Yoghurt and Eukanuba

Kage Baker didn’t really like animals, generically. She liked some individuals, based on their personal virtues and flaws, but she just was not automatically charmed by fluff and four paws. She liked birds instead.

However, she preferred dogs to cats – partly because she was mildly allergic to cats. It’s difficult to be really fond of someone who makes you itch and sneeze … and, in fact, one of the few cats she did like was the elegant hairless Sphinx who lived at Borderlands Bookstore in San Francisco.  Cats are damned funny looking naked, but Sphinxes tend to have enormous dignity; Ridley always managed to suggest by her very posture that hair was vulgar.

Even in dogs, Kage preferred distance. The family kept a lot of Labradors over the years; it was the quiet ones that Kage liked, rather than the dancing clowns. Probably her favourite dog ever was a friend’s Great Dane – the Rettinhouse’s Harlequin Dane, Patches. Patches was a delicate, ladylike dog with the soul of a swan, and Kage was very fond of her. They would sit together and sort of amiably ignore one another, apparently taking comfort in one another’s reserved quiet.

I like all sorts of dogs and cats myself. My heart, like Kage’s has long belonged to parrots, though, so it’s been a long time since I lived with any on a regular basis. When Kage died, though, I discovered … dog shows. Come the evening, after the long aching days of working on boxing up the house, I’d collapse in front of the telly and just stare at whatever was there. One night it was the Eukanuba Dog Show. And I was immediately enchanted.

After that came the Westminster Dog Show, which was really a gorgeous event. So many kinds of dogs! All so beautiful! All apparently having so much fun! I was hooked, in which pastime I was encouraged by friends and family members. It appeared that nearly everyone I knew – except me – had been watching these for years!

So now they are on my forever list. This is Super Bowl weekend, of course, and the gentlemen of our household are not that into dog shows … but the wonders of recording come to everyone’s rescue. Kimberly and I can watch the Eukenuba Show without interfering with The Game, and everyone ends up happy.

My stomach is still feeling doubtful, so it’s very nice to sit amid cushions and purring cats on the couch, and eat yoghurt, and watch pretty dogs prance. Those dogs were the first new thing to get my attention when Kage was gone – I am grateful for their ever-so-characteristic canine rescue, too. They saved me from some of the awfulness, in their various ways, from enormous Venetian Mastiffs down to puffball Pomeranians.

And the Cardigan Corgi took second place in the Herding Dogs tonight! We cheered and cheered, and fed Milk Bones to Dylan the House Corgi – who didn’t know why but also doesn’t care, as long as there are treats and tummy rubs involved.

Kage would approve. She approved of dogs that did something, you know? And all these shining, grinning, furry heroes have made me feel better at the darkest point of the year three times running, now. So everybody is better off tonight.

I think I’ll have a chicken pot pie and see how the Toy Breeds turn out next. Family and dogs are cool.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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10 Responses to Yoghurt and Eukanuba

  1. Kelly says:

    Patches was a great dog. We miss her around here. She was “mistaken” for a cow at the Santa Barbara Fair one year during tear-down. If we had had the room, I would have loved to see her at Dickens, except I am sure all the skirts would have driven her crazy. That and she was such a dainty lady that the only thing that touched the ground were her feet. If she was told to sit, and we were outside, she would hover her back end just above the ground. If we went someplace outside, we would have to remember to bring her blanket or pillow so she could sit or lay down.

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    • Kate says:

      Kelly – Patches was the daintiest lady ever. I think that was what Kage liked about her. When the rest of us would be romping and roaring all over your house, Kage and Patches would be sitting at one side looking prissy … pretty funny, really.

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  2. Margaret says:

    I got to see the highlights part of the Eukanuba show, and was a bit sad for that gray Peke (I think that’s what it was – hard to tell) who’d been groomed so excessively, he looked like an animate dustbunny with eyes. He didn’t seem to have been left with much doggishness. I thought the Leonberger was very handsome indeed, though.

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    • Kate says:

      Yeah, that poor Peke did look like a dust bunny, and I think he was afraid to move – he surely couldn’t see his feet. I liked the little glimpse we got of the boohund and the lundehund, as well – most canine historians (or whatever you call them) think one or both of them were part of the base stock that was bred to produce Corgis. The lundehund in particular is a charmingly weird dog.

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      • Margaret says:

        Some of those dogs with lots of hair for the groomers to go wild with made me wonder what the real dog looks like at home, and whether groomers often hear the dog version of “This just isn’r ME!” perhaps expressed as GRRR! or Snap! Five hours to get that Standard Poodle ready for the show ring? Sheesh.
        Did the full-length version of the show let you see the medium and small sizes of the Xoloitzcuintli? The size Large that got to the finals ceratinly didn’t look much like that poor creature who was found in the woods last year, but I suppose a show dog wouldn’t.

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  3. Kate says:

    Margaret – I think that one Xoloitzcuintli was also the coated variety. The un-coated is a much, much weirder looking animal. A Xoloitzcuintli has won the Ugliest Dog in the World contest for the last couple of years, I believe. I am sure that – being dogs – they have many virtues, but being eye candy is not one of them!

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  4. Athene says:

    How did you miss Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl? You must watch it online! Although I am a big SuperBowl fan, I still ran to the tiny TV in the back of the house to watch the real game! And if you weren’t keen on the Madonna half-time show, you might like the PB show better.

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  5. Kate says:

    I forgot about the Puppy Bowl, and quite regretted it. On the other hand, I got some writing done. And actually – I liked the half-time show. It was just so incredibly campy.

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  6. Doug says:

    A friend of mine raises and shows Afgan Hounds. She even had one that showed at Westminster. I love dog shows and go to them whenever I can!

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  7. You know all about Christal and I and dog shows. I recommend you go to one some time, not just watch them on television. The programs, are of course directed at a non specialist audience and can be maddeningly short of the info you might want or are even incorrect. One thing you surely do not get is the ringside gossip. That can be very like the conversations overheard in the dowagers corners at Regency Balls.

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