James Thurber is a famous and popular American writer and artist. His humorous prose and drawing are never gay because the enthusiasm is dampened by melancholy. His fantastic characters are mostly animals whose balance of life is distorted and disturbed by a malignant fate. ‘Snap Shot of a Dog’ is taken from THE THURBER CARNIVAL which contains his most imp work. Many of his writings and drawings deal with dogs. He understands them and he ahs the gist of being able to communicate his understanding to the reader. This piece is typical of Thurber. It is both humorous and serious as his writings usually are.
The story flows along easily and smoothly and the reader has the impression that the writer is talking to him. The writer looks upon the dog sympathetically and at times affectionately. Rex was the name of the author’s pet dog. He was no doubt a dog of his own type who was fond of adventures. This account is as such written objectively. The dog has been dead long ago. The memory of the dog is still fresh in the mind of writer when he wrote this story. Rex was a bullterrier. He has a strong built. Indeed he was a beauty. The writer and his two brothers loved it dearly. He was a faithful dog and carried out all the orders of his maters.
There was nothing impossible in his world. The writer describes certain qualities of his pet. Though he was strong and pugnacious yet he never started the fight. He had a gentle nature. He never bit anybody through out his life. He only barked at the housebreakers and trespassers. In fact his habit of killing cats was also due to his professional ethics. The writer used the word Homeric to highlight the fighting style of his beloved dog. Rex fighting style was different from other dogs. It always carried a certain amount of energy and a sense of determination. He was as powerful as a wrestler and this accounted for him being a good fighter.
He only fought with only those dogs that invited him to do so. His longest fight lasted for many hrs. He had an air of nobility. Their relatives and neighbors envied the masters of Rex. Like typical dogs Rex was also an enemy of cats. He was a tenacious thing and was a stubborn chaser of cats. He was fond of killing them. Rex was a very obedient and fully trained dog. He never ran barking, like other dogs after wagons or automobiles. It was perhaps cause he could catch wagons in his jaws. Rex was aware of his shortcomings and limitations. He knew that there were certain limits to his abilities.
Rex was a mighty good swimmer and he enjoyed it immensely he had as much fun in water as any person would have. He was a very tough dog. He was full of the spirit of adventure. Rex was a powerful dog and could lift heavy objects. One night he brought home a chest of drawers that he had found somewhere. He was no thief but he did this to prove his personal power and courage. He was proud of his bravery. He used to have play and have fun. He loved jumping over fences. He was a very good jumper and got great satisfaction by doing it. He could catch a baseball thrown as high as possible.
Rex could hold a baseball with ease in his mouth as if it was a chew of tobacco. In the end of the story the writer describes how Rex met his end. Rex even fought against death. One day he was terrible beaten by the owner of some dog. He came home in a dreadful state. He licked the hands of his masters and then fell down; he got up and seemed to be looking for some one. One of his three masters was not at home. He did not come home for an hour. During that hour rex fought against death as he had fought against the strong current alum creek when his third master came home Rex went towards him licked his hand, fell down and never got up.
Surely it was a touching and pathetic finale for such a dutiful and useful animal. The story’s name is snap shot of a dog and it actually gives a thumbnail photograph of loyal rex. The qualities described are the common property of all dogs yet the way the writer attributes them to rex makes them special. A dog like any other animal has a peculiar psychology and James Thurber has described this psychology in a very apt manner. Thus the story is a wonderful account of a master’s relationship with his dog.