Noble dog saves a cat that went for a spin

January 29, 1998|By KEVIN COWHERD

AS ANY RATIONAL person knows, dogs make far superior pets to cats, a fact that has been championed tirelessly in this space for many years.

Then the other day, while reading the newspaper over breakfast, I came across a pet story so inspiring it made my little eyes glisten, to the point where I had to put down my English muffin and compose myself.

The story was about a dog named Hudson, who now takes his place alongside such heavyweight canine heroes as Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Pongo of "101 Dalmatians" fame.

Hudson, it seems, was enjoying another no-stress day around the house in London when he suddenly spotted Zoe, the family cat, spinning around inside a burning-hot tumble dryer.

There was no mention in the article of how, exactly, Zoe managed to get herself spinning inside the dryer.

But it's a typical cat stunt, if you think about it.

Let's face it, you never hear about a dog hiding away in the landing gear of a Boeing 767 bound for Tokyo and enduring a freezing-cold, 18-hour ride at 40,000 feet.

You never hear about a dog wandering into the cargo hold of a Trailways bus bound for Sacramento, and riding for four stifling days squeezed between two pieces of Samsonite luggage.

But cats do that stuff all the time.

I could lay a lot of psycho-babble on you that a veterinarian laid on me one night at a cocktail party to explain why cats do this stuff.

But basically, it's a desperate plea for attention. Plus, they enjoy annoying their owners.

Anyway, as soon as Hudson saw Zoe spinning around in the dryer, his noble dog instincts took over.

Forgotten were centuries of internecine rivalry with cats, the whole I'm-better-than-you trip that cats lay on dogs constantly, the dogma (sorry) that states every dog automatically rejoices at any and all misfortune directed toward cats.

Instead, Hudson began barking furiously, trying, in his own valiant way to ... sorry, I'm starting to mist up again.

What Hudson was trying to signal, obviously, was: "OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! ZOE'S IN THE DRYER! ZOE'S IN THE DRYER!"

Hearing this racket, the owner of the two pets came to investigate and thought Hudson wanted to go outside.

Which Hudson certainly could have done as soon as the door was opened.

He could have thought: "Whoa, this is mondo pressure! That cat's gonna fry! I'm outta here!"

But Hudson never lost his cool.

He just kept staring at the dryer and barking, desperately trying to signal: "I DON'T WANNA GO OUT! I DON'T WANNA GO OUT! LOOK IN THE DRYER! LOOK IN THE DRYER!"

Finally, the owner went over and checked out the dryer.

And there, of course, was poor Zoe -- looking something like a charcoal briquette, but very much alive.

In any event, it was a wonderful story, illustrating once again a dog's basic intelligence, selflessness and generosity of spirit.

What might be instructive is to imagine what would have happened if the roles were reversed in that incident.

Let's say it was Zoe the cat who spotted Hudson the dog spinning like a top in the dryer.

What do you suppose Zoe's reaction would be?

Here's my guess -- and I'd lay 10 bucks on this in a heartbeat: The cat would yawn.

Then, after watching the poor mutt tumble around for a few minutes, bug-eyed and whacking his head against the dryer walls, the cat would grin and think: "Hey-y-y! This is pretty cool!"

At this point, she might even ring up a few of her cat buddies ("You gotta see this!") to come over and watch ol' Hudson tumble.

Hell, if they could get their little paws around the dryer's controls, the cats would throw the dog on permanent press, damp-dry, de-wrinkle -- see how he did through every possible cycle.

One thing's for sure: By the time the whole, sorry business played itself out, Hudson the dog would be toast.

And when they finally dragged his smoldering carcass out of the dryer, you can bet Zoe the cat would be staring blankly at the whole scene, as if to say: "Gee, what's wrong with Hudson?"

Now, the cat lobby will say -- I can visualize the response already -- that this is an unfairly harsh indictment of cats, with no balance, no informed opinion, based on a single anecdotal incident, blah, blah, blah. ...

But these are the same people who insist on introducing you to their cat ("Here, Snowball, I want you to meet someone!") during any social occasion at their house.

Then, when the cat just stares at you balefully, turns on its tail and walks away, these people will say (with a straight face!): "I really think she likes you."

There's a certain credibility gap there, it seems to me.

Pub Date: 1/29/98

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