I’ll Be Doggoned


There are a few mentions in the Oz books that there are no dogs in that fairyland, with the non-native Toto being the exception. The thing is, this obviously isn’t true, even if we just look at the L. Frank Baum books. In The Land of Oz, there’s a green dog that the Sawhorse kicks. It’s also been proposed by Michael Patrick Hearn that Prince, the wandering dog who befriends the titular character of The Magical Monarch of Mo, is originally from Oz.

He claims to have “come from a country beyond the mountains and the desert,” and we know from Scarecrow that Oz is separated from Mo by mountains and desert. This might well not have been intentional on Baum’s part, but it works out. That does raise the question of how Prince managed to cross the desert, which is actually part of the plot of a story I have largely planned out. So why did Baum sometimes say Oz didn’t have dogs? He was probably thinking back to how some Munchkin children in Wizard had never seen a dog before Toto, but he apparently forgot that the Winged Monkeys recognized Toto’s species and there were china dogs in the Dainty China Country.

Ruth Plumly Thompson pretty much ignored the statements about there being no dogs in Oz as she did most such generalizations. Dogs show up pretty often in her Oz, and she also introduced a canine community in Enchanted Island. It’s called Dog Wood, and is located in the eastern part of the Winkie Country. The trees are all dogwood, and each one has a doghouse under it. The dogs living there belong to many different breeds, and their ruler is King Chow, who demands presents from all visitors. He wanted to keep David Perry as a pet, but he and Humpty the camel ran out of there before the canines could catch them.

There’s also a dog-themed place in Gina Wickwar’s Toto of Oz, although here it’s the punitive Dog Pound. This place, ruled by humans named Rex and Queenie with help from the dog catcher Ketchum, kept all the dogs they could catch as prisoners.

The rule was that a human could pay a fine to release a dog, but hardly anybody knew where Dog Pound was or could afford the fines. Sonny Burns was able to use the money generated by the Gladstone the Guinea Pig to release all of the dogs, but perhaps the fact that so many of them had been captured was why Baum thought dogs were so rare in Oz.

Finally, a community of dogs plays a role in Richard Capwell’s Red Gorilla, and another one is mentioned in Ron Baxley Jr.’s Talking City.

This entry was posted in Characters, Gina Wickwar, L. Frank Baum, Oz, Oz Authors, Ron Baxley Jr., Ruth Plumly Thompson and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to I’ll Be Doggoned

  1. Anthony Will says:

    I am really looking forward to finishing reading “Red Gorilla”. I really like what I have read so far, and Richard tells me my favorite breed of dogs, pugs, are featured.

  2. Pingback: You Will Be Assimilated | VoVatia

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