The Whole Is Greater

February 5, 2012 · 7 comments

We should have named him “Gestalt,” for his whole is definitely greater than the sum of his parts.

Don’t get us wrong: the whole of his parts is pretty great, even if he does sit like a splay-legged kangaroo on his guard perch (aka. the southeast window).

And at a lanky 75 pounds, those parts are tricky to get organized into a whole position at nap time. (And no, we had no idea how big he was going to get.)

And even while in a “whole” perspective, the parts don’t always line up the same. For instance, when wet and and worn out from a snowy romp, they look a little different. (Think “Peter Frampton on a bad hair day.”)

The thing is, when you start breaking him down to his composite parts, it’s hard to make the math line up to equal what a great pal he is.

For instance, that tongue.
Ew… that tongue!
And yet… once you rule out biting (as in, “We have a rule; you cannot use the BIG teeth to indicate love and a desire to horse around”) a dog’s tongue becomes one of the only acceptable dog-to-human methods of communicating affection and pack affiliation.

Acky icky ick!
I just don’t roll that way. Ack.
I’d prefer a civil handshake, please…

… unless the hand in question looks like a Steven Spielberg reject from the Star Wars bar scene. Those bony knuckles and oddly placed nails look vaguely human, but not quite. We suspect that Winston is an alien.

This particular alien is made to stand, one weirdo paw at a time, in a Lego bucket filled with warm water to melt his snowballs off his hair (fur?) before he’s allowed back in the house. Trust me… the look of those tootsies are not improved by being wet.
The good news is that when I get too weirded out by his disturbing feet, there are other far more attractive features to focus on.

Who else gets to flounce around with a feather duster attached to his heinie? We’re trying to teach him to help with the housework, but apparently it’s a tough concept for a pooch to reel in.

I often wonder how long those whiskers would be if the groomer could just shave around them.
What do dogs use whiskers for, anyway? Are we limiting his sensory input by whacking them off every six weeks? And why do whiskers grow at twice the rate of other hair? Maybe dog whiskers are biologically related to chin hair on middle-aged women. (Not me, of course, but other middle aged women.)
Wow… I’m really glad that I took that photo, and that we’re having this conversation, and that I took the time to do this research. Apparently, dog “vibrissae” are important to them. No more whisker whacking for the Winnerton. Next time you see him, he’ll be sporting a lovely moustach and goatee.
Sorry, Winnie.

My only concern is that his new look might reduce the prominence of this magnificent protuberance. Truly, dogs’ noses–and this schnoz in particular–are a thing of functional and cosmetic beauty.
Enough said. I will leave you to contemplate it at your leisure.

Remember the “no biting!” rule? And this is just the anchor set that hold stuff in place so the uppers can get down to business. What I’d really like to point out here is the beautiful glossy blackness of those lips. They look like the licorice lips you used to be able to buy when I was a kid.

At a mere 18-months old, Winston has a very fine set of dewlaps. Did you know these hangy neck folds are called “dewlaps”? Me neither, and frankly, I’m conflicted about how I feel about knowing this. How do you feel about knowing this?
Let’s chat about dewlaps sometime.
I have to change subjects now.

It’s in his eyes that I see the whole of him most clearly, and it’s through his eyes that I see myself a little better, too.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Albarino June 7, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Lookin for a standard, a real big, female. Had three during my life, but now live in Santa Monica CA. Known a really good breeder?

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Louise February 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

75 pounds and great eyes!
and very looong legs

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Nancy Renzullo (Fellingham) February 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

What a loverly love of a poodle is Winston. 18 months! Really? Wow. (I am growing fond of dewlaps, myself ;>)

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