With Mum in charge of the Royal Curriculum, I never know what I’ll learn next. This time, she shared Parade Magazine’s Animal Edition on earnings. I was surprised to hear that people dress up like animals for more than Halloween. They dress as animals for sports teams, and they’re called mascots—and, get this--they can make into the six figures. Now, I ask you, “Why not have a live animal like me instead of some imitation?” After all, UGA--the University of Georgia for the uninformed-- has a real bulldog named Uga.
“Mum,” I ruffed, “What’s with these teams who have fake animals?” Her answer was something about real animals being dangerous. OK, I’m pretty quick on the uptake. Georgia Tech, the team my family roots for, can’t have a live yellow jacket as a mascot. I’ve snapped at enough of those little things to know their sting can be pretty painful, especially on the tongue. Can’t say that I’ve encountered any lions and tigers or bears, but I can see where live ones might not be a good idea.
Forget humans dressed as animals; there are animals, actual animals, who earn lots of money. Three dogs have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Strongheart. If you’re Mum’s age, you’ve probably heard of Lassie and maybe even Rin Tin Tin. If you’re a youngster, you may have to google all three of these famous dogs, and unless you’re close to 100 years old, you’ll surely need to google Strongheart. A German shepherd, he starred in “White Fang” in 1925. Over his career, ol’ Strongheart earned $2.5 million. There was no mention of Rin Tin Tin and Lassie’s earnings. Maybe they got paid in treats.
Here’s a shocker for you about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show winner. I must admit that watching all those well-trained and well-groomed dogs strut their stuff wears me out. Can you imagine the workouts they endure to be able to run, leap, and all that? Talk about no rest for the weary. The Royal Pooch is a star in his own right but has no ambition to star in a Dog Show. When I learned that Dog Show winners win neither money nor belly rubs, I was positive they must all be crazy. They win a silly pewter bowl. I repeat: for all that work, they get a bowl, and it’s not filled with table scraps or even dog food.
Even more astonishing to me? Cats can earn lots of money. Don’t get me wrong; I think my feline sister Princess Puddin’ is stunningly beautiful, but I don’t see why anyone would pay her. I’ve never heard of Nala Cat who has 3.5 million Instagram followers, an online store, and sponsorship deals with pet companies. I have an Instagram account, @lordbanjotheroyalpooch, but I don’t have anywhere near that many followers. Perhaps Mum needs to focus more on promoting moi.
Then there’s Grumpy Cat. I’ve seen her videos and can’t see the attraction in a perpetually grumpy cat. If you must have a cat, wouldn’t you want one like Puddin’? One who’s gorgeous and good-natured. If Grumpy Cat can sell books and cards and even have a TV movie, then Puddin’ needs an agent.
For that matter, after hearing about mascots and dogs and cats who earn loads of money, the Royal Dad thinks both Puddin’ and I need agents. Mum is either not working hard enough or is not up to the job. Uh-oh, judging from the look on Mum’s face, it may be time for both Dad and I to make a fast escape.
Find “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” on Amazon. Contact Lord Banjo and the Royal Mum at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.