Gertie ate the instrument that made her famous. Within just two days.
Well, she didn’t eat it, exactly. She did destroy it, which was not an unexpected move for the chocolate Lab puppy. Less expected was the production she put on with the bike horn and accompanying howling, which was caught on tape and aired Sunday on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
“Do you want to watch her watch the video?” asked Katy Fox, Gertie’s mom, as she pressed play on her cellphone and placed it in front of her 8-month-old pup in an interview at the News&Guide last week.
Gertie, busy chewing on her leash, perked her ears but didn’t offer to sing along with her video as Fox hoped.
“She doesn’t care,” Fox said. “She’s like a true celebrity.”
The musical moment was captured by Fox’s boyfriend, Sam Phillips, who forwarded the video to her while she was teaching a pottery class. Obviously she took a break to watch it, she said, and forwarded to her mom, Sue Crea, who shared it with Fox’s godmother, Marye Barker, who also happens to be Gertie’s breeder.
The two women agreed the Lab’s antics were perfect for “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Fox submitted the video in the fall.
Fox has long had a warm heart for good pups with soft coats. She grew up with two canines, Rosie and Chip, and Arnie, a dachshund, trotted into her life when she was in college. She promised herself she wouldn’t add another to her one-dog pack until Arnie was at least 10.
Soon after Arnie hit that milestone Fox started thinking about an addition. As luck would have it, Barker’s Lab was set to have a litter that summer. The pups were born July 11, Fox’s birthday.
“They thought there were going to be seven,” Fox said. “There were 13.”
Gertie was one of the baker’s dozen, one of the more timid, gentler picks of the brood. Fox was hoping for a quieter addition, being as though Arnie was starting to slow and show his age in a graying muzzle.
“I think the coolest thing is how much Arnie has taught her,” she said. “I think the moral of the story is you should never run out of dogs.”
Fox credits the senior canine with showing Gertie the basics of how to hound, teaching her the appropriate place to potty and how softly to use her chompers when playing. He even taught her how to burrow into the bed covers like a dachshund.
“She sleeps under the covers like Arnie does,” Fox said.
The howling and horn playing, however, was all Gertie. In the video, which shows the Lab alone in her bed, she chews on a bike horn, then stops to howl, chews again, then howls.
Gertie got the horn from her mom, or rather, found it and claimed it as her own. And while it didn’t last long, the horn will always be remembered for its contribution to Gertie’s “singer-songwriter” career and television debut, Fox said.
Along with the fame of airing on “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” Fox said producers also offered “a free T-shirt, any size I want — but just one. They made it very clear just one.”
She promised to let Gertie wear it anytime she asks.