Puny pooches not Hawaii's favorites
MY DOG Boomer was distressed to learn that the most popular dogs in Hawaii are the ones that wear bows in their hair and can be carried in a shave-ice cup.
The American Kennel Club apparently rates favorite dogs in individual states, and the results seem to confirm that when it comes to dogs, Hawaii's one of the more girly-man states.
Pomeranians, Malteses, Chihuahuas, poodles ... these tiny doglike objects supposedly are Hawaii's favorites.
The good news is that the slightly larger Labrador retriever is supposedly Hawaii's top dog, although I must confess to never actually having seen one on the island. They all must hang out in a Kahala spa or something. ("Buffy, be a good boy and retrieve me a piña colada, will you?")
In fact, you don't see many of the dogs listed as Hawaii's Top 10 favorites loping along the streets of Honolulu. What you see around the islands are dogs like Boomer, who are "poi dogs." ("Poi," I believe, means "real" when it comes to dogs.)
BOOMER'S a mix of different breeds, part border collie and part aardvark, I think. There's something else lurking in his genes I can't make out. A bit of a Tasmanian devil, I suspect. And some kind of breed that has bladder-control problems.
I tried to cheer him up by pointing out that this list of Hawaii's favorite dogs referred to "registered" dogs -- dogs with papers, and not the kind they poop on. These are the dogs you take for walks on the 14th-floor promenade garden deck of your condo building, then return them to the shelf in your apartment next to your cloisonné vase collection.
The truth is, Hawaii's favorite dogs are poi dogs, dogs that would never consent to wear a sweater or be carried in a purse.
COMEDIAN Bo Irvine and I once staged a "Real Poi Dog Contest" at the Hawaiian Humane Society where we attempted, through a series of tests, to find the realist real poi dog. These tests included telling various dogs to sit, shake, roll over and fetch a naked Barbie doll. Any dog that actually did sit, shake, roll over or fetch the Barbie was eliminated from competition because real poi dogs don't play dat. The winner was a dog that, when the Barbie was thrown across the park, simply looked at Bo as if to say, "I don't fetch Barbies. Even naked ones." This was the perfect poi dog. He looked like Jack Nicholson on a bad day.
The difference between a poi dog and one of these boutique creatures was made clear a few years ago when a rat took up residence in our house. When the rat briefly came out of hiding and scurried along a wall one day, Boomer, busy holding down the floor with his entire body, lifted his head, watched the rat flee behind a cabinet, then put his head back down and closed his eyes. He was not amused.
A FEW days later we were taking care of our neighbor's furry little designer dog, apparently some kind of animal created by Mattel, and this dog went crazy, running around the house trying to track down the rat. He yapped, scurried through rooms, pealing around corners in some kind of psychotic effort to find the rat. To what end, I don't know. Had he found it, the rat, several inches bigger than the dog, would have kicked his little coiffured butt. I couldn't make the dog stop running around, no matter which remote control I tried, so I simply sprayed him with Pledge, figuring at least he'd dust the floors for us.
Boomer, you see, being part border collie, would never be interested in a single rat. Had there been three or four rats, he might have tried to herd them, but probably not.
Content that poi dogs are not in danger of being usurped as Hawaii's favorite dogs, despite statistics from the American Kennel Club, Boomer once again gave in to gravity and became one with the linoleum.
Buy Charles Memminger's hillarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
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