Are We Nuts, Or Is There a Shaggy Dog in This Tree?

dog1Daniel Maurer

This is going to sound crazy. Really. But last night we were strolling through Washington Square Park and became convinced that there’s a dog in this tree. No, not up the tree (the tree has actually been sawed in half) but right there in the actual trunk.

Can you see it?

Just in case, we’ve superimposed a photo of an actual shaggy dog.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “So what? The tree looks kind of like a dog. It’s not like it’s the Virgin Mary. It’s not like it’s ‘Lou Reed’ on a lion.” But the fact is, Edgar Allan Poe, who lived right off of Washington Square Park, once penned a story, “The Business Man,” about a swindler named Peter Proffit who has his dog rub up against people’s shoes just so Proffit can then offer to shine them. Here’s the passage.

My little dog, too, was quite fat and up to all varieties of snuff. He had been in the trade a long time, and, I may say, understood it. Our general routine was this: — Pompey, having rolled himself well in the mud, sat upon end at the shop door, until he observed a dandy approaching in bright boots. He then proceeded to meet him, and gave the Wellingtons a rub or two with his wool. Then the dandy swore very much, and looked about for a boot-black. There I was, full in his view, with blacking and brushes. It was only a minute’s work, and then came a sixpence. This did moderately well for a time; — in fact, I was not avaricious, but my dog was. I allowed him a third of the profit, but he was advised to insist upon half. This I couldn’t stand — so we quarrelled and parted.

(Side note: Profitt is also in the “Eye-Sore” trade, wherein he erects a mud hovel or a pig-sty next to someone’s palace and charges them for taking it down. Sound vaguely familiar?)

Some stuff we made up on a slow news day Legend has it that the dog in the tree is the ghost of Pompey, the very dog from Poe’s story, and if you get too close to him he’ll splash you with mud.

So, I don’t know, be careful?