can attempt the trial of the three huts.”
“What’s the trial of the three huts?” the explorer asks.
“In the first hut is a giant boa constrictor. You must tie the snake into a knot so it can’t kill you. In the second hut is a huge lion with a toothache. You must pull the tooth and leave him purring like a kitten. And in the third hut is the mighty Gullenda, a warrior woman who has never been sexually satisfied. If you can sate her incredible sexual appetite after completing the tasks in the first two huts, we will deliver you back to your people, a free man.”
The explorer doesn’t hesitate. “I’ll take the trial of the three huts.”
“You’re a brave man,” says the chief. The tribe trots the explorer through the jungle to a clearing, where three huts stand, and they shove him into the first hut, which is festooned with giant empty snakeskins.
The natives wait outside and listen to groaning and shrieks from the man, and the occasional angry hissing. Finally everything is quiet. They go to the hut, expecting the explorer to be dead, but as they reach the door he staggers out, coated with sweat and grime. They look inside the hut and find the giant snake tied into a knot like a pretzel, completely helpless.
“You have survived the first trial!” They take a moment to cheer him, then push him into the second hut. The noise is much worse. The man’s agonized screams are interspersed with roaring and snarling from the lion, and the sides of the hut bulge as things crash against it from inside. Finally everything is still. They tiptoe toward the entrance, expecting to peek inside and find the lion eating the explorer, but as they reach the door he staggers out, his clothes in strips, claw marks all over him. They look inside the hut. The enormous lion is relaxing inside, purring like a kitten.
The tribe cheers like maniacs. “No one has survived the second trial!”
The explorer, looking a little disoriented, raises his shaking arms over his head in triumph. “All right! Now where’s that warrior woman with a toothache?”
$19 and free shipping is a screaming deal. You get your choice of three finishes, two typefaces, and your choice of words, inside and out. Mine will say, “Pull my finger” on the outside, and “Pfft…” on the inside, because I will do anything for a laugh. Well, not anything, but $19 is cheap for a good gag. Click the pic to go to his site.