Our dog, Chester, should never play poker…

You’ve probably seen the artwork somewhere before — on a wall behind a bar in a back country tavern or in someone’s tacky pool room. It’s the famous series of works by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, “Dogs Playing Poker.” He began creating the series in 1894, showing anthropomorphized dogs around a table playing poker, smoking cigars, cheating at cards and generally having a good woof of a time. Sixteen of the 18 paintings were commissioned by Brown and Bigelow to promote cigars they distributed around the turn of the century. One art critic described the work as being  “indelibly burned into … the American collective schlock subconscious…”

“A Friend in Need” by C.M. Coolidge, 1903

Here’s a link to a Wikipedia site which gives additional information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogs_Playing_Poker

I mention this because our dog Chester, a not-quite three-year-old rambunctious Golden Doodle, has the most elastic face and transparent mannerisms I’ve ever seen on a dog. His eyes constantly roll around when he’s pondering something and his John L. Lewis* eyebrows constantly twitch as he ponders. He peeks around corners in hopes of not revealing himself or his intention, smiles (yes, big toothy smiles) when he’s deliriously happy and leaps higher than my head when he knows one of his favorite admirers is about to give him a treat. Chester would simply bust up any chance of winning a poker hand because of his give-away looks. I’m attaching some examples, with what I think he may be revealing to others at the dog poker table.

“Yeah, I’m bad, I’ve got a straight you can’t beat…”
“Oh no, three low clubs, a low diamond and not a even single one-eyed Jack…”
“I can’t believe I raised the bet on this stupid hand…”
“Ha, ha, ha, you sucker, I got a Royal Flush…”

*John L. Lewis was a famous labor leader from the early to mid 1900s, noted for his over-the-top bushy eyebrows and his unflinching command of the United Mine Workers of America.

Image result for john l. lewis eyebrows
John L. Lewis and his iconic eyebrows, much like Chester’s.

2 thoughts on “Our dog, Chester, should never play poker…

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