"It is fatal to let any dog know that he is funny, for he immediately loses his head and starts hamming it up."
Today is the birthday of master humorist PG Wodehouse, creator of Jeeves and Wooster, and author of 96 novels and short stories (he was working on number 97 when he died on Valentines Day in 1975 at the age of 93. In addition to being arguable the funniest author ever Wodehouse was an animal lover, and particularly fond of dogs.
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After the controversy Wodehouse moved to America and continued to have a very successful literary career. He and his wife lived in Remsenberg New York in the Hampton's surrounded by dogs. They were particularly moved by the plight of stray animals in the area. It was common for families to come to the Hampton's for the summer and acquire a dog for companionship on their vacation only to abandon it at the end of the season. Usually not generous with his money, Wodehouse and his wife donated 20,000 dollars to Flora D'Auby Jenkins Kibbe to expand her Bide-A-Wee Human Association from a crowded building in Manhattan plagued by neighbors frequent complaints of barking, to a more spacious setting in the Hampton's.
Wodehouse's love for animals had a strong impact on his work and some of his most famous animal stories are collected in a A Wodehouse Bestiary
I re-read the book in honor of his birthday and it is as funny as I remembered. Perhaps every story included is not his absolute best, but my two favorite Jeeves and Bertie stories are included Jeeves and The Impending Doom and Jeeves and the Old School Chum. All in all we give the book a four paws up rating, or 31 paws up rating if we count every paw in the house (remember Ernie the cat has only 3 legs).
If you don't feel up to reading there is also a hilarious Jeeves and Wooster TV show available from Netflix. While neither Jeeves and The Impending Doom or Jeeves and The Old School Chum make the episode list there are many funny episodes and lots of them involve dogs. My favorite is Jeeves The Matchmaker which features an adorable Irish Wolfhound named Patrick. Here is a clip below, watch for a while and you get to see Patrick ruin Bertie's ill advised marriage proposal.
Dr. Zira and Ping enjoyed posing with the book and one of my tea pots: Tea for Two! (Two bad we had to our urban deck as our background and not an English manor house).