• The most expensive dog ever sold was “Hong Dong,” which translates as “Big Splash.” A red Tibetan mastiff, he was purchased by a Chinese businessman in March 2011 for $1.5 million.
• Lord Byron, that great romantic poet, was forbidden to keep a dog in his rooms at Trinity College, Cambridge University. So, he kept a bear instead.
• Louis Dobermann, a German tax collector, developed the guard dog breed which still bears his name. Having borne his share of scuffles while trying to collect, he wanted a dog that would not only protect him but whose presence would serve as an incentive for the delinquent party to make payment. (Wow – talk about tax enforcement!)
• St. Bernard of Menthen (923-1008), Patron Saint of the Alps, founded two hospices for travelers in the Swiss mountains. He became famous for using St. Bernard dogs to rescue lost travelers. While there are numerous stories of heroic rescues, unfortunately, one of the St. Bernard’s who found a stranded traveler, turned on the hapless fellow and killed him. (Well, not every story has a happy ending.)
• The average human couple spend $27,000 on their wedding day. For two dogs, Baby Hope Diamond and Chilly Pasternak, the big day cost $158,187.26. Their glittering affair included a $6,000 wedding dress, a $5,000 sushi spread, and $15,000 for the orchestra! Held at the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York City, it won the Guinness World Record for the most expensive pet wedding ever. (But it wouldn’t be fair not to mention that this lavish expenditure was for a good cause: The proceeds went to the Lucky Diamond Critical Care Ward at the Humane Society of New York.)
• ln 1931, the American millionairess, Ella Wendel left a record legacy in her will to her pet poodle, Tiby. How much was the legacy? $15 million! For those who follow these things, Leona Helmsley, the so-called “Queen of Mean” left her dog, a Maltese named “Trouble,” $12 million and completely cut off most of her relatives, including her grandchildren, from any inheritance. (Meow… )
• Lassie, that fabled collie of yore, always referred to as “she” was, in fact, played by a series of males. (Well, maybe that’s not as significant as Humphrey Bogart replacing Ronald Reagan in Casablanca, but it does make one wonder how the films managed to get away with this little deception. The film editor must have been really good with those snip and cuts.)
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