The first calendar to feature puppies appeared on this earth in 1904. It was actually a to-do list for a Thursday painted on a young cocker spaniel as a joke by 12-year-old Bradley Knickens. Knickens’ sense of humor and ability to drink water from a regular glass had been impaired by a kick from his father’s gelding, Topper, a boy-horse with no balls. The cocker spaniel’s name was Trudy. Trudy ate her own feces.
The to-do list elicited no giggles or comments from Knickens’ family, who had all agreed, previously, to ignore the child until he began acting “right in the head.” In attempts to push boundaries for a laugh, Knickens took the joke further.
Trudy’s mother, a bitch named Queenie, was made to hold still while young Knickens drew the complete month of February (chosen for brevity) on her side. It felt good. Drawing calendars on dogs quickly became a hobby of his, and he was sent away to be someone else’s problem.
In his spare time at boarding school, and with no access to live dogs, Knickens “flipped the script,” as they said in those days, and put dogs on calendars instead of the other way around. His work quickly went viral, especially his work with puppies, and imitators popped up everywhere.
The puppy calendar continues to be a bestseller at calendar kiosks all over the world. It is largely responsible for the popularity of the puppy. Before puppy calendars, puppies were kept for doorstops and bookends, but presently they are used for love and child substitutes. And bookends.
It did not end well for Bradley Knickens, who died in 1913, at age 23, from complications of being inside of a mastiff. If the world can learn anything from Knickens, let it be that when tying a bonnet on a mastiff for calendarial reasons, it will try to put you inside of itself via its teeth and mouth.