Trial Balloon

Tall Tail

Posted at 6:00 AM on February 24, 2010 by Dale Connelly (32 Comments)

I found a crinkly crackly piece of paper stuffed under the office door this morning. It had obviously been very wet and might have been chewed on at one point. The following message was scrawled on it with what appeared to be a toenail dipped in Alpo.

I pity poor Giant George, the dog declared "tallest in the world - ever" by the Guinness Book of Records people.

tall dog.jpg

I am also a VTD (Very Tall Dog) and I have been measured 19 times for the title that Giant George now holds. I was never judged to be "tallest", although the people around me were certain that I was and were very upset when the experts indicated otherwise.
I confess that the very idea of a tall dog contest annoys me. I might have slouched a couple of times out of spite.

Personally, I don't care which dog bears this burden, as long as it's not me. Once you have the title what good is it? You are always looking over your strained, aching shoulder afraid that you'll see another hairy, sloppy face almost on a par with yours but just a little bit higher. And believe me, there is always another big dog on the way. Plus, once you're the champ, there are incrementally shorter canines in various places all over the world panting with excitement at the thought that you might die so they'll have a shot at the big prize. Who needs that kind of pressure? I just want to lie down. And I've noticed that at nap time when you put your face on the floor, we are all roughly the same height.

Speaking of The Floor, I am always disappointed to see how far away it is. The Floor is where my food bowl goes. The Floor is where my water is kept. When somebody drops a piece of chicken or a bagel or a potato chip or a pot roast, it winds up on The Floor and my mouth is always farthest from the action. My neck gets sore from all the bowing and dipping I have to do just to get my meals and stay hydrated.

And the comments! If I hear "Do You Ride Him?" one more time from some yokel who is seeing a VTD for what must be the first time, I will drop a fragrant surprise on his shoe. Yes, I'm a big dog. Get over it.

Speaking on behalf of canines, the Guinness records are all about things that don't matter much to us - Tallest, smallest, oldest, dog with longest ears, fastest dog for opening a non-electric car window (really!), most tennis balls held in mouth (actually kind of interesting), highest jump, etc.

If you asked actual dogs which canine feature or achievement mattered most TO US, it would have something to do with that area right underneath another dog's tail. I don't know that you can objectively measure excellence in that area. It's like judging ice dancing - a lot of it is a matter of opinion but when a good one comes along, boy do you know it! And believe me, we're always checking.

I note that there is no category for angriest letter written by a dog. Too bad!


One Tall Dog

Poor Gantry. I doubt his complaint will make any difference to the record keepers.

I once kept company with a siamese cat who might have won the Guinness title for "Scrawniest Living Feline", if only there had been such a category and we had thought to enter her in the competition.

Have you ever known a record setting animal?

Comments (32)

Well... I had a dog that SHOULD have been in the GWR.. as the dog with the most outrageous stories told about it. Princess was a German Shepherd/Collie mix and was a very good dog. But after she passed away, the stories that my dad told about how smart and great she was just got larger and larger. My dad once told company that she was so smart that when he told her to go upstairs and get his slippers, she did. Except that my dad never word slippers in his whole life! We started referring to her a Princess the Wonder Dog and still call her that to this day.

Posted by sherrilee | February 24, 2010 6:26 AM

Good Morning All,

I use to do research on a record holding group of animals. This is not the same as knowing a record breaking animal, so maybe it doesn't count. I will tell you about it any way.

The animals I studied were nematodes, also known as round worms Many of them are parasites, but the free living ones are mostly microscopic and are found every where. They hold the record as the most numberous multi-cellular animal on earth.

Posted by Jim | February 24, 2010 6:34 AM

as a young man i decided to get the dog i had always wanted as a child. i went to a number of humane societies and looked at quiet a few puppies but the vibes were not right. i wanted a big dog, german shepard sizeish and a personality that i could bond with for the years to come. when the dogs are puppies you can't judge what they are by the features they have today. you have to guess what they will become. i wanted a big dog so feet were the thing to clue in on. big feet big dog. sheperds, labs, goldens, great danes? i found my dog at the minneapolis humane society. one of a litter of 6 or 7. a lab basset mix. going to be a good size because of the feet. great personality. i forgot that bassets have big feet, so my big doy ended up about 45 pounds, looked like a lab but with shorter legs, bigger feet, longer ears, sadder eyes and a tail that stuck straight in the air. dylan was his name. he died and i creid like i have never cried about anyhting else in this world. still to this day.
when my wife said it was up to me to choose the dog for our family, i thought about all the possibilities. i love labs and goldens but have little patience for the 4 years it takes to get them to quit chewing shoes and such, so i got the basset. smart, good with children etc. i found out all the little quirks that drove me crazy about the lab basset were attributable to the basset by natural selection, she does have world class ears but that is the least of what you notice about her. she is in you face from before your feet hit the floor until she is certain there is no opportunity of gaining one more crumb of food from your dropppings. she is great with the kids and is smart but watch out what you wish for.
i have a wolf dog that is the most gentlemanly friend i have ever met and a little fur ball is th latest addition to the clan. a couple cats round it out along with the aquariums and the bird feeders. animals do get to you don't they.

i am betting there may be a goat story here when i get back from typing my manuscript this morning. off and running as is my wednesday routine. but i will check back later in the day. morning to you all. thanks for the birthday greetings yesterday. what a nice way to start a day.

Posted by tim | February 24, 2010 6:38 AM

Good Morning, Heartlanders!

Tim mentions wolves. I just (Monday) got notice of what is claimed to be the new world record wolf. Anyone interested can Google the words "Drayton Valley " "largest wolf" or "230 pounds." There is a photo which some think is Photoshopped and some do not.

The biggest confirmed wolf on record is an 175 pound male from Alaska. The new wolf on the internet is claimed to be 55 pounds bigger, which stretches credibility. But the photo is impressive.

Getting back to dogs, I knew a man who had a pack of dogs. He was conducting an experiment in genetics by feeding them their water from dishes high off the ground. His theory was that the high water dishes would cause the dogs to give birth to leggy dogs. I never heard the results of that experiment.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | February 24, 2010 7:01 AM

Happy belated Tim. Love your tribute to pets!
Sherrilee - Princess the Wonder Dog - I love that one too!
Jim- I never met a nematode I didn't like. (When you say they're found everywhere, does that mean there are some living under my fingernails I don't know about?)
Dale - could your cat have had body image issues?

Posted by Donna | February 24, 2010 7:09 AM

People out here often give recognition to horses-every year a horse honored by being admitted into the cowboy hall of fame in Medora (well, the name of the horse is entered, since those that are honored are long dead) as the best bucking bronc from past decades

Posted by Renee | February 24, 2010 7:24 AM

Morning, everyone! Busy, busy again!

Posted by elinor | February 24, 2010 7:26 AM

Donna, I don't think there are nematodes under your finger nails, but there could be if you have soil perminately stored there. Nematoes are found in soil and water and are parasites of almost every thing including all kinds of animals and plants. You might not be too fond of the human parasites, Donna.

Posted by Jim | February 24, 2010 7:36 AM

Pan the Cat may have had body image issues, and every cat does a certain amount of purging, but I think her problem was circulation.

Somehow, her little furry feet managed to always be colder than the environment she was in. I don't know how that's possible, but when she put those feet on me, I felt it. Cold all the time, that was Pan.

We would often find her sleeping in the tiny space between the wall and the blazing hot radiator. She was dishrag limp when we pulled her out and I half expected her to be dead. But she always opened her eyes, and if she could have talked, I'm sure she would have said "put me back"!

Posted by Dale Connelly | February 24, 2010 7:38 AM

My human tells me my tail could be record setting...for a basset hound, anyway. Extra long, lovely long fur at the end. But I'm with Gantry, all dogs are pretty much the same when you lie down. And even if I have short legs, I can still reach the kitchen counter when I need to (for baked goods and other treats I have to liberate for myself since the humans here think I should stick to canine crunchies).

Besides, when I'm playing with my pal Lexi (the dog next door), it really doesn't matter that she can leap over me with ease - it's just part of the fun. Except when she uses her very long legs to climb up on things that I just can't get to - then I have to scold her.

Happy Wednesday all - I highly recommend finding a warm spot this afternoon for a good nap. With a dog.

Posted by Barney (with help from Anna) | February 24, 2010 7:43 AM

well, Tim, surprise. i couldn't think of one goat story (yeah, right). but i do have to honor our dearly departed Julius. he would no doubt be the shyest, scardest, and most humble kitty in the world. he was born in our garage in Duluth almost 17 years ago. his littermates and he lived in our upstairs bathroom, under the sink inside of the cabinet until i could tame them and find them homes. except Julius never really tamed. he lived in a tiny upstairs bedroom after his siblings had left (i knew no one would be patient with his weird little ways so i kept him). one night i took a mattress into J's bedroom, where he lived between the mattresses of a trundle bed. i was determined that we would be friends. he paced the perimeter of the room all night, purring and pacing. he never once came up to me that night. it was another three months before he finally let me touch him and finally after almost a year, he came to sit on my lap. no one believed we even had a kitty named Julius because almost no one ever saw him. Bubba, the kitty we got from animal allies to keep him company, is still with us. Julius was orange and silky. he was named Julius La Rosa (the singer) and Orange Julius (the beverage). we gave him a Viking funeral last month, one cold night, standing at the fire pit talking about how weird and funny he was and we drank a bottle of wine.
i'm enjoying the stories today - thanks All

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 24, 2010 8:08 AM

Dale--maybe too busy to dig for this, but PPM have a funny song about old and new versions of "Old Blue" on their "In Concert" album.

Good stuff people--thanks.

Posted by Clyde | February 24, 2010 8:35 AM

Sorry Clyde,

We don't have P,P & M "In Concert". I looked.
How are the old and new "Old Blues" different?

Posted by Dale Connelly | February 24, 2010 8:56 AM

OK, I don't have award winning animals either but it's a quiet group this morning so thought I would contribute...

Love Dogs! I'm a dog person. Cat's are OK...

Back when I was milking cows I had some favorites... Course there were some... 'difficult' ones too that earned rather crude nicknames but we're not talking about them.
Had a Jersey cow once that did this thing with her tongue... sort of stuck out the side and wiggled it around...not sure what she was doing. It's still their personalities I miss... not the chores, just them.

We currently have three dogs. The old 'Matron'. The younger 'crazy dog' and then the stray that the sheriff deputy gave to me. Maggie, Zoe and Allie.
I'm a townboard member (country equivalent of city council... sort of...) so we're responsible for stray dogs.
Usually the strays I get are big dogs with a potential to the wild side. So when the deputy called and my wife heard me say "I'll pick it up" she was really scowling at me.
Turned out to be a wonderful little Rat Terrier; just like my wife had when she was a little girl. Fell in love with this dog. I said "OK, but we're not keeping her, she's not coming in the house and she's not sleeping in my bed!". Right.
Check, check and check.... but she is a very nice dog... my first indoor dog-- (Hey wait, "And the award for Ben's First Indoor Dog Goes too...")
We only hope she knows how luck she is...

Posted by Ben | February 24, 2010 8:57 AM

Ben--thanks, reminds me of milking as a child. Used to put out a pan of milk for cat and dog. Dog would lap some up and then watch the cat lap for about 3 -4 minutes and then dog would decide the cat had enough and finish it. So, Ben, if we talkative ones talked less you will talk more? Unfair, talk as much as us.
Dale--Old Blue. They sing a verse or so of the classic old folk song about a dog named Old Blue. Then they say they it has been altered by "cursed unscrupulous modifilers." Then they sing it as a rock and roll song.
Good dog songs Dale.

Posted by Clyde | February 24, 2010 9:04 AM

If folks don't mind, I'll add a touching dog story that I heard yesterday. My daughter had her first child 13 days ago. Her black Lab, Chloe, has been distressed ever since because Molly is tired and weepy and the baby is howling with hunger.

The baby began to whoop the other day. Chloe ran to the kitchen, inhaled her breakfast, then came back to the bed where the baby was and threw everything back up. An accident? I don't think so.

Yesterday my son-in-law threw Chloe her favorite thing, a leather chewie. She goes nuts for those, tearing them up and swallowing them in seconds. But Chloe kept returning the chewie to John, over and over.

Chloe doesn't speak English, but the cry of a hungry child is written in such an ancient code that dogs speak it naturally. Chloe, in the only language available to her, is saying, "Here, kid. Have mine."

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | February 24, 2010 9:07 AM

Steve--congrats. First grandchild? Child is collicky?
I am going to read Chloe's behavior differently. She is saying I demand all of the attention I used to have.
Follow-up on an old thread of mine. Some may remember that my son and fiancee adopted a street dog in San Diego, an iffy but kind thing to do. Ha some issues at first (bathroom behavior and relationship to other dogs), but going very well. He is very attached to them.

Posted by Clyde | February 24, 2010 9:18 AM

good story, Steve. and nice milking story, Ben
again, good reading this morning

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | February 24, 2010 9:18 AM

Dear Gantry: Did you know that there is an inverse-square-law regarding tall dogs and years of survival for said dog? That is : the bigger the dog, the shorter their life span. Maybe you could write a letter to Giant George informing him that he may be taller than you, but that you will probably live longer, and there is no better revenge than outliving your (supposed) competition, and having your (status seeking) owners pay for it!

Muttley - a very small and elderly poodle-
with help from financially strapped Teri

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | February 24, 2010 9:20 AM

Clyde: you are entitled to your version, but Chloe swears to me she was trying to share. Thanks for the congrats.

Yes, first grandchild.

Not colicky . . . just can't satisfy his appetite by nursing, so they are experimenting with feeding protocols. All of this is more complicated than a man might expect.

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | February 24, 2010 9:37 AM

Child's name?
My daughter went through that with first child but it all worked out, While she was working it out they had to lock their two cats out of the room she and the baby were in because they would not crawl onto her, which otherwise they did or now do only rarely.

Posted by clyde | February 24, 2010 9:43 AM

Steve - Congratulations to all of you on the new baby! I am going to take a risk here - please don't take this post amiss - I mention this only because we have a daughter who has experienced post-partum depression. If Molly's fatigue and weepiness continue, please refer her to her physician for assistance. Post partum depression can be dibilitating. There is a lot of good help available.

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | February 24, 2010 9:53 AM

Teri: I don't take your sweet comments as negative about Molly. She is in good hands with a competent, empathic staff at her hospital. She isn't depressed so much as stressed by her schedule and the weight of responsibility for a baby.

He is Liam. The bloodlines of both families are mutts with more Irish than anything else.

Thanks all for the good wishes. I never got congratulated so often for something I had nothing to do with!

Posted by Steve in Saint Paul | February 24, 2010 10:00 AM

If you are lucky, Steve, you are going to have a great deal to do with all that follows. Most people's congrats I think are for that fact. When I bike ride I watch out my window. During afternoon ride a school bus drops off some small kids, who are always met by adults because it is a downtown busy corner. Monday I saw a different older man waiting and I thought I hope he belongs there. A little girl got off and saw him and raced to him and jumped up into her arms. Clearly Grandpa. That's the kind of moment for which we congratulate you.
My daughter needed medical (drug) help with the nursing which was quickly fixed and never an issue again with the first or second child.

Posted by Grandpa Clyde | February 24, 2010 10:13 AM

None of my animals share anything with me. My three cats try to scoop the ice cream from my bowl before I am finished with it, sometimes circling me like sharks while I eat. My very adorable but naughty Welsh Terier steals things from me for the fun of it (a bored terrier is a terrible thing). I wake in the night with all four of them plastered to my side for comfort and warmth. What is in it for me, I ask? I can't imagine the hubris I would be exposed to if any of them won an award.

Posted by Renee | February 24, 2010 10:53 AM

I have a friend who sets the record (of the people I know, anyway) for having the most dogs: 3 great danes and 3 yorkies. Just put that in your hat and imagine the bedlam. I wish I had a photo.

I've not had a dog since on my own, but when I was 4 years old we had a cocker spaniel mix. Mom told me to take him back down to the basement. I stood at the top and ROLLED him down the stairs, then felt so bad I sang a little song to him. I really don't deserve a dog.

Yes, Congrats Steve. And again I have to say "thanks for the stories" to you all. Back home in a couple of days, when I'll have time to read the "back issues".

Posted by Barbara now in Iowa | February 24, 2010 10:55 AM

Morning all... getting back on since all the applications I use for my job are on strike right now.

Steve... CONGRATULATIONS! Whatever Chloe's motivations, I'm sure it will settle down. When I brought my daughter home from China, my Irish Setter, Scarlett clearly thought I had committed a grave error. Even though my daughter never went after the dogs (she was pretty content the first few months to stay wherever she was plopped down), Scarlett would get up and actually leave the room whenever I brought the baby in. However at 1 year of age, when my daughter finally decided she would take solid food, Scarlett was suddenly her new best friend! They were inseperable after that!

Posted by sherrilee | February 24, 2010 11:19 AM

steve congrats on the newby. liam is a great name and irish is a great breed of mutts. enjoy the heck out of each other.
loving the wolf book by the way. 150 is big enough 225 is unthinkable. mine is 125.
clyde, good thing its a stationary bike. grandpa walks ten miles a day. he is gone two weeks now and we don't know where he is.
barb, nice rememberance of julius, he was a luck kitty
ben where does the rat terrier sleep? your side or your wifes?
anna barney is the perfect name for a basset. yup yup yup

Posted by tim | February 24, 2010 3:10 PM

Some ranching frineds of ours had great herding dog named Dandy. He was a collie mix. They got him from a person who had trained him to herd sheep. His first day on the job with our friends ws a disaster, since our frinds forgot that sheep herding dogs herd the sheep toward you. Cow herding dogs are supposed to herd the cows away from you. Dandy drove those cows the wrong direction clear through a couple of fences before they got them turned around. Once he learned the difference between cows and sheep, he worked out fine.

Posted by Renee | February 24, 2010 3:10 PM

Follow up comments ...
Clyde, will I talk more? .... maybe...

Tim, Allie the Rat Terrier didn't like men for a long time... we suspect some sort of abuse in her prior life where ever she came from... she's gotten over that with us but is pretty defensive to strangers and especially males.
But she's my friend. She'll start in the middle of the bed until we both get in then she comes and stands at my head until I lift the quilt and let her under... (not under all the sheets; just the top quilt- i have my limits after all...) and she'll snuggle against my legs. At least to start.. she moves around under there...

Cow stories; too many. The Blind one that followed the other cows by sound (except when she'd get separated and I'd have to go talk her home.)
I had one named "Lynne" for Lynne Warfel-Holt of MPR...
Mary and her daughter Antoinette... (I know it's not perfect, it was just fun...)
The one that always put her legs forward through the stanchion when she slept...
The one that would let a particular cat sleep on her back...or maybe it was the particular cat that slept on cows backs... but some cows were more tolerant of that than others.

Posted by Ben | February 24, 2010 4:28 PM

Ben--we used to name the heifer calves after flowers and the bull calves after whatever boy my sister talked about, starting in first grade, which got to be kind of funny and fortunately remained a private joke. We had a horse and four cows who would let cats sleep on them, three cows that regularly got a leg caught in a stanchion.
We used to give the kittens we kept names that were male and female, because who knew what they would end up. When we got the dog Boots, who used to let Beverly (a male and female name) drink milk before he finished it, a cat we had named Carol(e) moved into the woods because she did not like Boots, who loved all cats. She survived for the next few years. I would regularly see her up trees and she would meow at me. If Boots wasn't near, she would come down and let me pet here, but when the dog showed up, up the tree she would go. Boots would sit and stare up at her titling his head in puzzlement the way dogs do.

Posted by Clyde | February 24, 2010 7:55 PM

ben and clyde
nice way to wrap up the animal day. dale does find an interesting way to get us going doesn't he?

Posted by tim | February 25, 2010 6:37 AM

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