Dogs Do These Things

    Animals played a big part in the world of postcards.  In an earlier era, when the only real air conditioning available at night was an open window, a light sleeper could be acutely aware of the dogs and cats which roamed the streets at night, and the chickens your neighbior kept in the back yard (especially whenever that rooster decided to let everyone know he was around.)  During the day, mice and rats could be a fact of life unless one had a resident exterminator, which many people did.  So dogs and cats wandered in and out of your line of vision.  Dogs were frequent stars of postcards which featured their good habits and bad.  They would scrounge food

    Wherever they found it

    They were bold guardians of houses

    Or not

    And, in any case, puppies were always up to something worth noticing.  (We did not INVENT the phrase “Awwww, how cuuuute!”)

    But the comic postcard focused on one particular dog activity which was inescapable and represented in far more media than just the postcard.  I wonder if there wasn’t just a little jealousy on the part of the humans who, after all, did the same sort of thing but had to leave the room.

    In the big city, of course, the fire hydrant was the usual target

    But any public pole was a possibility

    The big city was filled with possibilities, and no dog, postcard or otherwise, wanted to miss any.

    Dogs had their own way of passing along information on which were the best poles.  (This isn’t it.)

    The bigger the city, the more dogs would be passing along the message.

    But in the country, of course, dogs had just as much opportunity, and even more variety.  (There are at least three different postcards with different dogs using this caption, which plays with a slogan of the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company in the 1940s: “Does Your Tobacco taste Different Lately?”.  This is NOT what they meant, and, anyhow, they didn’t make cigarettes.)

    Although trees were the most common targets.

    The point, though, was that a dog would take advantage of any place or situation which seemed interesting, to the point where a number of puppy dogs complained that they’d get the blame for just any stray puddle found around the house.  (Benny Hill recited a brief but brilliant poem on the subject.)

    It’s a pity the noble dog should be memorialized quite so much for this perfectly natural activity, but it could be worse.  There was, after all, another dog activity very popular in mid-century postcards but, as this poodle might suggest, let’s keep out of it

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