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Fido says we should have a “Fantasy Dinner Party.”
We were watching “After the Thin Man” on television, partly because it is the best of the Thin Man movies, but also because Fido likes to watch Asta, the dog.
“Who would you invite?” Fido asked.
“Oh, I don’t know. Probably Lincoln and his dog, also named Fido. That’s where you got your name, and Mr. Lincoln was quite a storyteller, too. It’d be fun.”
“That wasn’t the only famous Fido, though,” Fido said. “There was Fido Soriani.”
“Never heard of this one.”
“Fido’s human was Carlo Soriani, who got himself killed in an air raid over Borgo, Italy, in 1943, during World War II. Fido waited in vain for the following 14 years for Soriani’s return, going daily to the bus stop where the man used to get off after coming home from work. Hey hey hey hey!”
“Who else?” I said to Fido.
“I’d go with Balto, the famous sled dog who led the pack on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome. Who else gets a statue in Central Park, OK?”
“OK, Fido, I get where you’re going with this. Mind if I jump in?” I set the DVD player on hold and scratched my whiskers.
“I’d say Winston Churchill, with his dog Rufus II. A lot of people think he had a bulldog, but he didn’t. He just looked like one. Rufus was a poodle, and his second poodle was Rufus II, but Churchill said the II is silent.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Actually, Fido, Churchill said he always wanted a pig.”
“He said, ‘Dogs look up to you. Cats look down on you. Give me a pig. He just looks you in the eye and treats you like an equal.’ At least that was what Churchill said. And I think I might go with Laika, Belka and Strelka for the party, too.”
Fido looked a bit confused. “Never heard of them,” he said.
“Well, Fido, Laika was a mixed-breed, like you. She became the first animal to enter orbit when she was launched into space aboard Sputnik 2. They called her ‘Muttnik.’ She was also the first Earthling to die in orbit because they didn’t make any plans for her to actually land.
“Belka and Strelka were two Russian mixed breeds who went into space aboard Sputnik 5 and got back all right. They were the first animals to survive an orbital flight. Strelka later gave birth to a litter of puppies, one of which was given to Caroline Kennedy by Khrushchev.”
“That sure would be a heck of a dinner party,” Fido said. He lay on the floor, next to my feet.
“Can you turn the movie back on now? Asta’s onto something.”