The Kurz Korner

Amusing Articles 

By Richard C. Kurz

Whenever I think about puppies, I think about several events in my doggie career that involved the fuzzy little critters. ...
Later these events often proved to be rather invaluable lessons. In fact, I learned a lot that time we began searching for our first show puppy. ... Perhaps you might be interested.

Both my wife and I had been around dogs and cats when we were youngsters so we saw no reason to deny our own children
such a blessing. We had decided that, rather than the mutts we
had known and loved, we were going to find an honest-to-God,
real, AKC registered animal. What better place to see some than at a local dog show? ... Right?  

Off we went and what a sight it was!. ... Why, it was a carnival! .... Tents and flags and booths and dogs and people! ... People of every description! ... We had to be a part of this. ... Simply a registered dog would no longer be good enough. ... We had to have a show dog! ... A dog that would get

The people we met at that show seemed to be congenial enough.
They acted eager to let us in on all of the most inside
information.. We didn't notice then that each exhibitor had his
or her own inside information, nor did it bother either of us
that some straight scoop often conflicted with other straight
scoop, or made no sense at all. This was a phenomenon we would
later learn to enjoy and to join in ourselves.

Reality is a second-class citizen at the dog show.

 We were directed by some very connected ringsiders to a
gentleman described as, "the hottest breeder of German Shepherds in the country", one Gunther Murphy, who by sheer happenstance, lived only an hour from us, or so we were told. They led us to understand that Dr. Murphy, as many still called him, had relinquished a remunerative position as Chief of Pharmacology at University Hospital to focus his full attention upon the breeding of fine German Shepherd dogs. Although no one seemed to be able to remember ever seeing Murphy in person, or actually talking to him, all were quick to assure us that the Murphy animals were indeed modern treasures. In fact, should we be lucky enough to acquire one of his shepherds, we would have to keep it under lock and key because many had simply disappeared .. stolen.

We drove to his "kennel" that following weekend. "Murphy Manor" turned out to be more like four hours away and the place was not exactly what we had expected.  Recent thunderstorms had turned the last thirty minutes of the ride into a four-wheel drive commercial on unpaved roads.

 The Blazer was a mess. Clods of heavy mud plopped from our
wheel wells as we pulled up. Gunther's wife, the lovely Magda,
beside her young son, Rashaad, waved to us through the screen
door of their double-wide. I didn't see or hear a sign of a dog
as I glanced around the property. ...  Grass, what there was of
it, grew in patches around a swing set rusting in the front yard
near a 1951 Hudson Hornet turned on its side and left to die.
Untended Pansies struggled to grow inside several auto tires
strewn about and painted nearly the same shade of fading beige as the trailer. A sparkling Harley had been left leaning near the porch.

 "Y'all go on around back. .. This here door's nailed shut. ...
Gunny! ... They're here!"

 I began to feel uncomfortable. ... The place smelled somewhat
gamy and didn't appear to have been cleaned at least since young Rashaad was an infant. 

 Dr. Gunther Murphy was seated at a kitchen table, a King Edward clenched in his teeth. He  popped a fresh can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. A rolled-up T-shirt revealed, "Born to Polka" tattooed on his flabby upper arm. He appeared to me to be less than a six-pack away from turning into a sniper. .. On the wall behind him, hung a velvet painting of G. Gordon Liddy and, next to that, an electric "Bug Zapper" was plugged in and seemed very busy.

 "Pleased to meet you, Doctor," I said stepping over a chain saw and reaching to shake his hand.

 "Yeah! ... You can call me 'Doc' like ever'body else."

 "I heard that. .. How long have you been away from the hospital now?"

 "Three years and five months. ... Got out early."

 "Early retirement?"

 "Early release." .. He shifted in his chair.

 "Pharmacology was your line?"

 "Well .. sort of. .. I was kind of an informal sales rep."

 "I see." .. I decided to change the subject. .. "Well, we were
told that this is absolutely the only place to come for a really
good German Shepherd."

 "Got that right. .. What color you want?" ...  

 "Black and tan, I guess. Aren't they all ..."

 "You one of them show folks, ain'cha?" ... He interrupted.

 "Well, we're thinking about it."

 "Ya'll probably need a black or black and tan one then. .. Them
judges don't much like the others."

 "The others?"

 "Yeah. .. The others: blonde, white, blue, black and white. ..
You know. .. The others. ... Bitch?"

 "Yes, honey." .. Magda answered.

 "I was talkin' to the man here. .. Y'all want a dog or a bitch?"

 "We were hoping for a puppy bitch. .. Do you have a promising

 "What you want is more important than what I got. .. I'll get
you anything you need." .. He smiled and snatched a pad of paper
from the table. .. "Now. .. Let's see. .. A puppy bitch. ...
Black and tan. .. Show quality. .. How about one that's won a
few ribbons already?"

 "Is that possible? .. I never dreamed .."

 "Anything's possible. .. Will this be with X-rays, or without?"

 "Gosh, if X-rays are available, that would be great."

 "Magda, we got any X-rays left?"

 "Lots, Gunny." .. Magda opened a kitchen drawer and waved a
fistful our way.

 "Good. ... They'll probably need an OFA normal set now. ...
Don't forget. .. Now, about that pedigree. ... Y'all gonna want
some German in there, or is all-American your thing?"

 "I hear that the German lines are really desirable now. .. But

 "Mark that down, Magda. .. Make sure you put some German in
there. .. Hell, we can make her an import, if you want. .. Wanna

 "I don't believe that we can afford that."

 "Same price. .. All my puppies are the same price. .. $750.00.
.. We'll make her an import. .. Tattoos will cost ya $50.00
extra though."


 "Sure. .. You can't be too safe nowadays, you know. .. These
dogs get stolen all of the time. .. We can tattoo your name or
an OFA number in there so as nobody can steal her from you."

 "Can we see her?"

 "That ain't the way we work." .. Gunther stared at his feet as
he spoke. .. "We don't keep no dogs here, you see. We keep 'em
at our "subsidary" kennels all over the country. You sign up
with me for this here bitch y'all want; give me half the money
up front in cash, and she'll be here waitin' for ya this time
next week. .. X-rays, ribbons, pedigree, and all."

 "That seems like a rather odd way to do business, Doc."

 "What? .. Odd? .. Yer talkin' to the leadin' German Shepherd
man in this here state!" .. He crushed the empty PBR can and
popped another. .. "Magda and I are here bustin' our asses to
provide you folks with what y'all want and you call it odd? ..

 All the statements I had heard at the show about how Murphy's dogs were winners rushed back to mind. We certainly wanted a winner.

 "OK, Doc. .. You gotta deal."

 I paid $400.00 in cash that day. .. Because we were so nice, 
Doc volunteered to deliver the puppy to our place the following week in person and deliver it he did. He brought the dog, the X-rays, the pedigree, several ribbons, and a chew toy as well. 

 "Now don't show her for a few months." Gunther cautioned. "She needs some time to cool off."

 We supposed that "cool off" was dog talk for becoming
accustomed to her new surroundings. ..We named her Magda, after Mrs. Murphy, and began "cooling her off" immediately. ...Indeed, the ringside advice soon proved to be invaluable. ...
That very weekend the local newspapers reported that some
scoundrel had stolen a German Shepherd puppy just like ours from a show home over in Lyle County. We were certainly glad then that we had paid extra for that tattoo.

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