The other day I was telling someone about a humorous memory from back in my college days at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. There were several dogs who hung around campus with whom I became acquainted. I named one "Pharaoh" that showed up at my door irregularly, but when he did, he simply hopped onto my bed and fell fast asleep. I don’t know how that got started, but he was one tired canine. Pharaoh was of mixed breeding, possibly with some Lab, as he had a beautiful shiny black coat.
On his first or second visit I discovered he almost was impossible to wake up. I don’t have a clue as to what he had been up to that wore him out so much, but he was zonked! For some reason I got the idea it would be funny to dress him up as he was sleeping on the bed. First, I put a tennis visor on his head, and he just lay there, unmoved and unmoving. Then I put gloves on his front paws, laid a tennis ball on top of one and a racquet on the other. Next, I put athletic socks on his rear legs. The dog never stirred once! I finished the ensemble with tennis shoes on his rear paws, and a pair of glasses on his face. I barely could contain my amusement. Reaching for my camera, I saw I was out of film, so I got my bicycle and rode – in the rain – to a convenience store to buy more. When I returned, everything was just as I left it. I took photos of Pharaoh the tennis player, ignoring the adage about what to do with sleeping dogs.
On his next visit, Pharaoh jumped right onto the bed, and soon was in dreamland. I put gloves on his paws again, a scarf around his neck, and sunglasses over his eyes. I recalled that Joey in the next room had a red bowler hat. His room was unlocked, and I helped myself. It was a good fit.
Something was missing, I thought. I put shoes on Pharaoh again, but still needed more to complete the look. I went back into the next room and looked around. On the dresser was a box of cigars. “A nice touch,” I decided, and took one of the cigars. Placing it in front of Pharaoh’s mouth, I was startled that he actually opened his jaws slightly and clenched the cigar between his front teeth! Otherwise, he never moved. Then, I ducked back into Joey’s room for one more prop – an empty whiskey bottle I saw on my last visit. I placed the bottle carefully on one of the gloves covering a paw. Voila! I got the camera out again. Somewhere, William Wegman was doing the same thing!
Again, I was amazed by how Pharaoh slept through it all. When I was finished photographing this slumbering dog, I returned Joey’s belongings to his room. I recall carefully placing the cigar, which had been in the dog’s mouth, back into its box.