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Outdoors Outpost
Dog and Donkey Show
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 • Posted January 24, 2013

What with everyone all in a tizzy about gun control, and the economy, and the recent presidential inauguration, we seem to have seriously dropped the ball, here. No one, evidently, is the least bit concerned about one of the most dangerous killers in the world – revolving doors.

OK, in truth, revolving doors don’t kill all that many people. Or any. At least, I’ve never heard of anyone dying in a revolving door accident. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous. A case in point is Alan, a miniature dachshund that belonged to an editor’s assistant at the British magazine Tatler.

Jennifer George, Alan’s owner, took him to work with her every day, and he was the magazine’s unofficial mascot. He was loved by everyone there, despite the fact that he barked with a British accent. Alan even had a twitter account, with 2500 followers, which is approximately 2490 more followers than I have on twitter. But then, I’m not as cute as Alan was.

Yes. Was. Alan was recently involved in a horrible accident in the revolving door of Vogue House, where the magazine’s offices are located. The Mirror story I read was a bit vague, but Alan apparently got caught in the door, and was squished to death.

The fire department was called, of course, but was unable to save Alan. Which makes us all wonder when the failed British Parliament will finally take action and ban revolving doors once and for all. Or at least require dog owners to use alternate entrances, so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.

My editor at the Mason County News, Gerry Gamel, also has a miniature dachshund, named Dozer, that goes to work with him every day, and pretty much reigns at the newspaper office. What Dozer lacks in size he makes up for in volume, especially anytime I show up. I don’t think Dozer cares much for me, but I’d hate to see the little guy get hurt. Thankfully, the MCN office has no revolving doors.

But Alan isn’t the only deceased animal in the news lately. An unnamed donkey in Kweneng, Botswana made headlines recently when it was run over by a Google Street View vehicle. Or not. That story is still developing, but as you know if you read this column regularly, I never allow minor details, such as facts, to get in the way of a good story. And this story is, if not good, at least interesting, as donkey stories go.

Perhaps you wonder, when you log into your computer and go to Google Earth, and see pictures of various places as if you’re standing on the street yourself, where those pictures come from. Obviously someone had to take them, in order to put them on the website. Duh.

Actually, I always kind of wondered about that, myself. If you’ve never tried Google Earth, it’s pretty neat. If you, say, have to go to a certain hospital you’ve never been to before, you can get on the Google thing and punch in the address, and see what the streets in the area actually look like. So when you drive there you can look for landmarks, and it’s easier to find your way. Very convenient.

Well, to get those pictures, Google sends their vehicles all over the place, and they drive along every street and take the pictures. Such a vehicle was taking photos in Botswana a while back, and ran over a donkey, and killed it. Supposedly.

A series of Google pictures were released recently, and quickly went viral, showing what looked like a Google Street View vehicle hitting a donkey, and the donkey falling down dead. Bummer. As you might imagine, Google was taken quickly to task by the animal folks, complaining that the Google people were heartless and cruel and their parents probably weren’t married. The usual stuff.

But Google responded to the accusations forthwith, claiming that the pictures were shown in reverse, which made it look like the car had hit the donkey, when it really hadn’t. They said the donkey was lying in the road, and it got up when the car approached, and walked off as the vehicle passed, happily going about its business, engaging in donkey-related activities, such as kicking.

Since I know my readers want the truth, I spent upwards of five minutes reviewing the pictures, personally. They show a dry, dusty road, supposedly in Botswana, wherever that is. The donkey was, at one point, lying down, and at another point standing up.

My conclusion is that, God willing, I will never, personally, have to travel to Botswana. It looks like a singularly inhospitable place, and if I were to rent a vehicle there, it seems likely I would end up running over a donkey, or something else, and lose my deposit. And maybe my lunch.

The good news is that there aren’t many revolving doors in Botswana, or doors of any other kind that I could tell, so miniature dachshunds should be fairly safe.

At least until a Google car comes along . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who once hit three cows with a pickup. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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