Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Turned to solid stone

I must confess that our Pekingese is a good dog, 99% of his waking time. Dr. Eliot Porter or simply Porter to family (friends?) is a typical Peke. This photo isn't a perfect likeness but it comes close. This stone statue sits proudly in front of a Chinese restaurant on North Dale Mabry. It was a very busy parking lot at noon hour as I tried my darnedest to get one shot of this figure. It’s pretty big, probably 4-feet tall without its base, and very detailed. Called the Foo Dog or Fu Dog, it was created in ancient China using dogs like our Peke. They are the ancient sacred dogs of Asia who guard Buddhist temples. They were made to represent what the Chinese thought a lion looked like. Because at that time the Chinese had never seen an actual lion, they looked to the closest animal in the palace that they thought from descriptions must be close – the Pekingese, also called Lion Dogs, the fearsome canine creatures running through the palace and entertaining royals.

As I twice wrote about our dog Porter in the past (he complained once that he’d never been featured in the blog, HERE, and proudly (?) wearing his yellow rain slicker during a Florida downpour, HERE), they are independent little dogs, assertive and very stubborn. They have a strong sense of territory and will protect it against all threats (that includes adorable Halloween trick-or-treaters, mailmen, UPS deliverymen and neighbors looking for a glass of wine.) After their initial fury and bearing of ferocious teeth, they become itty-bitty babies who sleep away most of their day. But stubborn and bull-headed? Oh, yes.

It struck me as I pondered the ancient transition of these lovable imperial household pets into huge lion-like statues, that it is possible, even likely, that in some period in Chinese history that smart and brave Peke keepers would sternly warn the herd that if they grew too bullish, misbehaved or snippy (I wonder how to say that word in Chinese) that they would be turned into stone. That’s it. I’d had a Eureka moment. It became abundantly clear that my frustration at times trying to argue with our too-smart for his britches, pint-sized Peke - you know, an intelligent and all-too-human conversation with an imperial dog whose ancestors were all raised in palaces from Peking to London – might result in his transformation into a statue standing guard outside a Chinese eating establishment. Do you think that the next time he stops dead in his tracks and absolutely refuses to budge a centimeter, and gives a look of utter disdain, that I should pull out a photo of this stone Foo Dog? I could fire a stern, verbal warning shot over his head (which wouldn’t be hard to do at 10-inches off the pavement) he’d realize his mistake and stop pretending to be a 1,500 lb. water buffalo?? I’m considering my course of action. The next time he acts like a member of an imperial household, I may mush his face up to my computer screen and show him, SHOW HIM, this stone statue. Yep, that’ll change his ways.

As to rumors that he has taken to riding on a Golden Retriever with a custom leather and silk saddle, well, I ask you, where’s the proof?

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Hilda said...

Just the thumbnail in the portal made me smile already, then your commentary turned than into an ear-to-ear grin. Porter has to mind his manners now! :)

Beth Niquette said...

(Guffaw) (wiping tears of laughter from my cheeks) THAT was a WONDERFUL post! I enjoyed this SO much!

Our black Egyptian cat, I am sure, must feel the same way...

Jacob said...

Very funny. I think the Golden riding was just a rumor that some character got started for fun...but I'm not sure, of course.

This is one scary Peke!

Great post, Frank!

Don and Krise said...

Oh Frank, I sympathize totally! It's just like our French Bulldog Otis. You try to get him to move and he shoots a look that says "Whachu talkin' 'bout Willis?"

Excellent post!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful and lovely shot !! Great post !! Unseen Rajasthan

Lois said...

Hilarious post Frank! I think your dog might be too set in his ways to change now, but you could try this approach. That statue sure would scare me into submission if I was a dog!

Linda said...

Sounds as if nothing would faze your independent-minded dog. I don't fancy your chances persuading him with this statue.