During the last 24 hours, things have just not gone my way. I’ll spare you most of the details, and just pick up with Tillman (pictured with owner Ron) getting eliminated from Greatest American Dog.
This week was all about personality. It should’ve been Tillman’s time, if you consider barfing and farting in the swimming pool "personality," which I do. In canines. But no. First, Tillman whiffed it in the Dog Bone Challenge, which involved the owners predicting whether their dogs would take or leave things set before them. We all saw Tillman drool on the steak in the obedience challenge, so I was as confident as Ron was that Tillman would as least lick Round 1′s piece of steak. He didn’t. (J.D. and English Border Collie Galaxy went on to win the challenge and banished Travis and Presley to the Dog House.)
The Best in Show competition asked the owners to work with their dogs in a photo shoot to produce an image that best represented an adjective they’d randomly selected. Tillman got LAZY. As J.D. proclaimed, "We have a winner!" But no. Ron was lazy and didn’t work with Tillman on his lounging positions, so Tillman could do nothing at the shoot. According to the judges, the shot of Tillman resting his head on the back of the chair was the most boring shot ever taken of a Bull Dog. I wouldn’t go that far, but it was unimaginative and disappointing. Ron and Tillman ended up in the bottom three, along with Brandy and Beacon, and Teresa and Leroy.
After the jump, Brandy is full of crap and Teresa is in deep doodoo with the judges.
So once again, I was hoping it was Brandy’s week to go home. She and Beacon drew the word loving and brought the predictable heart and rose props with them to the shoot. I actually liked the image they ended up using, a shot of Beacon sitting, wearing a rhinestone collar, and looking up adoringly — though I doubt that when the photo was taken, Brandy was consciously trying to capture the idea of a man kneeling and proposing. Please. The only good thing about Brandy staying is that Travis has had enough of her self-absorption and knows how to handle her: She interrupted him trying to commiserate with her about the challenge with a serious "Can we focus on me?"; he came back with a calm "Yeah, let’s do. Might be the last time you’re here." Well done, sir. I just would’ve said something classy like, "You can suck it."
Teresa drew the word angry, which was admittedly one of the more difficult assignments … if your dog is always happy and/or bites when it finally gets pissed. (Hey, don’t get mad at Leroy for going Method.) Teresa’s idea was to anger Leroy by spraying him with something. That failed to get a rise out of him, so she took film producer Laura’s advice and used the movie magic known as "snarl bands." I knew this was a bad idea immediately, and I was right: The judges said it was inhumane. I give Teresa props for not selling Laura out as the provider of the bands, but take them away for her telling the judges that Leroy liked wearing them. (Cut to the replay of Teresa telling Leroy something like, "I know you don’t like these," as she put them on him.) Here’s my question: Doesn’t Leroy play with toys? Why couldn’t she have wound him up with a little match of tug of war, then pulled out of the shot? And if he is always docile, she could’ve gotten creative with props. She could have cut a few toys up into bite-size bits, as if Leroy had destroyed them, then just gotten him to give a serious face. (Me talking about a dog’s "serious face" is no more ridiculous than the judges debating whether Laura’s Pomeranian Preston really looked regal with his head tilting to the side.)
So, who will miss Tillman (he farted on his farewell lap!) and who will miss Ron? (That man was always good for a quote: "I like Bill. He has a good laugh. He puts up with Tillman’s gas. I’d have no problems seeing him win this thing.") Which photo did you like best? (Galaxy’s "sneaky" pose, which will appear in the pages of Dog Fancy, was pretty great. You’ve got to give J.D. that.) How much do you want to slap Brandy? (You’re engaged, lady, let Laura and Travis flirt in the kitchen if they want to!) And um, how inhumane do next week’s challenges look? (Walk your dog across a mini-moat, and make it dance with you? Bite her, Leroy! Bite her!)