For those who don’t know, Ernie is part of the canine trifecta that likes to hang out at Contender. About two years ago, Ryan and Alison rescued him with the help of the good people over at CAWS and the West Valley Animal Shelter. Alison says that although Ernie was a ratted mess who seemed to have suffered a little too much neglect and outdoor living when animal services picked him up, he’s definitely living the high life now. I was impressed with Ernie the first time his huge ears and tiny body wobbled towards me and sniffed my leg. Talk about a little dude with a lot of personality. Amongst those in his elite inner circle, a common comparison made is between him and Yoda. I figured I’d sit down with the tiny fellow and a bag of treats to shoot some questions his way….
Like a king looking out from his throne, Ernie keeps an eye on Cyrus and Leo. Ernie notes that he, “jumped up there myself.”
So what kind of dog are you?
Hmm. Great question. I lead. I’m a leader and I’m a risk taker. I bark at reps I don’t like, I bark at bigger dogs and I’m constantly trying to jump onto things that I shouldn’t. That’s what I call risk. I mean, have you seen how small I am? Every dog is bigger than me. Have you seen my legs? I like to think I’m pushing past my limits. I like to look at things other dogs tell me I can’t jump onto, and then jump onto them. Or get someone to pick me up and put me on them. I’m pretty persuasive like that. Naturally the ladies love me. Did you say you brought treats? Someone said you had treats. That’s honestly the only reason I’m here.
No, I meant, what breed are you?
Oh, right, I’m a corgi and something smaller. Not really sure. But let’s get back to the ladies. Like I said, they love me. I can’t help it if they’re like, OMG, that’s the cutest corgi ever. I’m always like, OMG, then give me some treats and let’s see how comfy that lap of yours is, mama. It’s my curse, really. That and these infernally short legs. But like I said, I make up for it. Like, right now I can tell you want to give me treats and scratch my back. Look how cute I am.
[Fighting the urge] I gotta keep this professional, buddy.
Dude, give in. Everybody does. Just love on me.
Let’s talk about special talents. I’ve heard you can poop while walking.
Really? It’s going to be that kind of interview, huh? Ok, so maybe that happens. I get excited, everybody does. It’s just that I tend to poop when I get excited. Can’t help it.
Is it true your ears go back when you’ve done something wrong?
I didn’t know I walked into Frost/Nixon. What are you, a lawyer? Yeah, my ears go back a little. Who’s don’t? You’re telling me you’ve never walked through the living room and pooped, Ghandi? You’re going to sit here and tell me your ears didn’t go back when they caught you?
Ernie claims he has his learning permit. I’ve yet to uncover any documentation to prove or refute this.
Can’t say I’ve pooped in the living room, chief.
Right, stupid humans and their stupid indoor plumbing and stupid rules: “You’re dripping pee on the bed, get off. Stop barking at the vacuum. Don’t drink from the toilet” Well I’ve got news for you, I leak a little, the red suck-monster scares the crap out of me -literally. And here’s the best part, I CAN’T BLOODY REACH THE TOILET, OKAY?!
[ Long pause]
You alright? We need to take a break?
Did you want to wear me down? I told myself I wouldn’t do this [audible sniffle] -get emotional like this. My god man, you cut to the heart of it don’t you? That toilet thing just gets me. It’s a harsh reality of my life. I sit by and watch the other two, the taller ones [Cyrus and Leo], get all the free and interesting water they want from that shimmering porcelain grail. Imagine the barbarity as they walk by, the sweet sweet dew of success literally dripping off their smug chins. Me, staring up, asking, hey friend, what’s it like? What’s it taste like? It’s a vicious joke. [ heavy sobbing ]. I’m gonna need a treat.
Speaking of your size, A lot of people are surprised you can make it up the stairs.
A lot of people are looking to get their a** kicked. Treat, please.
I’m sorry little guy. I think we need to reset. Here’s a treat. Let’s talk about something a little happier. I heard you’re a big fan of the Strider bikes we have in the shop.
[ sobbing stops as he eats his treat ] Yeah….I….love those things.[ sniffle ] They’re the perfect size for me. I’m a big fan of Sigma Computers too.
One of Ernie’s favorite pieces of gear at the shop: The Strider push bike.
They gave me a hat. And treats.
Ernie’s shameless promotion of Sigma cycling computers. Which we carry.
Rumor has it you might be training for your first triathlon. Care to comment?
Ha! Where’d you hear that? I don’t really think I can comment on that right now.
So you’re saying the recent picture of you in a tri singlet is just a coincidence?
Where’d you get that? My publicist said he wasn’t putting that out yet. [to his entourage] Someone get Syd on the phone. And get me another treat. [turns back to me] Look, I’ll just say I dabble. I’ve been training. I do a lot of hot laps around the helmet displays at the shop.
Speaking of dabbling, do you always pee in the same spot?
I’m glad you mentioned that. No. I like to mix it up. Sometimes I’m a carpet guy, other times I really appreciate the way a puddle looks on a quality hardwood -maybe cement. I like to think I’m thoughtful enough to appreciate that stuff. It’s probably why I get so many treats. Do you have more treats? Also, when I go outside, I like the way grass tickles my belly. It’s crazy relaxing. Kind of a Zen thing, you know?
What if the grass is damp? I heard you don’t like getting your paws wet. Some have even described you as a ‘metrosexual mutt’, is that accurate?
It’s not inaccurate. Let’s say nicely quaffed, that’s better. I guess haters gonna hate. I’m gonna need a treat.
Who are your heroes?
I know the PC thing is to say Lassie or Snoopy or whatever. But I’m going with James Brown. He was short, but he was the godfather of soul. I like to think I’m the dogfather of funk.
So you listen to a lot of James Brown?
At the end of the day, I like to just curl up with my boys, put on some James Brown, and think about the ladies, their laps, and the treats I’ve had.
Ernie and Cyrus getting cozy
Well I think we’ve learned a lot today. Thanks for sitting down with me. You want me to lift you up so you can drink from the toilet?
Yeah man, I do. It’s time daddy drank from the promised land.