Following a hot tip we called from a man standing outside of Mike's Club, we best our way down to Mechanics Hall Wednesday afternoon to investigate the possibility of Harvard hounds entered in the Eastern Dog Club annual fish-fry and sawdust exhibition.
We didn't exactly collide with any undergraduate dog breeder, but the visit turned up a gent whose mother raises retrievers, another (Class of '06) who appreciated fine pointers, and a yokel from New Hampshire who lived for boxers and vice versa.
The payoff came when the prize bull mastiff turned out to be the property of Pete Fuller, last year's wrestling captain. Unfortunately, Pete was called away to Lowell during the show to dispose of a pair of promising young Golden Glove heavyweights. The man he left in charge, however, informed the local press that Mr. Fuller usually called his dog Anne.
What with the hundreds of open stalls for big dogs and closed stalls for little ones, the show took up most of the Hall. We weren't quite sure why they boxed in the little hounds. Either they are uniformly vicious little dogs or their loving owners suspected that Boston dignitaries were not above shoplifting a champion Chihuahua to show the folks back home.
As a matter of fact, these dog fanciers are a pretty shifty breed, tall, gaunt folks with an option on half the unborn thoroughbred pups in North America. But the dogs themselves are a pleasant, patient lot who accept graciously some small attention and stand stoically as their masters brush, comb, chalk them, or hack away at their toenails.
The best feature of this show was an obedience section which featured skill trials and mental exercises instead of canine posturing. At one point the owners left their charges alone together in the ring, ostensibly to find out if dogs know how to mind their own business. The dogs sat silently while the crowd watched expectantly. We wondered what they were thinking about.