Puppetry for dogs

Rooster & Quack in the garden

Buki has a pair of stuffies named “Rooster & Quack” Quack is a sort of duck. And Rooster is a rooster. Rooster was Buki’s first toy. Buki came from Saskatchewan, along with Rooster, both accompanied by Daria & family (Toby Spribille & Viktoria Wagner), who very kindly found Buki in an on-line listing. Daria and her family drove all the way from Alberta to Saskatchewan (Daria didn’t drive, she was only 7). They picked up Buki and Rooster, and then drove from Saskatchewan to British Columbia to bring Buki home to us. Quack came from Washington State, with postage, thanks to our friend Susan Stuart. Both Rooster and Quack contain squeaky devices in place of vital organs. Despite their high-pitched vocality, they were inanimate, just a part of Buki’s toy collection. Until one evening, for some unknown reason (I turned them into puppets), they came alive.

Rooster & Quack in the rafters

Rooster & Quack are delinquents. They are without inhibitions. They get into trouble a lot. They’re thugs, just like Punch & Judy (pre-television era cultural reference). They fight with each other and have to be told that they are bad. And some nights, they attack poor Curtis, who has to fight back and then reprimand them even more severely, pointing the finger of shame and applying the same low-voice puppy-discipline language she used to hear when she did anything that needed serious correcting back in her puppy (imp) age. 

Rooster & Quack were caught raiding the tool shed

Every night at bed time, we enjoy a Rooster & Quack show. There’s a different story each time. And there’s always a fight. Sometimes it’s all one-sided, and so then the innocent one is rewarded with pity while the other sits facing the wall, in disgrace. But usually Rooster and Quack conspire together, like breaking into the hall closet to raid Buki’s kibbles:

Rooster & Quack where they ought not to be

All the Rooster & Quack stories have a moral. The overarching moral theme is one of punishment for bad behavior. But as an adult dog Buki is now so well behaved (I don’t mean obedient, I mean cooperative, there is a difference), she gets to enjoy the feeling of moral superiority over Rooster & Quack. And who doesn’t indulge in at least a little bit of schadenfreude over the punishment of others?

Buki watches these puppet shows wide-eyed, vocalizing a kind of canine astonishment. And then she falls over in breathy dog laughter. The first time Rooster & Quack came to life, she was literally jaw-dropped, eyes popping, and then she fell over sideways in a puddle of dog giggles. 

And now we know: Dogs understand puppetry. They have imagination. And humour. And schadenfreude.

Good night.

Rooster & Quack in jail

4 thoughts on “Puppetry for dogs

    • The house is livelier thanks to these cut-ups. I love creating little narratives for Buki, acted out by Rooster & Quack.

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