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His Imagination Is Fired by the Wrong Guy, Doggone It!

Every young man searching for his own place in today’s world would be well advised to heed the advice and example of sportsman, business executive and civic leader, George M. Steinbrenner.

Why do I say that?

I don’t.

I lifted that first paragraph directly from the Yankees’ 1985 media guide, from Steinbrenner’s biographical sketch.

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Since I am a member of the media that is supposed to be guided by the media guide, and since I am also a young man searching for his own place in today’s world, I heeded George’s example.

I fired my dog.

I hated to do it. He’s a lovable pooch.

I expect to get a lot of criticism from the neighbors, and there will probably be a nasty editorial in the next ASPCA newsletter. But hey, I’m not running a popularity contest here.

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It was something I felt I had to do. It’s in the best interests of the organization, ie : me.

Fogey--that’s my ex-dog’s name--hasn’t been a bad mutt, don’t get me wrong.

He has outstanding knowledge of the game of dogging, and he’s a hard worker. Never lets a Frisbee or a jogger pass without taking a bite. And I never had a dog that licked my car clean faster than Fogey.

He even had an excellent rapport with the press. It’s been three or four weeks since he last bit the newspaper delivery boy.

But to be completely honest--and what else can I be?--I’ve been a little disappointed lately in Fogey’s performance. He’s simply has not been effectively executing what I consider to be the fundamentals--fetching large logs from the neighbor’s firewood pile, attacking burglars and giving rides to the kids on the block.

Maybe that’s too much to expect of a Chihuahua, but I wouldn’t ask him to do anything I wouldn’t do myself, if I had the time.

People ask me, how has this firing been on Fogey?

“Ruff,” is all he would say for publication.

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But he’ll be all right. One misconception I’d like to clear up is that I fired Fogey. I know I used that word myself, but it’s just a figure of speech. For me, it’s kind of a term of endearment.

I never really fire a dog. What kind of guy do you think I am? I’ve had dozens of doggies, and when they don’t work out, I simply reassign them.

I do that because I’m kind-hearted, generous, and because I don’t want them to go off to another home and write nasty books about me.

I’ll assign Fogey to some important capacity in the organization, like chasing cars.

Some of my ex-dogs, I reassign them to scouting jobs. Scouting for new homes. Just kidding!

A lot of them wind up getting invited back for another shot at the feet of yours truly. Funny thing is, they hardly ever get smarter from one time to the next. But I keep ‘em in the rotation anyway. You’ve heard of pitching rotations? I’ve got a doggie rotation.

Why do they keep coming back? Lord knows. I guess it’s because this is a good job, and even though I’m demanding, I’m fair. Besides, what else can they do? Not many of them are qualified to go to work in the computer industry.

So you may even see Fogey back here some day. Right now, though, he’s just not giving me the kind of motivation and leadership I need. Maybe it’s not all his fault, but what do you want me to do--fire myself?

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I can’t blame my dog if my columns haven’t been real sparkling lately, but let’s face it--it’s a dog’s job to provide motivation and leadership.

Is it too much to expect my dog to remember which side is up when he pops my TV breakfast in the microwave? Little things. But then, I’m a detail man.

I don’t enjoy this business of firing dogs. Don’t think I’m without conscience, that it doesn’t bother me to boot faithful pooches out into the cold night. It does. That’s why I hire people to do it for me.

Despite rumors you’ve no doubt heard, I’ve never fired a dog and had him put to sleep. That’s too expensive. Very cruel, too. I asked the people at the pound how they do it. Do they gas ‘em, or what?

The pound man told me the most effective way to put dogs to sleep is to read them excerpts from Steinbrenner’s biographical sketch in the Yankees’ media guide.

But let’s not dwell on all this depressing talk. Right now, I feel good because I went out and hired myself a new dog. I think he’ll shake things up around here.

Actually he’s not even a dog. People were taking advantage of Fogey because of his doggie nature. The old boy just didn’t command any respect. Our mailman has even been wearing shorts!

I need toughness, someone to take charge. So instead of a new dog, I hired a rat. Hope you like him.


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