about J.R. Underhill


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Our Advertising Life in Dogs

A lot of things have changed in the world of advertising since we first became involved in it, but one of the things we're glad doesn't change is the appeal of a friendly animal. We're glad our dogs have been good sports about it.

First, there was Gus.

Jan had always loved dogs and never lived with one, so she was intrigued to learn that Bob's legendary dachshund-and-bassett hound mix was going to be part of the deal. Bob had been entertaining her for years with Gus' exploits: he was a talented food thief and escape artist that somehow managed to make himself indispensable to Bob, and the first meeting would be crucial.

As she walked up the driveway where Gus was waiting, she was amazed to see the old guy promptly sit up and whine with great feeling. Smart move on his part; Bob was favorably impressed, too. Jan still suspects that Gus clinched the deal.

On an impulse they included Gus in a studio photo for a promotional brochure and the favorable response set the course. Next they employed him to supply the "moving" theme of the moving announcement postcard. They even pursuaded him to tolerate a silly antler hat for a holiday card one year.

Gus was already ten years old when Jan married Bob, and he lived to be sixteen and a half, formidable and opinionated to the end. Even as a frail old man he managed six minor nipping incidents (mostly scaring the UPS guy) and one overnight escape in just his final year. His departure left quite a void.

"He's NOT Gus": Mike Nelson.

It was only a matter of weeks before Bob, in the throes of dog withdrawal, visited a pet store, "just looking", and came home with a four and a half pound piebald baby dog that he hoped would fill the empty place in their lives where Gus had been.

(to be continued)