Bubbling Pinkwater (The Afterlife Diet, 1995, etc.), NPR humorist and children’s author, tail-wags over the dogs in his life and draws their pictures.
Pinkwater is not Jack London, his white fang baring the call of the wild, although Pinkwater’s father believes that Daniel’s Uncle Boris was talked into trekking from Warsaw across Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, and China to catch a boat to Alyeska and the Yukon, by none other than London himself, a Pole who lived over his father’s tailor shop with an angry wife and three children. In the Yukon, Uncle Boris went prospecting with a team of Malamutes, whose leader, Jake, spoke perfect Polish: “Ir zeit zaier gut-hartsik” (“You are very kind”). When Pinkwater’s father emigrated from Warzawa to Manhattan in 1920 (and hence to Memphis), where he rose from the depths to the lower depths as a ragpicker, Uncle Boris, who sold a black chow-chow to Freud and had a photo to prove it, moved into the Memphis apartment and gave the house the gift of a Pekingnese called Bobby, who saved Danny from being eaten. “During that vulnerable period in which I was not dissimilar to a meat loaf, he lurked under my crib, growled, and challenged anyone who came near me. . . . ” Skip many years and Daniel’s married to Jill in Hoboken and buying Juno, a Malamute puppy. “Dogs are yuppies. They have the corporate mentality. They will climb up your body to get to the top. This is all dogs.” As Juno grows, he pushes Jill out of bed at night and Daniel awakes to a grotesquely grinning face, gazing lovingly on him. Later, his Inuit Lulu’s litters become holy terrors, with the prettiest and brightest puppy ready to eat his mother’s liver. But Maxine, the house Labrador, an insanely maternal control freak, straightens out the disobedient pup and gives her what moral qualities she may have.
Absolutely wonderful. Read it to your dog.