His official American Kennel Club registered name is Cordell’s Maximus of County Line. Nicole calls him Max. I call him Shithead. But then, ever since I saw Steve Martin’s The Jerk, I call all dogs Shithead. Needless to say, Nicole is not amused. Max couldn’t care less. He’s a dog – a Rhodesian Ridgeback, to be precise – and dogs aren’t terribly enthusiastic when it comes to conversation with humans.
Most Americans who watch the Westminster dog show are often puzzled at the seemingly stupid names proffered on these portentous pooches. There is a reason: the owner of a pure-bred canine who wishes to eventually enter the dog into competition must register the critter with the AKC and they demand that a unique and unusual name be given. This necessarily excludes the likes of Fred, Porker, Old Drum and, yes, Shithead. In this case, the full registered name reflects the breeder (Cordell), the formal name of the dog (Maximus) and the kennel that owned the sire (County Line).
Nicole believes that Max is a nearly perfect specimen of the Rhodesian Ridgeback breed. I concur, but I also believe that Max will eventually eat us out of house and home and I still insist that he should be allowed to tree at least one of the stray cats we encounter when we walk him at a local park. Nicole is not amused.
Max, quite literally, is a test-tube puppy: he was conceived using frozen sperm from a champion male that died long ago. I call him Franken-Pooch and I’m pretty sure he’s the canine equivalent of those hyper-intelligent sharks in the motion picture Deep Blue Sea – which I’m also pretty sure he must have watched when nobody was home.
Here’s the scary part: that day, we took the dogs to a nearby park for a long walk. During the trip, Max figured out how to lower the rear window by pressing the button. I had to engage the child window lock. Nicole thought it was very funny. Gene was not amused.
What’s next? Will Max pass along a viral pathogen that wipes out the human race? Will he become scion of a breed that eventually dominates all other life forms? Will astronauts who were lost in space return to earth thousands of years from now only to discover The Planet of the Ridgebacks? OMG…Zombie Charlton Heston will reprise his role as George Taylor and utter those immortal words: “Take your paws off me, you damned dirty Ridgeback!“
Don’t ask Max. He only wants to get fed and then tree a cat. Nicole, as usual, is not amused.