For a dog with a barrell-middle, our dog Macaulay has a surprisingly neat bottom. I would not call it large.
There are men like that, aren’t there? The neatest behinds despite the beer belly from Hades looming uncertainly above.
The dogs which have a fat bottom, we call Moogs, for reasons to which I shall come presently. Graceless, affable, over indulged creatures, they have been beloved of man for centuries. yet still they have the capacity to appear where we least expect them.
The American Museum of Natural History is a great, beautifully built cabinet of curiosities. The stuffed animals left me cold when we walked its corridors, but the anthropology had my eyes bulging from their sockets. It was an Aladdin’s Cave of story, and I could have spent all day there, travelling painstakingly from case to case. The Siberians I am saving for another day, but I must salute the fat-bottomed dogs which grin affably from their glass stands, small compact barrels, representations of kinetic energy for amyone who has ever owned a moog.
Alas, visiting with a family meant I was afforded just precious minutes there. I’m coming back, I resolved, alone, another year . And then I shall spend all day there.
The fat bottomed dogs hail from those strange shaft-tombs in Colima, Western Mexico; complex family trees fashioned in related tunnels underground, some centuries before Christ. There may be two reasons, the anthropologists tell us, why the ancient Mexicans put fat bottomed dogs in their tombs. Admittedly one reason could be that fat bottomed dogs could be eaten on the journey into the afterlife.
Or you can believe the other version, and I think I do. Fat bottomed dogs are spirit guides. They were put there in those subterranean tombs to guide the souls of the dead to a halcyon afterlife.
Look at them, though. One look at those little chaps is enough to know that they were companions, not lunch. The very thought of eating a fat bottomed dog is unsavoury; but as someone who trails a dog’s bottom through ancient forests every day, I cannot think of anything more comforting than following a moog’s behind to eternity.
I mentioned I would explain why we call them moogs.
Ready for something odd?
This is what a whole generation of English children – including me – were brought up on.