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Canine Cleanliness

May 22, 1946

Profitable past times for leisurely ladies department: In last night’s paper I found a whizzer of a report which Murdoch insists I shove into the column this morning just on the off chance that you might have missed it. I don’t see how you could have missed it, but then it’s barely possible that your local paper didn’t carry it. And it wouldn’t do at all to have to you muff an ear wacker like this. This is a beaut. And it’s not a gag. It’s done straight. The dogs of New York City are being organized into a special division of the outdoor cleanliness association, to be known as the Canine Club. Now this is on the level. And just to think you might not have gotten the word. You see, that’s your trouble. You probably squander your time reading front page stories like coal strikes and railroad tie-ups and the like. And here is potent stuff like this getting away from you. There’s more to the report. And I’m going to give it to you. I know you can hardly wait. But I just want to explain why this fits into the profitable pastime for leisurely ladies department. It’s because, as you might have suspected . . . or maybe you didn’t . . . there are a few well-meaning females at the bottom of this enterprise. The girls, no doubt having passed up a slice of bread at dinner and bought a poppy, feel that they have discharged their major social obligations and looked around for where they could do good and pounced on the poor helpless pups. They are going to have a cleanliness club for canines. Isn’t that dandy? Now get this: The item says . . . Minnie, a dachshund owned by Miss Lorraine Sherwood is president of the unit. Not Miss Sherwood . . . but Minnie, the dachshund is president you understand. Cute, hmm? Champion Mei Lung, a pug owned by Mrs. Frotheringham Wagstaff is vice president. It must have been a hard fought contest, but Minnie won out and the pug had to be content with the vice presidency. I point out that the names given in this report are not fictitious and any resemblance to real persons and dogs respectively is more than mere resemblance. They are real. In a sense. I mean the names are legitimate as given. Jou Jou de Muriclar, a toy poodle belonging to Mr. Arthur Frederic Schermerhorn is secretary treasurer. That sounds like a full time job for a dog. Secretary treasurer. It is not clear just what his or her duties are to be. I say his or her because I don’t know what Jou Jou comes to in its native tongue. Sounds a bit on the her-ish side from here. These dogs . . . Minnie, Mei Lung and Jou Jou, the account says, are all charter members. This no doubt gives them the privilege of sniffing in a higher key at fire plugs. The report in last night’s paper goes on to say that each dog in the C.C. of the O.C.A. will wear a collar patch insigne inscribed with the club’s name. The report actually said insignia but I think it meant insigne. And the membership drive is on.

Now when I first read this thing . . . and I happened on it only because it was on one of those inner pages which I am obliged to scan carefully for column material, I thought it might be one of those standard newspaper fillers. You know the sort of thing. When the make-up man finds himself with a left over half inch, he slugs in one of those hollow statistics which collect in pigeon holes in the city room. Things like . . . Last year in the province of Hemophilia 402,798 safety matches were used. You’ve seen them haven’t you? But this wasn’t a filler. It couldn’t have been. It was one column wide and four and a half inches long. And it had a conventional bold faced type heading: “Dogs Organized in Cleanliness Club.” Now the O.C. A part of it is commendable enough. The Outdoor Cleanliness Association. There is an effort afoot currently to make New York somewhat more respectable looking. A good thing. And much needed. .But organizing a canine contingent seems to me to be leaning far out the window. I guess, when it comes to outdoor cleanliness and dogs, anybody can see what they’re driving at. But they don’t have the nerve to come out and say it. They hint darkly that dogs will have to make their contribution to the spic-ness and span-ness of the great outdoors and then, to suffuse their blushes they elect them vice president and secretary treasurer. Now no one can accuse me of being anything but a lover of dogs . . . except for a few breeds that I find unfriendly or cantankerous. Some of my best dogs . . . have been dogs. But I wouldn’t give you a limp garter for a pup who would pass up a tempting looking mud puddle without at least a few tentative splashes. It’s a low trick to organize dogs into a cleanliness club. Next thing you know they’ll be putting ribbons on them. Not on my dogs they won’t. Now I know it is prescribed doctrine in radio and newspaper utterance to treat all dog items with tenderness and throaty sentimentality. I’ll just have to take my chances. All I can give this item is a throaty growl. If, in these times, women can fuss around with canine cleanliness clubs, all I can say is . . . I guess you know who finds you know what for idle brains.