Why on this page do you focus on dogs instead of bikes?
Because Oy Velo’s mascot, Lebowski Cohen, is a Jewish American Puppy and Oy Velo is eager to share information about how to raise a Jewish dog. For information on this topic, Oy Velo decided to read the somewhat topical book How to Raise a Jewish Dog by The Rabbis of Boca Raton Theological Seminary (as told to Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman).
How to Raise a Jewish Dog provides an in depth look at techniques for dog rearing within the Tribe. Please note that these techniques are effective when used on goyum members of Canis lupus familiaris as well.
You may recognize some of the tactics employed by the Rabbis from your own Jewish upbringing, such as guilt and situational martyrdom. For example, "What, would it kill you to sit down for one lousy second?" and "This is the thanks I get for letting you chew up my good Thorlo socks?"
The book also contains inner monologue transcripts from the minds of Jewish dogs; chapters on diet, travel, and mental health; and a comprehensive dog sitter intake questionnaire (which Oy Velo recommends you copy and distribute prior to retaining a dog sitter).
After reading this book, I am pleased to report that Lebowski is being raised properly:
First, and most importantly, he knows he is the cutest, most wonderful dog in the world (as does everyone who has ever been within a 10 mile radius of me). Yes you are Bowski. Look at your adorable inside-out ears, I love it when they do that. Yes I do. Bowski, did you just get cuter? I think you did. Tilt your head sideways. You're a good boy. Yes you are. Yes you are.*
*To be recited two octaves higher than soprano; only dogs and dolphins should be able to hear you.
Second, he has never worn a bark collar or muzzle and never will, regardless of how many noise ordinance violations he racks up (he’s perfect and my neighbors are just jealous).
Third, Lebowski has accessories for every occasion: doggles and a seatbelt for the car; backpack and shoes for camping; raincoat, sweater, vest and/or hat for inclement weather; casual wear for everyday; and formal wear for evening.
Finally, Lebowski is very smart and persuasive. For example, he convinced me to stop renting my inexpensive conveniently located apartment in exchange for an expensive house in the suburbs with a yard and a doggy-door (a point I regularly bring up when guilting Bowski).
Recently, Oy Velo had a chat with Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman, husband and wife, and co-authors of How to Raise a Jewish Dog. Ellis is an author and humorist who has previously worked as an editor of National Lampoon and a columnist for Spy Magazine. His humor has also appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review and New York Times Magazine. Barbara is a writer for television and movies.
This is a very special interview because in order to arrange it, I had to stalk Ellis and Barbara, dognap their youngest son Seth, and hold him for ransom until Oy Velo’s interview was granted. Enjoy!
Oy Velo: Hi Ellis and Barbara, thanks again for the interview, and for not pressing charges.
Ellis Weiner: No problem.
Barbara Davilman: Thank you for having us, our lawyer will be in touch.
OV: Sure thing. First, I loved the book. Very funny!
EW & BD: Thank you.
OV: What inspired it?
BD: We read through The Art of Raising a Puppy, by The Monks of New Skete and decided to write a Jewish version of the book.
EW: We actually had the same publisher and editor as The Art of Raising a Puppy.
OV: What kind of dogs do you have?
BD: A beagle mix and two Rhodesian ridgebacks, one of whom is a foster dog.
OV: I love ridgebacks, and obviously, I love beagles.
EW: Our dogs are the ones in the photographs throughout How to Raise a Jewish Dog.
OV: Very cute. I hate to do this to you, but do you mind a quick case study? I need your expertise.
BD: Sure, we get this all the time.
OV: My dog is an asshole. For instance, I took him to an open field for playtime. It was going well until another couple and their dog joined us. The other couple brought water for their dog, as did I. Instead of drinking his water, Bowski drank the other dog's water. When he was through, he peed in the bowl so that their dog wouldn't drink it. What did I do wrong?
BD: It sounds like you might not be guilting him enough. You seem to have the praise down pat, but you need to guilt him more.
OV: I guilt him a fair amount.
EW: How old is he?
OV: Seven years, two months and 9 days.
BD: He should have outgrown this behavior. This is a problem we can't fix over the phone. You may need a home visit.
EW: I think he needs a Bar Mitzvah. He'll be fine once he's a man.
OV: Thanks, I'll look into it. Question for you, do Jewish owners have to pick up their dog's poop?
EW: Of course.
OV: Even though their shit doesn't stink?
BD: Yes, because there are other factors to consider, like the environment and what the neighbors will think.
OV: I see your point. Do you have any other dog books coming out?
EW: Yes as a matter of fact. We have Arffirmations: Meditations for Your Dog coming out on January 9, 2009, and we also have a non-dog book called How to Profit from the Coming Rapture, due out on November 3, 2008, both of which you can pre-order on Amazon now.
BD: Since we're on the topic of plugging our books, you can also purchase Yiddish With Dick and Jane, which is already out.
OV: Great, I'll be sure to get those.
It is now time for "The Six Questions With Oy Velo."
I have never done a dual interview before, but I'll just keep the same rules. Each of you can answer the questions and we'll see who gets more right at the end. Ready?
EW: Ask away.
1) Name a dog native to Israel.
EW: I don't know, Lessee?
BD: I'm going to guess Hebrew National.
OV: Great guesses, but both are incorrect. The Canaan dog is actually a dog breed native to Israel.
2) This next question is not an Oy Velo original, it is an actual question on YahooAnswers.Com. This is a very serious question that needs an answer from professionals in Judeo Canine Studies, as Oy Velo does not trust the seven answers provided thus far:
"Did Noah bring two of every dog breed on the boat, or just two general dogs? My neighbors (sic) children asked me and I don’t know how they got small breeds and large breed (sic)."
BD: Sounds more like a theological question rather than a scientific question. I don't have a clue.
EW: Hmm. I guess two basic breeds.
BD: I'll agree with Ellis, just this once.
OV: I guess that's correct, you guys are the experts and I was relying on you for this answer.
3) Are dogs Kosher?
EW: You mean do they have to eat Kosher, or is it Kosher to eat them?
OV: The latter.
EW: I think it depends on the breed. For instance, our beagle chews its cud, but our ridgeback, who eats more slowly, doesn’t. Then again, dogs don't have cloven hooves, so I guess not.
BD: There's no way eating dogs is Kosher.
OV: Correct, dogs are not Kosher. Click here for a great article about this issue written by a springer spaniel named Odyssey.
4) Does Jewish law permit neutering and spaying dogs?
EW: Probably not. Kosher laws made sense at one time and preventing reproduction of delicious animals doesn't make sense.
BD: I agree.
OV: Correct. Interestingly, the law against neutering is dictated by the Torah (statutorah law, if you will) and the law against spaying is from tza'ar ba'alei chayim, a general Jewish law against causing suffering to animals (more of a common law origin)
5) Lox or white fish?
EW: Yeah, I'm going to have to go with Lox too.
OV: Sorry, the correct answer is white fish.
OV: Because I prefer white fish. Though I do enjoy lox, especially with capers.
6) Have you ever seen a dog cuter than Oy Velo’s mascot, wittle Lebowski Cohen?
BD: I've never seen the dog in question, so I can't answer that.
OV: Ellis, you are correct. Objectively, Bowski is the cutest dog in the world. Barbara, you've made a good argument, I will mark the question as inapplicable for you.
The tally is Ellis has 4 out of 6 Stars of David and Barbara has 3 out of 5 Stars of David.
Mazel Tov Ellis, you just edged Barbara out.