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Nobody loves Wilbur

Nobody loves Wilbur

Jan. 2, 1946: Wilbur, a puppy at Ann St. Animal Shelter, faced a difficult future when he was not adopted during the holidays.

The next morning Los Angeles Times columnists Abercrombie wrote:

Dear Boss:

Down to the Ann St. Animal Shelter I just seen a sight what would be wrang the cockleshells off your heart, boss. Granted, of course, you got-one.

It was Wilbur, a pathetic pooch with a future blacker than Prof. Colonna’s mustache.

What’s he got to be in a festive fettle for? Whaddya mean with this “Happy New Year” stuff? It’s just a bowl of stingy horsemeat, if you ask Wilbur.

Nobody loves Wilbur. Even them fleas eschew his pelt. About 425 of his fellow canine colleagues was adopted during the Yuletide holidays, but everybody steers clear of Wilbur like he got pink toothbrush and/or rough elbows.

Wilbur’s pater was a drummer out of Kansas City with purple sleeve garters and “Stella” tattooed on his left arm, the dirty cur. His mater was a country girl – from Compton – what kicked Wilbur out of the doghouse and is now going steady with a fast-talking Dalmatian from the fire station, the bum.

Maybe, boss, if somebody with a tree in the back yard and a fire plug at the corner give Wilbur a home he could outgrow the astigmatism bring on him by his decadent parents.

Within hours of publication, the Payne family of Los Angeles adopted Wilbur – beating other Times readers.

On Jan. 4, Abercrombie reported:

Dear Boss:

The dawn come up like thunder from a old chowmein pagoda across the bay yesterday for Wilbur, the woebegone woofing waif. He found a home.

It looked like for a while it was gonna be a pretty fruitless 1946 New Year for Wilbur until we run that pitcher and story of him in The Times about how all his pooch pals down to the Ann St. Animal Shelter was adopted during the Christmas season and everybody ducked Wilbur like he has 2nd degree cholera and don’t know a sandbox from a horsehair sofa.

But when everybody seen Wilbur’s picture in the paper and noted the sterling character in his limpid lamps their resistance melted like a chocolate bar in your hip pocket and the city kennels got more phone calls than ULrich 8900.

It was first come first served and Mrs. Vivian Payne nosed out a couple dozen other citizenry who wanted to take out adoption papers on the homeless hound….

Now Wilbur’s got a big back yard to do his calisthenics in, and a convenient tree–to lay under, of course, if the sun gets too hot.

P.S.: Oh, say, boss, Mrs. Payne just phoned and says she was obliged to change Wilbur’s name to Gladys. Hm-m-m-m, I would of swore it was a him.

This photo, by Times staff photographer Paul Calvert, also moved nationally on the wires – resulting in numerous phone calls over several days to The Times and Ann St. Animal Shelter.

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