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The Great Shaggy Dog Contest

I have always been fond of this story and have tried to tell it many times. For some reason that I have never quite understood my audiences tend to disappear rapidly. I can't imagine why. Perhaps it is just as well. On the few occasions when I have successfully completed relating the tale I have been met with untoward violence towards my person. Enjoy!


Once upon a time there was a small boy who had a very shaggy dog. Now it came to pass in those days that a great shaggy dog contest was to be held to select the shaggiest dog of all. The small boy was very excited by this news and he asked his parents if he could enter their dog in the contest. His parents had no great hope of their dog winning the contest; however they were very fond of the small boy so they said, "Yes, you may enter your dog in the contest".

The contest was arranged in a series of elimination rounds. In the first round all of the dogs in a single block would be judged and the shaggiest would be selected. The winners of the city block contests would then be matched in a precinct contest and so on and so forth.

The City Block Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the city block contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "THAT'S the shaggiest dog I've ever seen."

The Precinct Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the precinct contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "THAT'S the shaggiest dog I've ever seen."

The City Wide Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the city wide contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "THAT'S the shaggiest dog I've ever seen."

The County Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the county contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "THAT'S the shaggiest dog I've ever seen."

The State Wide Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the state wide contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "THAT'S the shaggiest dog I've ever seen."

The Regional Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the regional contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "THAT'S the shaggiest dog I've ever seen."

The National Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the national contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "THAT'S the shaggiest dog I've ever seen."

The World Wide Contest

And so it came to pass that the small boy and his shaggy dog were entered in the world wide contest. When the small boy saw the other dogs his hopes were dashed because there were some very shaggy dogs there. However he looked at his dog and said to himself, "My dog is very shaggy too.", and he took heart. The shaggy dogs were paraded around in a ring where three grim unsmiling judges dressed in black sat on high. Each dog was stopped in turn and each dog was carefully considered by the three judges. It seemed like forever until at last the small boy and his shaggy dog came before the judges. The three judges looked at the dog for ever the longest time. The audience grew still with anticipation. Finally:

The first judge said, "My, that's a shaggy dog."
The second judge said, "MY, that IS a shaggy dog!"
The third judge said, "Aw, that dog's not so shaggy."

Win some, lose some.

This page was last updated July 25, 1997.