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April 11, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

One Goofus and two Gallants

Dog wearing a monocle with bottle of champagne and a pipe.(USPD 1869.LoC/

“Shall we engage in a mannerly discussion?”(USPD/

Comparisons to humans is inevitable.

Observe the Canine version of “Goofus and Gallant” in the news highlights.

Start off with the bad boy. (People always secretly identify him). Obviously a Goofus moment.

Most of you saw him, Scooby the German Shepherd, apparently attempting a cross city swimming record in Los Angeles. (If not, click here).

Just too self confident or stubborn to accept help multiple times and admit he was out of his depth. (Well, dogs are a bit skittish about things appearing out of the sky – even helpful things like rescue helicopter guys…heard tales from a Chicken Little, I guess).

Eventually his self-reliance fading, Scooby had to endure the embarrassment of being basically hog-tied, harnesses, muzzled, and unceremoniously hauled up the bank like a drenched sack of potatoes.

Scooby’s expression trudging off with head down between his shoulders, tail tucked, and firmly escorted by three rescuers was the classic: “I am in sooo much trouble.” (Back to his owner’s arms. Possibly signed up for remedial dog class. And perhaps forever to be known as “California Scooby”.)

German Shepherd Scooby rescued by LA firefighters (screenshot abc7 news)

German Shepherd Scooby rescued by LA firefighters. “Can I claim a confused identity? Thought I was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and it sure looks like that thing needed to be retrieved? Wrong body of water? Don’t blame me. That dog school didn’t cover geography…only social skills.”(screenshot abc7 news)

No doubt California Scooby ducks his head under a couch pillow when people mention two local Houston dogs quite worthy of accolades.

Now truly Gallant, this German Shepherd: Alejandro. Only one year old, yet he knows his job and responsibility. No loud noise, squirrel, good smell on the ground, or tennis ball distracted him. (Oh, Scooby. Hang your head in shame….Yes. Shame. In the “Goofus and Gallant” era, shame was a teaching technique.)

Heroic dog protects five year old Downs Syndrome boy who wanders off and ends up on train tracks. (Story/video here, if you missed it)

One of the police officers says the dog definitely knew he had to stay with the child.

“The dog knew he had to go with him because he was doing something he was not supposed to do,” said HPD Sgt. Ricardo Salas. Even when the small boy as put into a police car’s AC to cool down, the officer turned away for a second only to realize the dog had quickly slipped in protectively beside the kid.

Only one year old and such a gallant dog. Just look at that face.

"It's OK Kid." German Shepherd looks on as lost child comforted.(Screenshot click2houston)

“It’s OK, Kid. We’re with friends now” (Screenshot click2houston)

"My puppy pack would be so proud of me. Look mom, I done good! like a German Shepherd should (Screenshot click2houston)

“My puppy pack would be so proud of me. Look mom, I done good! like a German Shepherd should.” (Screenshot click2houston)

  Not even breed specific. Shown up by a “Gallant is as canine Gallant does” in a pink tutu and holiday garb.

Elsa, the Golden Retriever, retired after more than 12,000 hospital visits with children fighting cancer.  She and her handler, Sarah Herbek, “have been committed to ‘comforting thousands of patients on some of their hardest days with snuggles and pets’, according to hospital officials.”

A vanguard pair who implemented the animal-assisted therapy program which was the first ever of its kind in the Texas Medical Center, have been helping small patients for six years. Friday they had a retirement party for her.

Some of Elsa’s photos/video here.

Listen to what one mom says about the impact on this dog’s visit to her daughter here. ““Elsa would lay up in the bed with her when she couldn’t get out of bed. Christiana was able to pet her and find some comfort in it. It would make her smile.  There were days when only Elsa and Sarah could bring a smile to her face.”

(Other paws will continue to greet and help make the treatments a little less difficult.)

Small girl in hospital and Elsa (Screenshot)

“I knew you would come, Elsa.” (KHOU Screenshot)

Dog extend comforting paw to sick child (KHOU screenshot)

“Hang in there, kid. We’ll get through this together.” Dogs know how to extend a helpful pause. (KHOU screenshot)

Dog in pink costume at retirement party. (Screenshot)

“All this fuss for me? Dogs: a gift to make life better. Dogs know instinctively what to do…Well, most do…I understand there’s one In California…”(Screenshot)

Each day, a dog is up and ready to go – to make a splash in human lives.

Humans could try to do the same.

Some already do. (Be sure to say “Thank you” to the nice rescue team, California Scooby.)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

For those too young to understand the comparison of the dogs to “Goofus and Gallant” 

children and snowman. "Gallant and Goofus" vintage cartoon from Highlights magazine 1966. (USPD.

“Gallant and Goofus” vintage cartoon from Highlights Magazine. (USPD.1966

“Highlights for Children” magazine used to be only found in pedestrian and dentist offices…well, maybe a piano teacher’s waiting area. A children’s magazine with pages for different reading levels. Educational. But fun with riddles, jokes, Find “What’s Wrong”, Hidden Pictures, and “The Timbertoes”, a wooden family.

“Goofus and Gallant” cartoons always showed two boys about 10-12 years old – one “naughty”/Goofus and one “nice”/Gallant – doing an activity illustrating a child-appropriate, simple message of “Do this, not that”.   Adults were supposed to discuss with the child each’s boy’s facial expression, body language, and actions – and how it made others feel. But most just said, “Here. Sit down and read this.”

While little kids always wanted to be Gallant and older kids scoffed at him, children generally identified a little bit with each one. Lots of parodies and jokes came from that little didactic cartoon series. Some useful lessons, too.

Read more? (Can’t have you going around clueless – funny, how “Goofus” became such common usage)

Two boys with scissors. Vintage "Goofus and Gallant" from Highlights magazine (

Who could forget? So many tiny life lessons taught effortlessly. (Vintage “Goofus and Gallant” from Highlights Magazine/US /


Leave a Comment
  1. easyweimaraner / Apr 11 2022 8:34 am

    we probably are a little like scooby….

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 11 2022 12:56 pm

      Aa lesser amount of “Look before you leap” mixed in with all the other German Shepherd other qualities…..but is that the one that gives them that lovely goofy toothy grin?
      Gotta love them all
      Thanks for leashing a comment here


  2. Helen Devries / Apr 11 2022 9:12 am

    I think I have a household of Goofuses……and I can guarantee that that tutu would not last a moment….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean / Apr 11 2022 9:18 am

    Hadn’t thought of Goofus and Gallant in years. You found good examples here. Dogs can be goofs, but when they’re not they do show us how to do your best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 11 2022 1:02 pm

      Humans can use all the help they can get.
      (I wonder, as language evolves – most understand “goofus” but does anyone even know what “gallant” means? Funny which one survived the years better. Luckily dogs prefer actions rather than words….more direct and timeless)
      Thanks for taking time to goof around..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. SusanR / Apr 11 2022 10:14 am

    Love a good dog story — and a good rescue story. I think we actually had a subscription to Highlights mag when I was little.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 11 2022 1:05 pm

      We had “Boy’s Life” ( which I think was Boy Scouts magazine) and Jack a Jill ( for a little while). It was exciting to get those in the mail.. Something to look forward to just for us.
      Email is fast and useful, but no way like sitting on the porch waiting for the mailman and hoping it was the day the magazines would come. Little things lost
      Thanks for turning the page to stop here


  5. carlelong / Apr 11 2022 10:24 am

    As a child in Texas 1960s my parents subscribed to Highlights for Children and Humpty Dumpty Magazine

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 11 2022 1:06 pm

      Whoa – what cool parents.. We had to go to the library for those – it was free there, and with parents who lived through the Depression, free was always the first choice.
      Thanks for sticking a comment on this bookshelf


  6. robstroud / Apr 11 2022 11:42 am

    Gotta love those dogs. We can’t imagine not having one (or two) in our family.

    Thanks for introducing me to Goofus and Gallant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 11 2022 1:14 pm

      Dogs are definitely family – and contribute.
      The history behind Goofus and Gallant is interesting – they were thoughtfully and carefully created. Interesting enough that they have been used by researchers working with autism (and brain scans) as well as for ESL instruction. Always said there’s a big difference between aaa “teacher” and an “educator” – now more than ever. Would be interesting for the magazine to put out a complete collection of them in book form…it would probably be a big seller.
      Hope things are going well there. Thanks for dropping by


  7. The Coastal Crone / Apr 11 2022 2:53 pm

    Good story for national pet day. I remember seeing Highlights for Children but not very often so I missed Goofus and two Gallants. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Apr 11 2022 3:36 pm

      We tried to hide the day’s designation and all there pet sharing pictures on TV – Molly wants a pet…insisting she needs a trainee/assistant. We countered with a playdate with friends at a the dog playground/pool…that’ll stall her for a bit. We have to get past some medical treatments and let things get stabilized a bit before inviting any more chaos aboard.
      Highlights was an expensive magazine for the times – doctors offices never threw them away. It was a really annoying that some parents let their kids write/draw on the activity pagers, spoiling them for others. So annoying to a little kid who was trying to be a Gallant HaHa. Thanks for leashing a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

  8. sustainabilitea / Apr 11 2022 5:39 pm

    I’d heard the story about the German shepherd and the little boy but not the other two. Thanks for bringing some happiness into the day (but poor Scooby!)


    Liked by 1 person

  9. shoreacres / Apr 11 2022 7:15 pm

    I remember “Goofus” from long before the Goofus and Gallant pair. Remember this Johnny Mercer tune? I loved it, especially that first line: “I was born on a farm down in I-o-way…”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Kate Crimmins / Apr 12 2022 8:13 am

    I always did like animals (including dogs!) better than people!

    Liked by 2 people

Always glad to hear from readers.

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