Encyclopedia and Sally took the afternoon off and went to the Idaville Dog-Paddle Derby. Yes, like every other competition ever held in Idaville, this one included cheating.
When they got to derby, they found Fangs Liveright wearing a button that read “Meat Director” because he was “in charge of the meat.” The winner would take home five pounds of hamburger meat. So Fangs was in charge of the prize? Was that his only job? Why would that warrant a button?
Even though no one asked, Fangs explained the system of making sure the dogs had enough water to drink. Puddinghead Peabody – no explanation of that name provided – would empty out each water bowl after every race and refill it. Each dog got a quart of fresh water before each race.
Why put that much effort into it? I understand that it wouldn’t be nice to make them drink stagnant water with leaves floating in it, but they don’t need new water after each race, and they certainly don’t need their own bowl. Dogs drink from the toilet; they’re not worried about catching cooties from other dogs.
And they get a quart each before each race? I’ve done some light Internet research and learned that in a 24-hour period, a dog should drink no more than 65 milliliters of water for every kilogram they weigh. Doing some quick math, that means that a quart of water should be enough water for a 14½-pound dog for an entire day.
My point is that this system of canine hydration is ridiculously complicated and wasteful. There was no reason why Fangs would even explain it all to Encyclopedia and Sally, who didn’t even ask.
Unless it was key to solving the upcoming mystery, which, of course it is.
There were five dogs in the final race. Rags was the favorite. It should come as no surprise that Puddinghead’s dog was also in this race. When Horace Cushing – another official whose dog was in the race – fired the starting pistol, four of the dogs jumped into the water. Rags fell asleep. Puddinghead’s dog won. It was almost as if Rags was drugged, but how? There was no way that all of the dogs were drugged, otherwise all of them would have fallen asleep.
While Encyclopedia was figuring things out, Puddinghead handed a one-gallon can to Fangs. Fangs brought it so that Puddinghead could shuttle water from the hose outlet at the shed a few hundred feet from the event.
Encyclopedia asked Puddinghead if he had seen anything odd at the shed when he filled the can up the last time. All he saw was Horace taking a smoke break. Encyclopedia asked if there was anything going on the second time, but Puddinghead explained that he had only made one trip.
Puddinghead was lying. If he was giving each dog a quart of water from a gallon jug, he would only have enough water for four dogs. A second trip was necessary for the fifth quart. In that second trip, he got the water for Rags, but spiked it so that Rags would fall asleep and be unable to compete.
Puddinghead went through all of that trouble of poisoning a dog so that he could win five pounds of ground beef.