I was lucky enough to snag the first, and I believe only, print interview with Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, the Scottish deerhound who won “best in show” from the Westminster Kennel Club. The great lady — and 5-year-old Hickory is awesome — had just opened the New York Stock Exchange, appeared on all the morning television shows, and was being pursued by a posse of paparazzi. But that is to be expected when you are a star in New York.
Me: What do you like about New York?
Hickory: Pastrami sandwiches.
Me: What do you dislike about New York?
Hickory: There’s nowhere to run. Do you know that in rough country we can outrun a greyhound, anorexic creatures that they are?
Me: How far back does your family go?
Hickory: In Scotland, into prehistoric times. We brought down the red deer that fed the Picts and the clans before bows and arrows. That’s breeding, man.
Me: You don’t grant many interviews to newspapers, but you’ve gone from television studio to studio. Why is that?
Hickory: I like to control the message. You guys get it wrong.
Me: When you went up the Empire State Building and looked down, what impressed you?
Hickory: There’s nowhere to go to the bathroom without people watching. My heart went out to those poor creatures on leashes going up and down Park Avenue looking for, you know, the spot. Dreadful.
Me: What did you think of Central Park?
Hickory: Nothing to chase there except bicycles. No deer, no rabbits, not even one of those miniature degenerates you see in the expensive hotels. Anyway, three bounds and you’ve outrun them.
Me: You’re clearly very proud of your Scottish heritage, have you ever been to Scotland?
Hickory: No. I live in the Virginia Hunt Country and it’s the next best thing: loads of deer, squirrels, rabbits and low-slung, rodent-type things, like possums and woodchucks. Don’t run. Always going into holes. Not at all sporting.
I eschew foxes. I can tell you, I’m even apprehensive about Fox News. The stupid cousins, foxhounds, chase them and kill them sometimes. But really, I like my meals served in my bowl at home. No need to kill things in the Age of Alpo.
Me: You don’t live far from Washington and President Obama has a dog, a Portuguese water dog, named Bo. Would he interest you romantically?
Hickory: Wash your mouth out with soap. I wouldn’t run around a barn with a Portuguese water dog. And that name! It’s not much better than being called Spot. I have many names because I’m an aristocrat and I live in Virginia with other aristos, canine and equine. Soon I’ll marry a dog with a name like McTavish Ben Nevis Peebles MacDonald-Smith. We’ll have beautiful puppies which will have even longer names and will be bought by billionaires for big, folding money.
Me: What is your biggest indulgence?
Hickory: When nobody’s looking, I roll in manure. Oooh, it’s good fun. But they do kick up a fuss with shouting, baths and the pointed finger. I just look at them and think: Poor things, without me they would be nothing.
Me: What’s your favorite dinner?
Hickory: Venison, of course. Have you forgotten, I’m a deerhound? Also, I love Walker’s shortbread; all butter, sugar, flour — and very Scottish. But they don’t like me to have it. I don’t know why, considering that I’ve brought such credit on them and joy into their lives. Live a little, I say!
Me: On a delicate matter, one doesn’t usually expect a beauty queen to have coarse hair, a beard and whiskers. How do you feel about, well, being so hairy?
Hickory: That’s rude and I could bite your throat out! But right now, could you scratch behind my ears?
That’s better. You don’t have one of those pastrami sandwiches with you, do you? — For the Hearst-New York Times Syndicate