New York Times Reveals Blog Dog’s Secret Identity; Mysteries Remain

Well, it’s finally happened.  We must have known that the identity of Esau, the blog dog, couldn’t stay secret forever. But like the seemingly innocuous suburbanites alleged to be working as deep-cover agents for the Russian government, we thought we could get away with our little subterfuge. No more.

Esau poses by miniature tepee

After eight carefree months masquerading as Esau, the Biblical hairy man who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage (tell me, what self-respecting canine wouldn’t?),  Esau’s identity has been revealed in the New York Times. In an article about this blog, A Dog Walked into a Blog, reporter J. David Goodman wrote, “The  four-legged star of the endeavor is Strider, the 8-year-old mottled mutt …”

Esau, aka Strider, or the mottled mutt, peers into the unknown

And so, just like that, the carefully cultivated persona of Esau is blithely stripped away, revealing … Strider.  But who, really, is Strider?  The New York Times seems eager to explore the identities, assumed and actual, of the Russian not-quite spies. Perhaps they should be asking the same questions about this apparently ordinary little dog: What do we really know about “the mottled mutt”?  Who is he? Where did he come from? What is he doing in New York City?

His origins are shrouded in mystery. A skinny Texas stray with no known identity, he was plucked in 2003 from impending doom at the Lewisville, Texas animal shelter by Casa de Critters, a tiny animal orphanage run by Becky Sue Parton.

Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard

Picard aka Strider

Dr. Parton named the dog Picard in honor of Star Trek’s Captain Jean-Luc Picard, perhaps due to the remarkable resemblance, as evidenced here. Or perhaps it was for another reason known only to her.

In a concerted effort to find young Picard a home, Dr. Parton  splashed charming photos of the dog across her website, describing him as lively, sensitive, cheerful, loving and intelligent. Who could resist?

Agility training by agiledogs; Flickr.com

But there was another side to Picard, one far more serious than his considerable talent for thieving socks. Presented by Dr. Parton as “an excellent candidate for agility training,” Picard turned out to possess physical skills that deep-cover suburbanites can only dream of. A first-class escape artist, he could sail over a five-foot fence in pursuit of a squirrel, and had once leaped from the window of a moving car because, well, he saw something interesting out there.

Yet despite his shadowy past and suspicious abilities, Picard found a new home.

Viggo Mortensen as Strider

Strider as Esau

There he was given the name of Strider by a 10-year-old boy smitten with Viggo Mortensen’s dark, hooded portrayal of the loner Aragorn, aka Strider, in The Lord of the Rings.

Which, I ask you, is the real movie star?

People often stop us on our walks. “What kind of dog is that?” they say.  It’s a larger question than they know. Esau, as I think I will continue to call him here, is a mutt of unknown ancestry about whose first year or two we know nothing, not even his name. But of his life now, we know many things.  He’s a vigilante rat-killer, an amusing companion, a tireless walker, an eager adventurer, an affectionate and forgiving friend, a patient and inspiring muse.

But enough about Esau/Strider/Picard, dog of multiple identities, known and unknown. It’s time to go for a walk.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, In the City, July

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8 Comments on “New York Times Reveals Blog Dog’s Secret Identity; Mysteries Remain”


  1. […] hour later, as Esau the dog and I were on our way to the ocean, the sight of an airborne river of butterflies made me stop in […]

  2. mthew Says:

    An alias? Your dog had an alias? And multiple identities? Doggy-interpol, I’m guessing.

  3. Charlotte Says:

    It’s so much fun reading your blog Melissa, can’t wait for more, more, more like daddy-o says!

  4. Donna Says:

    What a great dog. I so admire dogs. There is something about them, a love of life, that we silly humans might need to emulate.

    I doubt if they create their own suffering by asking “why am I here” and what is my purpose” questions. They are Zen, living in the moment.

    That for introducing us to Strider.

    I wish I wasn’t allergic to dogs (and cats). I don’t like cats though.

  5. Melanie Says:

    damn. This makes it even harder to not invite a dog into my life!!!!!


    • A couple of dogs ago, after a beloved terrier died, I thought I’d try not having a dog for a while. Ah, I thought, no more rushing home to walk the dog, feeling guilty on long days at work, worrying when leaving town, etc, etc. That lasted a month, until we encountered a beautiful stray dog named Lucy. 10 or 12 years after that, we found Esau. My life, from as far back as I can remember, is accompanied by a river of dogs and has been much enriched by it.


  6. It gets better and better. More, More.

    Daddy-O


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