September 11, 2015 | Posted in Discover These Doggies!!
If we go over the annals of man and animal relationships we will surely find many instances of animals performing acts that are considered to be beyond their physical and mental capabilities in the normal scheme of things. Mind you, animals can perform amazing acts of endurance, strength, thoughtfulness but these are within the capabilities of their specie. Like it is a fact that the Pronghorn antelope can runthe marathon in 45 minutes beating horses, camels, sled dogs, and humans. The dung beetle is the strongest animal in the world; it can pull 1,141 times its own weight.
But as written above, every once in a while, we come across an instance that stands out as supernatural in the scheme of nature. Like a dog that could hypnotize. Yes, this was Oscar the Hypnodog who took London and the rest of the U.K by storm in the closing decade of the last century.
Oscar’s story is picked up from sometime in 1989 when professional hypnotist Hugh Lennon read an article about a 10-month old Labrador puppy whose owner, a farmer in Yorkshire, claimed that the pup could hypnotize people. Hugh traveled to the farm to see for himself what the pup could do. He ended up purchasing the special pup at the spot. Oscar had a special way of looking into people’s eyes.
To begin with, Hugh did not have any plans of using Oscar as his sidekick; he was content with having the black Labrador as a pet. On one memorable occasion, when Oscar was called on to the stage, he mesmerized a little girl in no time and that was the genesis of Oscar’s journey into showbiz and glamor. He was soon being billed Oscar the Hypnodog. He began assisting Hugh in his acts but it did not take Hugh very long to notice that Oscar was the scene stealer and could actually hypnotize people. Yes, there are umpteen recorded instances of people getting hypnotized by looking into Oscar’s eyes; people simply collapsing to the floor by gazing into Oscar’s eyes. One of the most widely reported and amusing instances occurred when after a show Oscar the Hypnodog ambled up to a member of the audience who was busy munching potato wafers. Oscar sat in front of him waiting for a treat to be offered to him, all the while looking at the guy who returned the gaze. And before one knew it, he lay crumpled on his seat – hypnotized.
But having a dog that could hypnotize did not always work in Hugh’s favor. Once in 1997, when traveling with Oscar to perform at the Edinburg Festival Fringe, Oscar’s unrelenting gaze unnerved the landlady so much that she asked Hugh to vacate the digs immediately.
Of course, not everybody that gazed into Oscar’s big brown eyes fell under a spell; one had to approach the sessions with an open mind and a relaxed attitude.
Oscar continued to enthrall audiences all over till 2001. Age caught up with him and after 12 years of performing with his master, Oscar retired to a life of well-earned rest. His sight was failing him and he couldn’t hold a steady unblinking gaze that was central to his prowess. These days it is Murphy, one of Oscar’s sons that helps carry forward the Hypnodog’s legacy.