Providence resident Gary Walton was channel surfing Wednesday night when he stumbled across an episode of Animal Planet's "Pet Star," a show featuring animals tricked into performing wild and zany feats with the elusive promise of being fed.
"I saw the dog on the TV," recounted Walton, "and that's when I got the idea: what if my dog saw the dog on TV?"
Walton had many hypotheses about what would happen when his dog Atticus, a Chow Hound whose name he denies comes from the father in "To Kill A Mockingbird," would see the dog on television.
"Would he try to talk to it in dog language? Would he try to fight it and maybe kill it? Would he get really sad and whimper like that dog in "Homeward Bound" when the old dog gets hurt? I just didn't know," Walton explained.
But getting the Basset Hound-Chow Chow hybrid to look at the dog on TV has proven much more difficult than Walton anticipated. After he was situated squarely in front of the TV, Atticus seemed distracted and completely unaware of his fellow canine enthusiastically high-fiving Mario Lopez, the show's host.
"He doesn't give a shit," complained Walton, forcibly holding the dog's head in the direction of his television. "Look! It's one of you! Don't you care? Don't you fucking care!?"
Walton's inability to make Atticus look at the other dog has led him to make several conclusions about canines.
"Dogs don't like to watch TV," Walton deduced. "And it makes sense. It totally makes sense. Dogs can hear the TV dog's thoughts in the scene, right? And the TV dog is not really acting; he's working for a dog treat. So what's he thinking? 'I'm getting a treat I'm getting a treat I'm getting a treat I'm getting a treat!'"
After mimicking a dog as best as he could, Walton elaborated, "It's too distracting and the dogs watching can't suspend disbelief. Because you see … dogs are bad actors. For dogs at least."
Recently, The Herald's coverage of Walton's hypotheses has attracted the attention of the University's official Dog Whisperer, Nana "Momma" Partridge, who has subsequently launched a research team dedicated to exploring the intricacies of what many in the whispering world now refer to as the "Doggy No Watch TV Doggy Enigma."
According to their recent findings, all dogs appear to have a deep-seated, unprovoked hatred of Mario Lopez, whose ubiquity and all around TV-host whorishness make him inextricably associated with all of television. In a brief comment apparently unrelated to this article, Lopez's publicist mentioned that you can catch him Monday nights on CBS's new CSI: Some Other Fucking City.