The Work of Greg Clark and Jimmie Frise

Tag: Dogs

Mad Dog Loose

There was an instant’s hush and then a riot. “Mad dog! Mad dog loose!” came the yells…

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by Jim Frise, November 22, 1947.

“Never,” counselled Jimmie Frise, “go to a dog show at night.”

“Well, it’s the only convenient time,” I submitted.

“We’ll be trampled to death,” declared Jim. “Let’s go in the morning, or even in the afternoon. The judging goes on from 10 am to 10 pm. We can find out what time the retrievers are being judged.”

“Or the hounds,” I checked. “Especially the beagles, the dear little beagles.”

“The last time we went to the Winter Fair dog show,” recollected Jim, “we had sore feet for weeks. We got trampled, stamped on, butted, biffed, shoved, dug in the ribs…”

“Jim,” I announced, “I regard that tremendous crowd at the dog show as only fitting. I think it is the proper and just tribute of human beings to the oldest and noblest companion of humanity across thousands and thousands of years.”

“But my feet …” complained Jimmie.

“Personally,” I pursued, “I prefer to get caught in the jam at a dog show. I prefer to go at night, when all the crowds are there, so as to be a part of this annual celebration in the honor of the dog. Do you realize that it is just possible that there would be NO human race if it hadn’t been for the dog?”

“How do you make that out?” demanded Jim in surprise.

“Before the introduction of agriculture,” I informed him, “what little wandering bands of human beings there were, scattered sparsely over the earth, had to live on what they could find in the perilous and monster-filled wilderness. They had to be warned of the approach of tigers and other savage creatures. They had to hunt game, their only meat. In both those profoundly important factors in the survival of these poor, trembling human beings, the dog played an immense – in fact, an absolutely essential – part.”

“Big dogs?” inquired Jim.

“Big dogs and little dogs,” I assured him. “The astonishing thing about dogs is that, either big or small, they are to be found, in the most ancient times, all over the world – Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America – everywhere but in a few Pacific islands. And wherever they were, big or small, they were the companions, the helpers, the guardians and warners of men!”

“Well, by golly….!” exclaimed Jim.

“Yes, SIR!” I warmed up. “The first actual historical record of dogs goes back to carvings and paintings of ancient Egypt, on the tomb of King Amten, in the year 4000 BC. Hunting dogs, hounds.”

“You mean,” calculated Jim, “6,000 years ago?”

“And that,” I assured him, “is only yesterday in the history of the dog. Because in the most ancient diggings in the cave men era, in all parts of the world, we find the bones of dogs mixed with the bones of men.”

“You mean,” said Jim, “that back in the days before there was any possible communication between the human tribes, say, in Europe and China, or Africa and North America, men and dogs had already got together?”

“Exactly,” I insisted, “There has been a mutual affinity between men and dogs all over the earth and from the very beginning of time. In South America, they were little dogs. In Asia they were mastiffs, giants. But they all helped man hunt, they all warned man of his monstrous wild enemies, they all shared man’s bed and board.”

“Well, this explains,” suggested Jim, “all the various and wholly different breeds of dog; yet all dogs?”

“A little Mexican chihuahua,” I recollected, “can weigh one pound. A mastiff can weigh 175 pounds. But they are both dogs, and definitely related.”

“We don’t see many mastiffs nowadays,” reflected Jimmie,

“That’s a funny thing,” I admitted. “Because we owe the very word ‘dog’ to the mastiff. When the Norman conquerors invaded Britain, they found the country full of giant mastiffs. These were the popular dogs in Britain. Every little baron, every knight, had a house full of them. Every farmer owned a couple. They were called tie-dogs. That is, tied up by day; loose by night.”

“Brrrr,” shivered Jim.

“The Norman French word for ‘mastiff’,” I explained, “was ‘dogue,’ It still is the French word for mastiff. And we poor dopey British, as so often happened to us whenever we were conquered by the Romans or the Vikings or the Saxons and so forth, had a foreign word shoved down our throats. The word ‘dogue,’ which meant ‘mastiff’ to our new bosses, came at last to mean ‘dog,’ meaning any little peewee.”

“Man, I hate to think of those early days,” murmured Jim, “when they had all those mastiffs turned loose every night.”

“Oh, the mastiff was a good many thousand years here before the Normans landed in England,” I advised. “The Romans found him in Britain, also the giant Irish wolfhound. They took ’em home and fed Christians to them in the Colosseum. The ancient kings of Persia had mastiffs. It’s only in quite recent times that men have gone in for the smaller dogs.”

“Thank heavens,” said Jim.

So, with our heaviest boots on, we went to the dog show, in the evening after all. In honor of the dog.

And just as Jimmie had predicted, it was a jam. You see, at the dog show, they have long aisles of small benches on which the show dogs recline. And the public wanders up and down these aisles, viewing the various and beautiful creatures. It could not be any other way. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. But a dog show is capable of traffic jams beyond the wildest dreams of Piccadilly or St. James street and McGill. Certain of the aisles are occupied, say, by one particularly popular breed, like the cocker spaniels. And naturally, everybody pushing along is looking for the cockers. And everybody who is already in the cocker aisle is holding firm. It takes quite a little time to look at a cocker spaniel.

Then, of course, there are the social gatherings. Mrs. Gotrox, who raises Pekingese, is sitting right on the bench, in sporty outdoorswoman costume, among her darlings. And what more natural than that all Mrs. Gotrox’s social friends, with numbers of others who merely like to bask in the obviously social atmosphere surrounding Mrs. Gotrox, should form a traffic jam in front of the Pekingese which is impossible from either direction?

But it is all very fine-tempered and smiling. People who come to look at dogs are a special breed of people. They are probably the old-fashioned kind, the ones not entirely dehumanized by civilization. They have inherited from the long past some memory of the dog that was not a friend merely, but an ally against the encircling darkness. At a dog show, you find yourself looking into the eyes of crowds of people who might easily be your brothers or sisters.

Jimmie wanted to turn left and start with the terriers. I wanted to turn right and start with the Great Danes. Either way, we would be going against the traffic. At dog shows, traffic moves in all possible directions.

“Gosh, what stallions!” gasped Jimmie, as we came in front of the Great Dane exhibit. There were 20 or 30 of them, fawn, black, brindled and harlequin – incredibly striped and blotched in black and white. Their giant jaws agape, their tiny ears pricked up, their stern gaze staring into the multitude looking for one, ONE friend.

So we edged along, passing the chows, the toys, funny balls of knitting called Pekes and Italian greyhounds so tiny and so slender that you might think the Italians got the idea of spaghetti from looking at their diminutive little greyhounds.

We came at length to the dogs Jim was looking for: the retrievers, especially the golden retrievers; although Jimmie isn’t finicky. He will look at any dog so long as it is a retriever – a Labrador, a curly-coated, flat-coated, a Chesapeake Bay. So long as it is half the size of a moose, with a coat like a duck, and with dark wise eyes that suggest it would know exactly what to do both before and after a gun barks.

Now, my fancy is hounds; and the smaller the better. Thirteen-inch beagles, for instance.

But before we got to the hounds and after Jimmie had created a half-hour traffic jam around the retrievers, with his duck-talk to them and his measuring of

But before we got to the hounds and after Jimmie had created a half-hour traffic jam around the retrievers, with his duck-talk to them and his measuring of them at the shoulder and the loin, and his picking the bored creatures up to guess their weight, and stroking their otter-like ears that lie so snug and waterproof against their heads, we had to fight our way into and through a traffic jam in front of the English bulldogs.

And the cause of this particular jam was one particular bulldog. He had the most sinister face I have ever seen, including the great Lon Chaney AND Boris Karloff. He was white, with brindle markings. He weighed well over 40 pounds. His massive brow was not only wrinkled, it twitched into new wrinkles every time he blinked his eyes, which were terrible. And under his mushed snout there protruded two white fangs, upward, bared and ready.

The traffic jam stood respectfully well back from his bench. Because, on the back of the partition of the bench was tacked this sign:

DANGEROUS

DO NOT HANDLE!

“WHAT a brute!” breathed Jimmie.

“He’s beautiful,” I stated.

And the brute looked up at me, from his squat stance, with a sudden, alert expression.

“Bee-yeautiful!’ I repeated rather cautiously,

And the brute chopped his terrible toad jaws at me in a fiendish grin, waggled his broken twisted tail ecstatically and wriggled his massive, bowlegged body into a regular fandango of friendliness.

“By golly,” gasped Jim, “he likes you!”

And a little murmur of applause rose from the silent traffic jam all around.

“Hi, Beautiful!” I said carefully.

The brute leaned out of his bench and strained on the heavy chain that held him.

“Don’t get fresh with that baby,” warned a voice behind me. “He’s a bad actor!”

I glanced to see a tall, raw-boned character in the crowd who had a know-it-all air about him.

“I know something about bulldogs,” he said wisely. “That one is a killer, A BAD dog!”

But the brute was now shimmying in a monstrous and grotesque fashion, straining on his chain in my direction, his eyes wide with friendliness and his terrific pie plate of a mouth in a wide gape of chumminess.

“Careful!” muttered Jim.

But I took a chance. I put my hand out on his head. I slid it firmly down his neck and scratched.

The bulldog snuggled right up to my thigh. And he sat down with a sort of a dump and emitted a great sigh of joy.

“He’s a fool!” said the character in the crowd.

But the traffic jam was entirely charmed by the spectacle and their murmurs rose to little cheers of delight. I sat down beside the brute on the bench and put my arm heartily around him. He fairly pushed me over, he was so happy. He licked my face and panted with brotherly love.

He fairly pushed me over, he was so happy.

The crowd closed in nearer.

I noted that the chain which held the brute was I caught under his hind leg. I tried to hoist him free of it, but he just snuggled tighter to me. I took the snap off the chain and undid it from his collar to pass the chain under him —

With bound, the massive bulldog leaped free and down into the crowd among their fast-moving legs …

The character, who had been so loud in warning me, let go in a stentorian voice:

“Look out! Bad dog loose!”

There was an instant’s hush and then a riot.

“Mad dog! Mad dog loose!” came the yells and squeals from every direction.

And you never saw a traffic jam melt so fast in your life. Not only in our particular vicinity, but in all the adjoining aisles. Out on the main exit, &a veritable stampede.

But above the tumult, I could hear one voice scolding.

And down our aisle came a man in a white sweater, lugging the brute by the collar. He hoisted him summarily into his place on the bench.

“How’d he get loose?” he demanded, seeing I was sitting on the bench.

“I’m sorry,” I confessed. “His chain was caught under him. I unsnapped it for an instant …”

“Didn’t you see that sign?” demanded the handler grimly. “Dangerous! Do not handle!”

By now the crowds were coming sheepishly back.

“That dog isn’t dangerous,” I scoffed, “The friendliest…”

“The friendliest dog in this here whole show, bar none!” said the handler to me in a low voice. “I just put that sign up to make people keep their dirty hands off him. They carry infection from one dog to another.”

“He’s a beauty,” I agreed.

“That’s his name: Beautiful,” revealed the handler. “That’s what we call him – Beautiful.”

“Ah, that explains it,” I said.

And I went ahead through the much-thinned crowd, and joined Jimmie at the beagles.


Editor’s Notes: McGill and St. James would be a busy intersection at the time in Montreal (and would be used as a reference since this was published in the Montreal Standard). Though English speakers would call it St. James, it is officially Rue Saint Jacques.

Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff were well known horror actors, playing the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Frankenstein’s monster respectfully.

Brindle markings is a coat pattern that is described as tiger-striped, though the variations of color are more subtle and blended than distinct stripes.

A stentorian voice is very loud and strong.

Squirrels Win, as a Rule

Up to the back gate, in the paved lane, rode our neighborhood policeman, on a bicycle.

By Gregory Clark, Illustrated by James Frise, August 29, 1942.

“Now I’ve got squirrel trouble,” announced Jimmie Frise indignantly.

“Chewed into your attic?” I sympathized.

“No,” said Jim. “It’s complicated. This squirrel has a feud on with my Irish water spaniel, Rusty. For about two hours every morning and two hours every evening, it teases Rusty almost to distraction.”

“Well, that’s not your trouble,” I pointed out. “That’s Rusty’s.”

“No, but the neighbors,” explained Jimmie. “They’re complaining about the row Rusty makes over the squirrel.”

“Okay, keep Rusty in,” I solved.

“You can’t keep a dog in all day,” protested Jim. “And anyway, the darn squirrel doesn’t even come around our place until it sees Rusty out.”

“Well, discipline your dog,” I advised. “Give him a spanking or two and he’ll soon quit bothering with squirrels.”

“Not Rusty,” declared Jim warmly. “This feud has been developing quietly for two or three years. Now it’s the biggest thing in Rusty’s life. It’s the biggest thing he has ever had in his life. He’s scratching at the door to get out the first thing in the morning. He races around the yard, checking over the ground to see if his enemy, the squirrel, has been around yet. Then he gives a couple of defiant barks and sits back to wait.”

“There’s the moment to discipline him,” I explained.

“Aw, you don’t know Rusty,” said Jim. “He’s eight years old. He’s a person now, not a dog. He has his rights and knows them. He knows he can bark if he likes. There is no law against a dog barking. Except to excess.”

“Then what happens?” I inquired.

Then Comes Trouble

“Well there sits Rusty, all on the alert,” described Jim, “and sure enough, in a few minutes, along comes this squirrel on the telephone wires, coming from the south.”

“A black squirrel?” I inquired.

“A mangy, middle-aged dusty sort of black squirrel,” said Jim. “He lives in some oak trees about a block to the south of us. Along the telephone wires he comes, a few feet at a time. And when he sees Rusty crouching and watching for him down at the foot of the apple tree he starts a queer rusty, sucking sort of sound which is squirrel for cursing.”

“You understand squirrel talk?” I asked.

“Then Rusty starts to bark,” said Jim. “He rushes forth barking up at the squirrel, who sits on the telephone wire, looking down at Rusty and emitting those nasty, wheezy sounds baring his teeth.”

“Naturally the neighbors would complain,” I submitted, “if Rusty keeps it up.”

“Keep it up?” cried Jim. “They go for an hour or more. You would think a squirrel had more to do than come and tease a dog.”

“Well, you’d think a dog had more to do than get all bothered by a black squirrel,” I countered.

“Do the neighbors blame the black squirrel for inciting the row?” demanded Jimmie. “Not they. They blame it all on Rusty.”

“Aw, Jim,” I laughed, “don’t be silly. Either train your dog to keep quiet or get rid of the squirrel.”

“I’ve heaved rocks at the squirrel,” confessed Jim, “with only this result: that the squirrel thinks I’m in the game now too. And Rusty regards my actions as legal confirmation of his own attitude.”

“Haven’t you got an air rifle?” I inquired quietly.

“They’re illegal in the city,” said Jim, “and anyway, black squirrels are game and protected by law.”

“Get the hose after it,” I suggested.

“You don’t know black squirrels,” said Jim “They are the hardest animal in the world to snub. The more you disturb them, the more pleased they are. This blame squirrel sits on the telephone wires until he has got Rusty frothing at the mouth. Then he comes a little farther along the wire until he can take a jump on to the apple tree. Rusty regard this tree as sacred to him. It is his altar. His property. In all the world, Rusty makes claim to only one thing, and that’s our apple tree.”

“I can understand a dog,” I admitted.

“Well, sir,” went on Jim, “teetering and crouching on that telephone wire, the squirrel measures the four-foot jump to the nearest branch of the tree. Rusty, in a frenzy of excitement below, and at the same time trying to hold himself in control in the hope that the squirrel will miss the jump, alternates between almost insane rushing back and forth and stopping all of a quiver to watch the leap. It is like us at the circus, when the acrobats are ready to jump. We don’t know whether to look or not to look.”

“So the squirrel jumps?” I egged.

“And then Rusty really goes nuts,” said Jim. “For there is the squirrel up his sacred tree, running around it gaily, as if the tree belonged to him: running up to the topmost branches, darting down the trunk almost to within one jump of Rusty.”

“The poor neighbors,” I reminded.

“Well, after about 15 minutes,” related Jim, “Rusty gets completely exhausted. And he quiets down and goes some little distance from the tree and sits down. He knows the squirrel can’t jump back to the telephone wire. He knows that it has to come down the trunk and make a dash for the fence.”

“Why doesn’t he sit at the foot of the tree and out-wait the squirrel?” I inquired.

“He has tried it hundreds of times,” said Jim, “and the squirrel always wins because somebody comes and calls Rusty to supper.”

“Is there any hope of Rusty catching the squirrel at least?” I inquired. “The law of averages is on his side now.”

“No,” said Jim, “he waits and waits and finally he lies down, with his eyes on the tree. Then the squirrel, tired of the game, starts experimentally coming down the trunk. If Rusty leaps up too soon, he just retreats up the tree and sizzles derision down on Rusty’s head. When Rusty least expects it, the squirrel makes the jump, rushes across the garden, up the fence, back up a telephone pole and on to the wire again, with Rusty one jump behind. And, after a few choice insults, retires south to his own domain.”

Neighbors Complain

“Does this go on every day?” I asked.

“The neighbors have complained to the police,” said Jim, “and the police have given me warning.”

“Did you ask them if you could dispose of the squirrel?” I demanded.

“All they said was, it was illegal to use firearms or air rifles within the city limits,” said Jim.

“They never mentioned catapults?” I pursued.

“By jingo, no!” cried Jim.

“Okay,” I exclaimed exultantly. “Then I’ll help you deal with that squirrel.”

For wrapped spirally around one of my fishing rod cases is an old piece of inner tubes too small to be remembered for the salvage drive, but not too small to be remembered when you want a catapult, after 40 years.

And in Jimmie’s apple tree we found perfect crotch and from an old boot’s tongue we cut the perfect patch. And in a matter of half hour, we had as fine a catapult anybody ever saw.

“I don’t think,” I suggested, “that we should shoot stones. Or any hard objects. There are too many houses and garages around. I never broke a window when I was a boy. I would hate to break a window with a catapult at my age.”

“We are rendering a public service,” declared Jimmie, “in getting rid of this squirrel. Get rid of that beast, and Rusty becomes once more the honest, kindly human being he has always been.”

The apples on Jim’s tree have long since gone back to nature. They are small and runty and woody in texture and sour to taste. Not even the kids eat them. I tried one in the patch of the catapult and let drive with up into the leafy solidity of the apple tree.

“Whee,” said Jim. “Perfect.”

“And if I hit the squirrel,” I added, “with a nice, smooth, round apple, it won’t really injure it. It will just give it a hint.”

Rusty Ready For Battle

Rusty who had been looked in the kitchen until the preparations for battle were complete, came out on the dead run, ran excitedly around the garden smelling the tree and in the fence corners until he was satisfied with whatever report the squirrel had left its recent visits.

Then he stood at the wire gate at the back of the garden and emitted couple of defiant hoarse barks.

“See?” said Jim. “No harm in that.”

So we sat in the garden chairs and Rusty took up a position under the apple tree, watching with lifted muzzle to the south along the telephone wires.

Suddenly Rusty whined.

And in the distance, I could see the squirrel running in short stops and starts, high on the telephone wire, heading our way.

“Well, I’ll be jiggered,” I confessed.

Rusty crouched in the corner of the garden, his whole body shaking as with an ague. The squirrel arrived overhead, and detecting Rusty hiding below let loose a volley of wheezy, sucking and chattering abuse.

Rusty went berserk. He barked, whirled, leaped, like a dervish, letting loose a veritable clamor of sound.

“Okay,” said Jim, signalling. “Let him have it.”

I stood up and picked a nice, small, smooth apple about the size of a ping-pong ball.

Fitting it snugly in the patch of the catapult, a drew a long stretch.

“Ffffttt,” went the catapult, and the apple sped through the air, passing within about six inches of the swearing black squirrel.

With the greatest of ease, through the distance was nearer seven feet than four from where he was at the time, the squirrel leaped and soared into the apple tree.

“Hey,” came a distant shout in a loud, angry voice. “Hey you.”

“Psssst,” warned Jimmie, signalling me to hide the catapult.

A Visitor Arrives

And up the back gate, in the paved lane, rode our neighbourhood policeman, on a bicycle.

“Have you seen any kids throwing apples?” he demanded, glaring suspiciously at the apples on the ground.

“Kids? Apples?” I requested politely.

“Some kids throwing apples,” announced the cop, angrily, “and one hit me square on the back of the neck.”

“We certainly haven’t seen any kids around here,” said Jimmie.

But Rusty, who now discerned the squirrel in the lower branches of the tree, began to go into hysterics.

“Here, shut up,” cried Jim, leaping for him.

“Ho,” said the cop, “that’s the dog they are complaining of, isn’t it?”

Rusty, with an audience of three, went into a terrific spin. He Frothed. He leaped half way up the trunk. He nearly strangled to death, he barked so hard.

“What’s he got up there?” demanded the policeman, getting off his bike and walking in to look up the tree.

The squirrel, with bared teeth and mouth all puckered up, was giving us a fine going over.

The Catapult!

In my excitement, being unable to push the catapult in my trouser pocket, I had stuffed it down the back of my pants. And before I realized the situation, the cop had seen the weapon and had quietly reached and withdrawn it.

“So?” he said, eyeing me and the catapult.

He reached down and selected a nice shiny apple.

Setting his legs wide apart, he drew a long stretch and let the apple fly up into the tree. It hit the branch on which the squirrel was squatting, directly under the beast, and it burst into a flying explosion of juicy fragments that hissed and ripped amid the leaves all about the squirrel.

With all bravado gone, the squirrel with extraordinary alacrity, leaped unerringly from the topmost branch of the apple tree back on to the telephone wire. So eager was it to get away, it never even had to balance itself when it hit the wire. It kept right on going south until it was out of sight.

“That’s done it,” said Jim, with deep satisfaction.

“You could be pinched,” said the policeman, “For shooting a catapult in the city.”

“You shot it,” I pointed out.

“It’s a dandy,” said the cop, stretching it, and trying another apple in it. He let it go up through the tree. We heard a distant cluck as if it had hit a car top.

“Nix,” said Jimmie sharply.

The policeman hastily shoved the catapult down the back of his pants.

“I’ll have to confiscate this,” he said sternly.

And he stalked over and got on his bicycle.

Rusty, Jimmie and I went over and saw him off the premises in the friendliest fashion.

He rode with the majestic slowness of the law up the lane until he was nearly out of sight. Then he bent over the handlebars and put on speed.

“Yeah,” said Jim. “He’s got a catapult. Now he and his buddies will be shooting with it all night.”


Editor’s Note: A catapult was common slang for what we would now call a slingshot.

Here’s Boo Boo Again!

September 10, 1938

This is another illustration by Jim for a story by Merrill Denison after he moved to New York to work on Broadway, that features his dog Boo Boo.

Dogs Are Only Human

By Greg Clark, June 26, 1948

Even a big and fighting Airedale can be licked by an irate lady, Jim and Greg find

“That dang Airedale!” barked Jimmie Frise.

“Fighting again?” I inquired.

“No: he jumped the fence,” growled Jim, “and scratched and kicked our zinnia bed all to pieces.”

“Aw, at this time of year, Jim,” I soothed, “all dogs are pretty frisky. Maybe it was some other…”

“No, no, the family saw him,” snorted Jim. “He just jumped the fence, glanced around the garden and saw the zinnia bed all nicely laid out. He jumped right into the middle of it and started scratching and kicking for all he was worth. Malicious damage, if ever you saw it!”

“What are you going to do? See McGillicuddy?” I asked.

“Something has got to be done,” declared Jim with finality. “That dog has become a public nuisance and a public menace.”

“McGillicuddy is very fond of that dog, Jim,” I submitted. “After all, like master, like dog. McGillicuddy is a big, rough, cheery, quarrelsome sort of guy.”

“I don’t care how big and rough he is,” snapped Jim. “I’m going up and have a showdown about that dog.”

“Look,” I reasoned. “All dogs are public nuisances and public menaces. If every dog was as tame and docile as Dolly here …”

I had Dolly on a leash out for an evening stroll. That is how I happened to walk around to Jim’s.

“Hi, Dolly!” greeted Jim.

Dolly, puffing, gave her tail a brief wag. She is a cocker spaniel, black and white. Veterinary science has condemned her to permanent spinsterhood. She used to have too much coat, so we clipped her. That made her coat grow into fur. Now she is as broad as she is long, round as a bolster and finds life pretty heavy going. But she is the gentlest, mildest, least playful little spinster in the world.

“Dolly is at least a lady,” said Jim. “I don’t suppose she ever did a mischievous thing in her life.”

“Oh, yes, when she was a pup, she chewed up slippers and things,” I admitted.

“I suppose,” said Jim, “she is the only dog for five blocks around here that hasn’t been chewed up by that dang Airedale!”

“Aw, even fighting dogs don’t fight with females,” I reminded him. “That’s one thing about dogs. They know enough to leave a lady dog alone. Lady dogs can be pretty spiteful.”

“That Airedale of McGillicuddy’s,” declared Jim, “has nearly killed every dog in the neighborhood.”

“I don’t think McGillicuddy would be bothered,” I reflected, “with a dog that wasn’t the boss of the street.”

“Terrier!” said Jim, caustically. “Airedale terrier, they call it! Why, that dog weighs 50 pounds, if It weighs an ounce.”

“It’s still a terrier,” I pointed out.

“Terriers,” countered Jim, “are small, handy dogs: not moose. I bet a true terrier doesn’t weigh 10 pounds.”

“Oh, yes,” I assured him. “A fox terrier can weigh as much as 18 pounds. Maybe an Irish terrier can go as much as 25 pounds. A good 45- or 50-pound Airedale isn’t out of the way…”

“But terriers,” complained Jim, “are supposed to be rat-killers, vermin-killers. What kind of vermin could a 50-pound Airedale find to kill?”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “Airedales are used out west for hunting grizzly bears and mountain lions. They’re mighty fighters.”

“I think I’ll suggest to McGillicuddy,” said Jim acidly, “that he send his dog out to the Rockies. I’ll suggest that if he admires pugnacity, he ought to give his dog a chance, instead of letting him tear up little spaniels and house pets…”

“Aha, has he been at your Rusty again?” I exclaimed seeing the light.

“No, no,” assured Jim. “While I object to his fighting, it’s this malicious damage to gardens that has got me roused up.”

“Why don’t you report it to the police ” I suggested.

“Aw, everybody in the district,” scoffed Jim, “has reported that dog one time or another in the past year. And what happens? The cops call on McGillicuddy. He invites the cops in, and they sit around talking about he-man dogs and sissy neighbors. And then the cops come out, laughing, and waving good-bye to McGillicuddy like birds of a feather.”

At this moment, we heard barking up the street. And down came Rusty. Jim’s Sinn Fein Irish water spaniel, like a brown streak, while behind him, bellowing like a lion, came McGillicuddy’s big Airedale, Pete.

When Dolly saw them, she promptly sat down a bared her little teeth.

The two raced past, as Rusty made for the shelter of Jim’s house. Pete, suddenly distracted by Jim’s shoulder and waving arms, gave up the chase and rather indignantly paused, stared at Jim and then retreated with dignity back up toward his own house.

“See what I mean?” growled Jim fiercely. There was a fight, if Rusty hadn’t run. Did you ever see such a sullen, impudent stare as an Airedale can give you? Why, they don’t look you in the face at all. They look at your calf or your thigh or some place on your anatomy, as if cogitating whether to make a grab or not.”

“Pete’s quite a dog,” I murmured.

Rusty came out, looking a little verminous, and glanced cautiously up the street. He trotted over to greet Dolly. But she bared her little white teeth and snarled. Rusty, respectful as all dogs are to ladies backed away and ignored her.

Up the street, there was a sudden squall and yammer of dogs fighting, and down came a small black dog running for his life, with Pete, the Airedale, in large bounding pursuit.

“Awfff!” cried Jimmie, suddenly. “I’m going to deal with this business RIGHT NOW! Come on!”

“Why not write him a letter, Jim?” I suggested.

But Jim was striding up the street. I hauled Dolly to her feet and we followed.

As we neared McGillicuddy’s house, we could see him kneeling on his front steps. He was painting them. In the cool of the evening.

When we drew close, I noted that he had just finished painting his verandah, a pretty Spanish tile red, and was now starting down the steps. He had the top one done.

Pete, the Airedale, was sitting on the lawn watching his lord and master. And as we drew level and paused, Pete stood up and barked at us loudly and vulgarly, as only an Airedale can. His button eyes studied us anatomically.

“Shut up,” commanded McGillicuddy, turning around. “Hey! Hullo!”

McGillicuddy is one of those big, brindled, freckled characters, jovial and hearty, the Airedale type himself. He will be friendly or quarrelsome with you at the drop of the hat. Whichever you like. He is one of those breezy obliging type. I am rather fond of McGillicuddy; but he isn’t my near neighbor, you understand.

“Mac,” said Jim, “I’ve got to complain about Pete.”

“Shut up. Get away. Sit down!” commanded McGillicuddy, and Pete obeyed. “What’s he done now?”

“He came into our garden,” enumerated Jim, “he jumped the fence, see? And after a brief look around, he leaped square into the zinnia bed and proceeded to scratch and kick it all the pieces.”

McGillicuddy looked long and steadily at Jim, with an Airedale expression in his eyes.

“No dog,” he said. “would do such a thing!”

“But I tell you,” cried Jim with sudden heat, “the family saw him. He just jumped the fence, stood looking around a minute. And then took one leap into the zinnia bed and started scratching and kicking for all he was worth. A straight case of malicious damage!”

McGillicuddy began to get a little red in the face. His freckles stood out.

“Look!” he said, “It doesn’t make sense! Why would dog do such a thing?”

“That isn’t for me to answer,” retorted Jim. “That’s for you to answer. That darn dog of yours is a public menace. He is fighting all the time. He upsets garbage pails. And he tears up gardens.”

McGillicuddy took a long, slow breath, and took a couple of strokes with his paint brush on the top step to cool himself off.

“Now, let’s be reasonable,” he said. “Dogs are only human. You can’t expect a big, vigorous dog like Pete to sit around like a bump on a log like that silly little spaniel there.”

He indicated Dolly, who was sitting rather like a bump. I pulled the leash and got her to her feet. She panted with the effort.

“Every man,” explained McGillicuddy heartily, “to his taste in dogs. I can’t see what you see in that flop-eared Irish water spaniel you’ve got.”

“I’ve got a golden retriever too,” declared Jim with dignity. “but a farmer keeps him out in the country.”

“Every man to his fancy,” agreed McGillicuddy. “But you see, I like Airedales. I like big Airedales, big, lively, spirited dogs. Sure, he fights a little; sure, he is a little rough and rowdy. But there you are!”

“I think,” said Jim levelly, “I’ll bring my golden in to town for a few days. He’s about the size of that Airedale. He might teach Pete a little lesson.”

“Oho, is that so?” scoffed McGillicuddy, suddenly roused. “Well, mister, any old time you like…”

He stepped down off the steps.

Pete, sensing his master’s ire, leaped up and jumped toward us.

Dolly, like a flash, jerked the leash out of my hands and with a small fierce feminine snarl and her lady teeth bared viciously, made a dive for the big dog.

Without a yelp, Pete turned like lightning and bounded past McGillicuddy’s legs.

He bounded up the steps. On the wet top step he skidded. On his side and rump, he slid across the full depth of the freshly painted tile red verandah and came up with a bump against the wall. Little Dolly, fairly fizzing with rage, was right after him.

Around and around in a mad, slithering scramble, the two raced and snarled and fought, the big dog desperately trying to avoid the nasty nips the bulgy little cocker was inflicting on him. McGillicuddy bounded on to the verandah and booted them both off, I caught the leash as Dolly yipped past, and Pete, all red with paint, fled down the side drive.

“Okay,” wuffed McGillicuddy from the wrecked verandah. “Okay! You win, boys. Any dog that would run from a little wee whiffet like that thing…”

“All dogs are scared of irate ladies,” I apologized for Pete.

“To heck with it!” panted McGillicuddy. “Look at my verandah! The clumsy big oaf! Chased by a rabbit, by gosh! Okay: I’ll send him out to my brother in the country. He raises rabbits.”

“Sorry, McGillicuddy,” said Jim, with stiff lips.

“To heck with it,” growled McGillicuddy, turning to stare at the mess.

We walked back down the street, Dolly fairly staggering with exhaustion.

“Dear,” breathed Jim, when we got a few doors down, “dear little Dolly!”

And with my permission, paint and all, he picked her up and carried her.

This is Jimmie Frise’s last contribution to the Magazine. The beloved cartoonist, who brought humor to hundreds of thousands of Canadian homes, died suddenly June 13.


Editor’s Notes: As indicated by the last note in the story, this was the last published Greg-Jim story. His obituary was written by Greg in the previous week’s issue. After a week off, he returned with a story called “The Young Volunteer”, about a boy volunteering to be his new partner. Greg speaks with him suggesting that it is not that easy to find a partner.

“What kind,” he asked, as we fell in step, “of adventure do you think we could have?”

“My rule is,” I informed him, “just walk along and adventure will befall you.”

The next few weeks had stories illustrated by different artists until Duncan Macpherson became the regular artist on August 7, 1948. The new stories included fictional relatives and neighbours, and continued weekly until June 3, 1950, and then became infrequent, with Greg sometimes writing stories, and other times straight up reporting. Macpherson would eventually become a celebrated editorial cartoonist in Canada. The magazine and newspaper industry was undergoing rapid change due to changing consumer tastes and competition from television. The Montreal Standard ceased publication on August 18, 1951, and became “Weekend Picture Magazine” on September 8, 1951, and shortly after changed to “Weekend Magazine”. Greg’s stories in these publications were usually not illustrated, and were the basis for many of his books published in the 1950s and 1960s.

Weekend Magazine was distributed free of charge with 9 daily newspapers across the country in 1951. Weekend offered high-quality colour reproduction to advertisers, good photographs, feature stories and recipes to readers, and a profit-making supplement that boosted circulation for the newspaper publishers. By the 1960s Weekend Magazine was carried in 41 newspapers with a circulation over 2 million, and it was the most popular advertising vehicle in the nation. Colour television and the turn away from general-interest periodicals hurt the magazine, and it got thinner each year. By 1979 it had been merged with The Canadian, and in 1982 Today, the successor supplement, ceased publication.

Something Has To Be Done

By Greg Clark, May 29, 1937

“I see by the papers,” said Jimmie Frise, “that there are 15,000,000 dogs in North America.”

“It seems a pretty conservative estimate,” I commented.

“I was going to say,” said Jim, “that there were 15,000,000 dogs in Toronto. Maybe that’s a little high. But did you ever in all your life see so many dogs around as there are nowadays?”

“The country,” I admitted, “is really going to the dogs.”

“The less able the world is to keep dogs,” said Jim, “the more the fashion grows. In more spacious days, when there were no motor cars and every home had some ground around it, I could understand everybody keeping a dog. But under modern conditions It seems to me keeping a dog should be a privilege accorded only those who are qualified. And the qualifications should be enough ground around the home for the dog to play in without risking his life and limb on the trafficky streets. And the other and more Important qualification should be that the dog owner would have enough intelligence to control and master his dog.”

“Well, we’d qualify,” I agreed.  “I must say your old Rusty has almost a human intelligence. And as for my Dolly, she is practically a member of the family.”

“We’ve taken the trouble,” explained Jim. “to train and educate our dogs. Rusty and Dolly are, you might say, modernized dogs. But some of these wild animals that gang up and rove this neighborhood are not only a nuisance but a menace. Here I am putting in my garden for the next couple of nights. Now, Rusty is trained. He knows what a garden is. He never runs on the borders or tramples the young plants. You never catch Rusty digging up the garden or messing about the bushes.”

“Dolly’s the same,” I said. “In fact, I have seen her chasing other dogs out of our garden. Many’s the time last summer I have watched Dolly walking about the garden looking at the flowers just as if she were human being and enjoying them exactly as a human being.”

“Yesterday,” said Jim. “I happened to look out the back window and what did I see? Three of those mutts of the neighborhood, two half-breed collies and a wire-haired terrier, actually burying bones in my perennial borders.”

“Couldn’t you train Rusty to be a policeman?” I asked.

“He wasn’t around,” said Jim, “or he’d have soon had those tramps out of there.”

“I’d say,” I said, “that most of the people in our neighborhood keep dogs by force of habit. They apparently take no pleasure out of them, as we do in Rusty and Dolly. They let them out in the morning, probably giving them kick as they go, and they let them in at night. And for the rest of the day, those dogs just run at large, upsetting garbage pails, scaring the wits out of motorists by dashing recklessly all over the streets, digging in gardens, wrecking ornamental shrubs and generally being public nuisances.”

“It looks like it,” agreed Jim. “Something will have to be done.”

“Now there’s that apartment house along the street,” I reminded him. “I was counting the dogs in it. There are eight families in that house, and I’ll be jiggered if there aren’t nine dogs. One family has two of those bugeyes Pekes.”

On Other People’s Property

“That apartment house,” stated Jim, “has no yard at all. It has a concrete area at the back entirely filled with garages. It has no front lawn to speak of. Where do those nine dogs run?”

“On other people’s property,” I declared.

“Exactly,” said Jim.

“We certainly ought to do something about it,” I asserted. “And we, as dog owners and dog lovers, can’t be accused of being prejudiced against dogs either. I am one of the first to get my dander up when any of these anti-dog people begin their annual uproar about dogs running at large in the city. It is usually about now, when people are putting in their gardens, that the rumpus begins. But there is reason and moderation in all things, including dogs.”

“All I expect of other people,” agreed Jim, “is that they control their dogs the same way I do.”

“That’s it,” I supported. “Let that be our slogan. And if we dog owners start the agitation, it will go a long way further than if these anti-dog people try to do anything.”

“I can’t understand a man or a woman not having a dog,” said Jim. “If I were going to start a political party or a new religion or something, I would take a census of the homes of the city, and where there was a dog, that home I’d invite in.”

“I doubt if there ever was a villain who owned a dog,” I agreed.

“No food and no love is wasted in a house where there is a dog,” declared Jim. “It gets what is left over of both. You can tell all about a home by the dog.”

And with this kindly thought we went to our appointed tasks for the afternoon.

After supper, seeing Jim in his garden south of mine, and I not being quite ready to plant my annuals, as I like the garden to be best in September rather than July when all my family are away, I strolled down to watch him, Dolly joining me.

Jim had the little boxes of petunias and zinnias all laid out ready to be planted, the crimson nicotine and verbenas, the sweet william and orange flare cosmos. I helped him carry the little boxes of plantlings and distribute them around the borders where they would variously go. Old Rusty and Dolly solemnly accompanied us as we moved here and there.

“Look at them,” said Jim, fondly. “See how intelligently they watch us. They know what we are doing. They are interested. I bet they even realize that presently, as the result of this work of ours, the garden will glow and smother with flowers and sweet scents.”

With tongues out, the two sat, a little stoutly, maybe, a little over-fed, most amiably following us.

“No silly romping,” I pointed out. “No nonsense. There’s dogs, Jim.”

And we proceeded to set the plants, Jim scooping the holes with his trowel and I breaking out the seedlings with blocks of earth from the basket complete. We petted them down. Nasturtiums, marigolds, mourning bride, lantana. Clarkia in clumps because it is stringy, verbenas well separated because with their multi-colored stars they will reach and spread. The best part of May is the end where we plant the annuals.

To sort out some weeds that Jim bought to eke out the foot of his garden, such as sunflowers and some coarse climbing nasturtiums for along the fence, we went indoors and down to Jim’s cellar billiard room, and we had hardly been there a minute before Jim, glancing out the cellar window, let forth a wild bellow.

Rusty and Dolly had wandered off when we had come indoors, and as we reached the back door, there were no fewer than seven dogs holding a kind of canine gymkhana in the garden.

“Hyaaah,” roared Jimmie, hurling a flower pot at them.

There was a red setter, a police dog, a scrub collie, a wire-haired terrier, a goggle-eyed Boston bull, a Scotty, and big over-grown Springer spaniel, weighing about sixty pounds, a kind of a mattress of a dog, brown and white.

They were racing in circles, trampling all over the newly planted seedings, ducking around perennials just decently leafing out of the earth, plunging through spiraea…

“Hyaaaaaah,” we roared, charging into the yard.

All but the Springer spaniel, without so much as letting on they saw us, raced out of the back gate and down the street, like a gang of panting, laughing hoodlums.

The Springer, with a look of interest, was braced in behind Jim’s loveliest Japonica bush, watching us with rigid tail and cocked head.

“You!” said Jim, advancing cautiously.

“Easy, Jim,” I warned. “Get behind him and chase him out.”

“I’ll catch him,” said Jim. “and deliver him to his owner.”

“He may be cross,” I warned.

But the Springer spaniel, all feathers and wool and burly good nature, was far from cross. He was for play.

With a slithering, dirt-flinging spring, he wheeled and raced along the wire fence, every bound crashing him heavily on to some little cluster of freshly set and fragile plantlings.

“Hyaaahh,” we roared at him.

With a skid and a slither, he would halt and watch us, tail wagging frantically and mouth agape in a wide grin of joy.

“Don’t try to catch him,” I said, “he thinks we’re playing.”

“I’ll show him if we’re playing,” gritted Jim.

He advanced, half crouched.

The Springer, with an ecstatic slither, was off again, crashing through a bed of Darwin tulips with his whole sixty pounds and plunging into a young spiraea bush as if to play hide and seek.

“Aw,” moaned Jim terribly.

“Shoo him out, shoo him out,” I yelled. “He’ll romp in here all night, if you let him.”

“Rusty, Rusty,” roared Jimmie into the evening.

“Hyuh, Dolly, hyuh, hyuh,” I cried, “sick ‘im.”

But Rusty and Dolly were absent at the one time we needed them.

“Here, help corner him,” commanded Jim. “You come along that way and I’ll come this way and we’ll corner him by the house.”

So we slowly converged.

The Springer waited, with sly, joyous eyes, until we were almost on him before, with a plunge that flattened the spiraea and carried him horribly on top of the whole cluster of long slender orange fare cosmos plantlings, he burst the blockade and tore across to the opposite border of the garden and took refuge, playfully, behind a perennial phlox that, in another month, is the wonder of the whole district, so gorgeous a magenta is it, with its hundred blooms.

“Oooooh,” moaned Jim, “if he crushes that!”

“Throw something at him,” I insisted. “Make him get out.”

“Now I’m determined,” declared Jim gratingly, “to catch him and deliver him.”

“Very well, then,” I decreed, “Shut the gate.”

So while Jim shut the gate, I picked up a few odds and ends, the trowel, a couple of flower pots and a garden stake. And with these as ammunition, I drove the astonished Springer into the corner by the house while Jim charged in and grabbed him.

He struggled furiously and then angrily, growling and snarling.

“Get the rug out of the car,” panted Jimmie, wrapping himself around the astonished and frightened dog.

I nipped over and snatched the car rug and brought it. Jim managed to roll the big spaniel in it, leaving only his head out.

We straightened ourselves up and dusted off.

“There,” gasped Jim. “Now, Mister Springer, I know where you live.”

“What will you say?” I asked, “Better get it planned so you won’t just arrive in a temper and say worse than nothing.”

“I’ll simply say, ‘Sir’,” said Jim, “here is your dog. It came into my garden and trampled all over my newly planted seedlings. It plunged through my tulips and bushes and crushed my perennial phlox. I do not blame the dog. I blame the owner of the dog who has not taught it to behave and to respect gardens.”

“Then what?” I asked.

“I’ll hand him his dog,” said Jim “and warn him that if the dog damages my garden again, I will take steps that will astonish him.”

“Let’s go,” I said, because the big Springer was patiently struggling within the folds of the car rug and I was afraid he might work free.

Jim carried the extraordinary bundle down the street. The owner lived about eight doors south.

“Ring the front door,” said Jim. “We’ll make no back door peddling of this.”

I rang. I rang twice. I rapped.

“They’re out, I guess,” I guessed.

“Maybe they’re in the yard,” said Jim, starting around.

In the yard, on the clothes line, some sort of chintz curtain was hanging. My Dolly, sweetest and gentlest of dogs, was clinging to one corner of the curtain, taking little runs and a swing, and chewing and growling secretly and furiously with the fun.

Fair in the middle of the yard, in a bed of resplendent parrot tulips, elderly and amiable Rusty, most intelligent of all the dogs I ever knew, had all but vanished down an enormous hole he had dug, just his hind quarters and tail showing until Jim’s shout brought him backing out to look, with easy innocence, over his shoulder.

“Jim,” I said low, “drop that dog and let’s sneak.”

The kitchen window of the house next door squealed suddenly open and a red-faced lady put her head out.

“What are you doing with that dog in the blanket?” she demanded chokingly. “I’ll tell Mr. Hooper on you. The very idea. And look what those brutes are doing to his garden and to Mrs. Hooper’s chintz.”

Jim unrolled the Springer and he landed heavily and ran straight for Rusty, his hackles up.

“Those two creatures,” shouted the lady above the racket that Rusty and Dolly were making in a fight with the Springer, “are the worst nuisances in the entire neighborhood. And yet I catch you in the act of trying smother the loveliest, kindest dog in the whole city.”

Jim and I withdrew up the side drive and then turned and called Rusty and Dolly. They came, being glad to leave the Springer who was beginning to get rough.

We hastened up the street, the Springer pursuing us with hoarse and angry barks.

“It’s always the other fellow’s dog,” reflected Jim.

“And to somebody, I suppose,” I said, “we are always the other fellow. Should I let those people know who chewed the chintz?”

“No,” said Jim, as we turned into Jim’s yard. “The Springer will get the blame and it will all even up in the long run. He deserves the blame to make up for what damage he has done elsewhere.”

“These two,” I said, “never get any blame around here.”

“Oh, well,” said Jim, starting to walk along the borders to re-pet up all the little seedlings, “they behave around home. What more can you ask?”

So Rusty and Dolly, their tongues hanging out, followed us along, sitting down behind us to watch the job and getting up to follow whenever we moved five feet, and we rubbed their towsled heads and scratched their eternally itchy chins, and they looked up at us with half-closed eyes of adoration and perfect understanding.


Editor’s Notes: Pet ownership was not really that common until the rise of the middle class in the 19th century. You can see how things have changed, even since the time of the article in 1937. It was not unusual for dogs to roam free, even in a city. Children were warned to be wary of packs of dogs. Picking up dog poop was not a concern until legislation started in the 1980s. Even the concept of packaged dog food did not exist. Dogs were expected to just eat the scraps of the family meals. Canned dog food was only invented in 1922, and dry kibble was not invented until 1956.

A gymkhana is an Indian term which originally referred to a place of assembly.

Bow Wows Love New York

January 19, 1935

This is an illustration by Jim for a story by Merrill Denison, who he often illustrated for in the pre-Greg-Jim era of the early 1930s. Denison moved to New York to become a playwright and would still occasionally publish a story in the Star Weekly, usually about his dog, Boo Boo.

Case of the Useless Dog

By Greg Clark, December 26, 1942

“Do you want my share,” inquired Jimmie Frise cautiously, “of the Duchess?”

“Jim,” I replied craftily, “I will very gladly surrender to you any claim I may have on the Duchess. Two men can’t successfully share a dog.”

“Look,” said Jim. “You take her. You’ve only got that one little house dog, Dolly. I’ve got old Rusty for a house dog, and now, on the very eve of Christmas, I learn I am to get a beagle pup for my Christmas present.”

“Unless you live in the country,” I ruled, “two dogs is too many. My family would never let me keep the Duchess in addition to Dolly.”

“A lovelier English setter never breathed than the Duchess,” said Jim. “Besides, being a lady, she would make a perfect companion for your Dolly, who is getting old.

“Jim,” I said, “we made a great mistake, right at the start, in trying to deceive our families about who owns the Duchess. We agreed to keep her, week about; I telling my family she was your dog; and you telling your family she was my dog; and all we were doing was helping the other fellow out for a few days, by keeping her. The Duchess has only been a guest in our houses, Jim. The minute I try to put over the fact that she is a member of the family, there will be a row.”

“My family adores her,” submitted Jim. “But she sheds her hair. It’s all over the carpets, the chesterfields.”

“My family,” I confessed, “envies you the ownership of the Duchess. But there is an awful difference between having a guest in the house and making a stranger a member of the family. It is the same problem, for example, as choosing a daughter-in-law. The boys bring some awfully cute kids to the house. But when I look at some of them as permanent fixtures… I dunno!”

“Look,” pleaded Jimmie. “I’m getting one of Andy’s new litter of beagles. I’ve wanted a beagle all my life. Old Rusty is getting on in years. He has never been worth his salt as an Irish water spaniel. He’s terrified of water. And every time he sees a duck, dead or alive, he goes and crawls under the back kitchen. But a beagle… there’s the dog for the city sportsman! You can hunt rabbits almost on the edge of the city limits.”

“Aw, Jim,” I protested. “Don’t you remember the way we talked before we bought the Duchess? Last September? The greatest dog in the world was an English setter.”

“Well,” explained Jim, “in September, the pheasant season and the partridge season was just ahead…”

“A couple of weeks of shooting,” I snorted. “Out of the whole year. And how many days did we get off to shoot? Two. Yet we spent five bucks each on the purchase of a setter. And she turned out to be a lemon. And now she is a burden not only on our hands but on our consciences.”

“I Couldn’t Shoot Her”

“Boy, was she ever a lemon,” mused Jimmie. “When we bought her, I thought I had never seen a more perfect bird dog. She certainly looked as if she had been trained.”

“But out in the field,” I remembered, “she was just about as useful as a dachshund.”

“What could you expect,” said Jim, “for 10 bucks? Imagine two guys like us thinking we could buy a bird dog for five bucks each!”

“Well, as the fellow said when he brought her around to your house,” I reminded him, “the war has depreciated the value of sporting dogs. Only a few old guys like us can do any shooting now, and mighty little at that.”

“What we should have done,” said Jim. “was rent the Duchess from him. We could have paid five bucks each for two weeks’ rent of her.”

“Okay, then,” I exclaimed “why not take her back to him and give her to him. That’s one way of getting rid of her.”

“I’ve thought of that already,” replied Jim. “I went to the address he signed on the receipt, and there is nobody of that name living there. They’ve never heard of the guy.”

“That’s odd,” I suggested. “But isn’t there somebody else we could give her to?”

“Who wants a bird dog at this season of the year?” demanded Jim. “And besides, all our friends know she is no good. We made the mistake of yelling about what a lemon the Duchess is. If we had kept our mouths shut, we might have sold the Duchess to some real dog lover for a little profit on our 10 bucks.”

“She’s a beautiful beast,” I pondered, “but she’s utterly useless. Did you ever see a setter act so crazy in the field?”

“I never did,” said Jim. “Instead of birds, she seemed to be hunting for people. When we let her out of the car, instead of dashing out to find a pheasant, she visited every other human being she saw, and left each one sadly, as if she were looking for her master. It took us all morning merely to round her up. That’s no way to waste your time on one of the few hunting days we have now.”

“I was tempted to shoot her,” I submitted. “A real dog fancier has no sentiment about him. If a dog won’t work, he shoots it. But I’m a sentimentalist. I couldn’t shoot the Duchess. I couldn’t even speak crossly to her. She’s a lady.”

“Lady is right,” said Jim. “My family is crazy about her. Whenever it is my week to keep her, the family all says: ‘Aw, dad, why don’t you buy her from Mr. Clark.’ Is my face red?”

“Well, if it weren’t for the fact that we have one dog already,” I mused.

“Well, I can’t keep her, either,” declared Jim firmly. “I have it on the best authority that I am getting a beagle pup, six weeks old, and that is going to be all the dog the family will go for around our house, along with old Rusty.”

“There is only one way,” I stated, “to get rid of a no-good bird dog. It is a method well known to all dog lovers.”

“And what’s that?” inquired Jim.

“You put an ad in the paper,” I elucidated, “like this:

Found – Beautiful English setter, female, white with blue and brown markings. Appears well trained. Owner can claim by paying for ad and small amount for keep.”

“Ah,” smiled Jimmie. “Small amount for keep.”

“About 10 bucks,” I suggested.

“Five bucks each,” mused Jimmie. “But who will claim her?”

“The first crook who reads the ad,” I cried triumphantly. “There are guys who love bird dogs and who at the same time are as crooked as a dog’s hind leg. The minute one of them sees that ad, he will come rushing up here and take one look at the Duchess and rush up to her and fall on his knees and make an awful fuss over her. Of course the Duchess will respond. She’s a lady. And he will leap up and thank us a million. And 10 bucks to him will be a mere flea bite.”

“Owner Can Claim”

“Why should a crook pay 10 dollars for a bird dog at this season of the year,” demanded Jimmie, “when we couldn’t get an honest man to take her as a gift?

“It’s just the way of men,” I explained. “A man who is a little crooked will get more kick out of getting something by skullduggery than if he had the dog given to him.”

“We could try it,” muttered Jim.

“We’ll split the cost of the ad?” I suggested.

“You pay it,” said Jim, “and deduct my share from what the guy pays us.”

So it was with a good deal of pleasure I inserted an ad in the final edition of the paper so that Jim and I would both be home for the arrival of our victim.

“After all,” I said to Jim, “he will be getting a good dog. And the Duchess will be getting a good home, which is all we are worried about. We say she appears well trained. And the Duchess certainly does appear well trained.”

“Go ahead,” said Jim doubtfully.

I inserted the ad as outlined. “Found: Beautiful English setter, female, appears trained, white with brown and blue ticking, owner can claim after paying cost of ad and small expenses re keep.”

And Jim and I hurried home a little ahead of the 5 o’clock jam to wait. For, if my prescription for getting rid of a no-good bird dog was to work, the man who answered the ad would be up at the house hotfoot ahead of any possible competitors.

We had hardly got our coats off before there was a loud ring of the bell.

And the Duchess, who was reclining like a queen on the chesterfield, leaped up with a loud and joyous bark.

Jim opened the door to a heavy built and eager looking gentleman who, the minute he saw the Duchess let out a wild yell and the Duchess, like a lady swooning, fairly fell into his arms.

We urged the two of them to come in and shut the door.

“Daisy, Daisy,” crooned the stranger, tears flowing down his cheeks, and the Duchess blind with the light of love, emitted an endless series of little whimpers that was enough to make anybody weep.

“Where,” demanded the stranger, from his knees, “did you find her?”

“Er… aw … wuh…” said Jimmie.

The stranger rose to his feet and swelled himself up.

“Where,” he said slowly, “did you find her?”

Jimmie looked at me and I looked at Jimmie.

“Come, come,” said the stranger loudly. “I ask you, where did you find her? This is Daisy of Thermopylae, dual international champion, field and bench. She cost me $600. And she was stolen from my kennels on September 16.”

“Well, well, well,” I said, with profound interest.

Awkward Questions

“May I, inquire,” said the stranger, advancing on me and towering himself up, “where you found her? Your ad says you found her. Okay. Where did you find her?”

There was no use in trying to equivocate.

“Sir,” I said humbly, “we did not find her. We bought her, about September the 18th last for $10.”

The stranger staggered.

“For … 10 … dollars,” he whispered, reaching down and fondling the fine domed head of the Duchess, or Daisy.

Then he drew himself up again.

“You bought her, eh?” he gritted. “On the very eve of the bird season, she is stolen from my kennels. I have not only missed the pleasure of shooting over the finest bird dog that ever was sired, but I have missed two important shows and one field trial of the utmost importance, in the States. To me, the loss of Daisy of Thermopylae is a matter of dollars and cents. I have been robbed. Therefore, I propose to deal with the matter in forceful manner. I am going to hand you over to the police.”

“Hold on, there, mister,” interposed Jimmie who is bigger than I am, “just a minute. We bought that dog in good faith.”

“Who from?” inquired the stranger grimly.

“Aw,” said Jim, remembering that he had been unable to trace the man from whom we bought the dog.

“We have a receipt,” I cut in. “A signed receipt.”

“For $10,” sneered the stranger. “Show it to me.”

“As a matter of fact,” confessed Jim, “we went to find this man who gave us a receipt and there is no such man at the address.”

“A fine cock and bull story,” yelled the stranger. “You put an ad in the paper saying you found the dog. And when I claim my dog, you admit you bought her, away back in September, for $10. My fine friends, you can tell all this to the judge. Maybe he’ll listen. But I won’t.”

“Excuse me,” I put in. “Will you listen to a simple story of what has happened? All you’ve got to do is look at the Duchess  – or Daisy as you can call her – to see she has been well cared for. Have you to sense of gratitude for that? Suppose some cruel person had had her all this time…”

The stranger looked down at Daisy and immediately knelt down and petted her and felt her ribs and took her head in his hands and nuzzled at her in the curious love that men and dogs can share.

Crazy to Get Daisy

“And furthermore,” suddenly announced Jim, you haven’t satisfactorily identified her. How do we know you aren’t some faker, just making a fuss over the dog?

“I can produce a thousand witnesses,” declared the stranger, hotly, “to prove this is Daisy of Thermopylae.”

“Very good, produce them,” said Jim harshly.

“Look here, gentlemen,” said the stranger, changing his tone. “I’m so crazy to get Daisy back that I’ll forget all about the funny angles of the case if you’ll just let me quietly depart with her.”

“That’s better,” said Jim.

“On the other hand,” said the stranger, rising and buttoning his overcoat, “I do not feel under any obligation to pay you for Daisy’s keep nor even for the advertisement. You were harboring stolen property.”

“Not wittingly,” I put in.

“You did not know the vendor,” declared the stranger, “you bought the dog, at an absurd price – if you know anything about dogs – and you should at least have established the bona fides and title of ownership of this thief you bought her from.”

“All dog sellers look funny,” I submitted.

“Furthermore,” accused the stranger “when you tried to get in touch with that person later, you could not find him at the address he gave. Your suspicions should have been aroused at once.”

“I always thought there was something funny about the Duchess,” said Jimmie. “But the funniest thing about her is the way she behaves in the field. If she is a field champion then I’m a Mexican hairless.”

“Then I can produce documentary evidence,” smiled the stranger, “that you are a Mexican hairless. For this lady is one of the greatest bird dogs in the world.”

“She wouldn’t hunt for us,” I stated.

“Is it any wonder?” inquired the stranger, showing his teeth.

So we stood silently looking at each other while the Duchess tried to climb her lovely and lithe length into the stranger’s overcoat pocket, so desperate was she to be off and away with him, back to heaven somewhere.

“I tell you what I’ll do,” said the stranger at length. “I’ll pay the cost of the ad. But I’ll be hanged if I will pay you anything for her keep. That goes against the grain.”

“It has been a great pleasure and privilege,” said Jimmie, “to have had this lady as our guest for a few weeks.”

“Ah, then,” said the stranger, “I’ll pay $10 into any charity you gentlemen care to mention.”

“The Santa Claus Fund,” cried Jimmie and I both together.


Editor’s Note: The Santa Claus Fund is a charity that is run by the Toronto Star for children at Christmas. It still exists today.

Leading a Dog’s Life

December 31, 1937

This is an illustration by Jim for a Merrill Denison story. Jim used to regularly illustrate Merrill’s work when he was a regular writer for the Star Weekly. By the mid 1930s, he had moved to New York to write for plays, but would occasionally write another story for the Star Weekly, which usually starred his wife and dog.

To Close to Nature

September 7, 1935

One of the illustrations Jim provided for a Merrill Denison story. A former regular contributor to the Star Weekly, Denison had moved to New York by 1935 to write for Broadway plays, but still contributed infrequently. This was a story about squirrels invading his house and chewing on wood.

Leave it to the Ladies

By Greg Clark, March 22, 1947

“Hey, get out of here!” yelled Jimmie Frise:

He was speaking to his so-called Irish water spaniel, Rusty, who had just romped into the living room.

“Aw,” moaned Jim loudly, “just look at that MUD!”

Rusty’s sprawled paws were soppy with liquid mud. He left large loose footprints on the rug and on the hardwood floor as he tucked in his tail and retreated to the kitchen.

“At this season of the year, Jim,” I announced with sweet reasonableness, “you have to put up with a certain amount of dirt tracked in…”

Jim was up, swiping up the muddy footprints with his handkerchief. He followed Rusty to the kitchen and let out a wail.

“Just look here!” He shouted for me. “Just look at this linoleum.”

I went to the kitchen and it certainly was a mess. Rusty had apparently succeeded in pawing the kitchen door open and had brought in about a pint of lovely liquid goo from the melting back yard. He had tracked it all over the kitchen, as though trying to leave no square foot undecorated.

“Here, you!” commanded Jim angrily jerking the back door open. “Git!”

And Rusty, all abject, hustled out into the mucky garden.

“He’ll only pick up more,” I pointed out cheerily.

“What do other people, do?” enquired Jim helplessly, as he took the mop from the broom closet and started to mop up. “Nearly every home in the nation has a dog. What do they do when the spring break-up comes? Is every home in Canada mucked up like this?”

“I suppose so,” I agreed. “From late March until well into May, the average back yard or garden in this country is more or less liquid mud. Dogs will be dogs. You can’t keep a dog shut up for two solid months…”

“Well, if you can train a dog to sit up and beg,” demanded Jim grimly, “why can’t you train a dog to wipe its feet before it comes in the house!”

“I suppose some people have,” I supposed.

“That Rusty,” muttered Jim, looking out the kitchen window. “The most intelligent dog I ever owned. Understands every word I utter. Sits with me in the duck blind, in the autumn, and comprehends the whole game of duck shooting as well as I do. Lies like a rock until I shoot and give the command to retrieve. Up like a shot, into the water and locates the duck with almost human intelligence. And then … does a thing like this!”

He resumed his mopping fretfully.

“Jim,” I philosophized mildly, “this just gives you some idea of what the womenfolk of this country are up against, year in, year out. Just because your wife and family happen to be out this afternoon, you’re getting a little insight into what goes on here in your kitchen every day from now until the summer comes. Mopping, mopping, mopping.”

“I suppose,” said Jim reflectively resting on his mop.

“It stands to reason,” I pointed out. “Rusty goes out every day, doesn’t he? Several times a day? Yes? And every time he goes out, he romps around the muddy streets or the muddy garden, and tracks in…”

“I guess,” said Jim, “we don’t realize just what our wives really do. We’re so used to them busy about the house, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting – we never notice what it is that makes all the dirt until we happen to see Rusty, there, come bounding in onto the living room rug–“

“Heading straight for the chesterfield,” I reminded.

“He’d have been on the chesterfield in a second,” agreed Jim, “if I hadn’t yelled at him.”

Jim looked out of the window again.

“Just look at that fat-head!” cried Jim. “Look at him deliberately stamping in that liquid mud!”

“Listen,” I pleaded. “If you were a dog, wouldn’t you delight in the first signs of spring? That mud along that flower bed, Jim, is the first touch of spring for Rusty. After running around on the snow and ice all winter, in his bare feet, I bet that nice soft mud feels heavenly to him.”

“Well, he’s certainly not going to get back here in this house!” declared Jim indignantly, as he gave the kitchen linoleum a final flourish with the mop. “When I think of all the years I’ve let that darn dog, and all his predecessors, ladle mud all over the place …”

“Aw, the womenfolk are used to it,” I reasoned.

“Used to it!” cried Jim hotly. “Why, I blush all over the way I’ve behaved towards my wife and daughters. Never giving them a thought. Allowing that mutt Rusty to slather mud all over the place … Do you know what I’m going to do?”

“Send Rusty away to the country for March and April?” I suggested.

“No, sir,” asserted Jim, slamming the mop back into the broom closet. “No, sir! I’m going to TRAIN that dog to wipe his feet.”

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Jim,” I warned.

“Rusty,” stated Jim, “has got almost as much intelligence as you or I have. I’m going to start training him right now. I’m going to set a little baking pan of clean water out there on the back steps, I’m going to teach him to dip his paws, one after the other, in the water. Then — just inside the kitchen door — I’m going to lay some newspapers on the floor. And I’ll teach him to stand with his freshly dipped paws, onto the newspaper, scrape them on the paper to dry them…”

“Aw, Jim,” I protested, “poor old Rusty could never do that.”

“Haven’t you seen him,” interrupted Jimmie, last summer, scratching his feet energetically on the ground. Making the dirt fly? Every dog does that. Well, all I’m going to do is teach him to scratch like that on newspapers when he comes into the house.”

“I’ve got a far simpler idea, Jim,” supposed I, leading back into the living room. “An idea that has been staring us all in the face for centuries. An idea in fact, that has already occurred to plenty of dog owners — though not for cleanliness.”

“What’s that?” enquired Jim.

“Boots,” I said.

“Boots?” exclaimed Jim. “Dog boots?”

“Certainly,” I assured him. “Dog boots. I’ve often seen them in sporting goods stores. Little leather boots that lace up like a figure-skating boot do. Hunters use them on setters, pointers and hounds, when the dog’s feet get tender after too much running.”

“Well, I’ll be …!” said Jim.

“You’ve seen them?” I said. “Sure! They’re an every day thing for gun dogs. And why all the rest of us dog lovers, who have to keep dogs in city houses, haven’t tumbled to these dog boots long ago, I can’t figure out.”

“Why, how simple!” cried Jim.” Before you let your dog out on a muddy day, you just slip these little leather boots on him. He’ll soon get used to them. He’ll soon learn that he has to have his mud boots on certain kinds of muddy days. Why, it’s a brain wave. Where do you suppose we could get a set of them?”

I got up and went straight to the phone. I called two or three sporting goods stores. Yes. They had heard of dog boots. Oh, yes, in fact, a few years ago, they had had a few sets in stock. But they hadn’t seen any for some years, not since the start of the war, in fact.

“Order some, order some!” called Jim.

So I ordered a set, whenever they came on the market again, the right size for a dog its owner believed to be an Irish water spaniel.

“Well, well, well,” I said, resuming my easy chair. “Think of that!”

“Think,” protested Jim, “of all the women of this country, and what a saving it would be if every dog was trained to stop, before going out on a wet or muddy day, to have its boots put on!”

“From what I know of women,” I remarked, “I think they would prefer to do a little mopping than to have to be stooping down, every little while, to adjust four boots on a dog.”

“Greg,” said Jim seriously, “it’s about time we men began doing a little thinking about how our womenfolk have to slave and toil, over these trifling LITTLE things…”

“Personally,” I submitted, “I think it is safer for men to leave the domestic problems where they belong. It’s usually fatal to interfere.”

“This isn’t interfering,” exploded Jim. “It’s offering to the womenfolk of the world the benefit of the manly imagination, the masculine purpose and drive…”

“Mmm-mmm!” I disagreed.

Jim sat thinking. He suddenly clapped his hands.

“I’ve got it!” he explained. “I’ve got a sheet of light leather up in my den. I was going to use it for a patch on the bottom of my pack sack. Now, look!

I’m going to cut four little squares of this leather. It’s nice and light, but tough. Then, I’ll get four good elastic bands, and –”

He was off and up the stairs. He returned in a few minutes with four small patches of light leather, about five inches square, and a collection of assorted elastic bands.

“Now, see,” he exulted. “I place Rusty’s foot in the middle of this patch. I fold it up around his ankle and secure it with a rubber band. Presto!”

“Well, by golly,” I chuckled “it just might do!”

So we called Rusty to the back door. We spread a good pad of newspapers on the back steps. And then, while I held Rusty steady. Jim started to attach the new footgear.

Rusty didn’t like it much. He struggled quite a bit and protested vocally. He got twisted around so he could look at what Jim was doing.

“See, old boy?” cried Jim, patting Rusty’s noggin and holding up the first booted foot for Rusty to examine and sniff.

So Rusty, accustomed as he is to the oddities of human beings and resigned, largely, to the superior will, if not the wisdom, of his master, relaxed while Jim skilfully placed each paw in the centre of a leather patch, folded it up around the ankle and secured it firmly but not too tightly, with an elastic band.

“There,” declared Jim. “That will have to do until we get his new proper boots. It’s no trick at all to fix them on. The womenfolk will do it in a jiffy.”

I let Rusty go.

He stood for a moment, awkwardly. He raised one hind leg in the air and shook it sharply. He took a step. And as he lifted each foot, he would give it a quick, automatic kick.

He stepped cautiously down the steps, and at the bottom, turned and bit at his front paw.

“No, no, no!” warned Jimmie sharply.

Rusty stood uncertainly, gazing at the lovely mud of the lawn and garden beds.

“Go ahead, boy,” urged Jim softly.

Rusty took a couple more steps, giving each hind leg an automatic shake or kick as he lifted it.

Then he started to run.

“Hurray,” cried Jim, “he’s onto them already …”

But Rusty was running in wild circles. He was twisting and snapping and tearing at his paws. He fell over in his frenzy and rolled in the mud

“Hey,” roared Jim. “Hey!”

“Jim,” I cried, “he’s frightened. He’s going into a panic.”

Rusty was now rolling and biting and fighting madly in the thickest of the mud, the loose, soupy mud over by the lilac bushes. Rolling and kicking and tearing, a regular blur of mud.

Jim and I reached him simultaneously. To get to him, we had to do a little mud-wading ourselves. And to lay hands on him, we had to get a lot of mud in the face, and all over our hands, arms and knees.

“Steady, boy!” roared Jim, pinning him in the mud. And he started to unloose one of the boots.

But Rusty had had enough of our ideas. With a violent wriggle, he slipped from our clutches, and raced for the house.

The back door was open.

“Oh, OH, OH!” yowled Jim, as we sprinted.

But it was too late. We did not waste time trying to scrape our own feet. Nor even to shake any off our pant legs. We dashed through the kitchen, past the hall, into the living room.

And there, on the chesterfield, fought Rusty still game with his new footgear.

Well, Jim locked Rusty in the cellar. And we both peeled off, and got the mop, and the scrubbing pail AND the vacuum AND the broom.

AND some patent stuff for cleaning upholstery that we found in the cupboard.

And I am bound to say, we had at least the rough off before the womenfolk got home. At least, they wouldn’t have too much to do. No scraping, anyway.

“Now,” said Jim, at last, “I’ll go down and put that mutt in the laundry tub. And it’ll be lucky if I don’t DROWN him.”

“Aw, don’t blame the dog, Jim,” I submitted heavily. “Let’s just remember to leave domestic problems to the ladies.”


Editor’s Note: Jim’s dog Rusty appears in many stories. It might have been the same dog, or perhaps they all were turned into Rusty for the sake of stories.

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