Carl Hiaasen

When K9 Conan visits President Trump, which one has to wear the muzzle? | Opinion

K9 Conan cornered ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a U.S. military raid.
K9 Conan cornered ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a U.S. military raid. AP

An absolutely true news item: President Trump has ordered the military to arrange a White House visit for Conan, the Army Delta Force K9 that cornered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi moments before the ISIS leader killed himself during a U.S. raid.

The following are pre-event questions from the White House for [REDACTED NAME OF UNIT LEADER IN CHARGE OF K9 CONAN], to be classified top secret, encrypted and transmitted to (REDACTED NAME OF MISSION BASE IN SYRIA].

Will K9 Conan be on a leash?

As you know, the President is not a “dog person” and respectfully requests that K9 Conan be under the control of a handler during his time at the White House.

Specifically, the President would be uncomfortable if K9 Conan attempted to “sniff” him in an intimate manner, as dogs have occasionally done in the past. Also, there is the issue of unsightly shedding, as the President always wears dark suits.

What is the safest way to pet K9 Conan?

Having little experience around dogs, the President wishes to limit his physical interaction with K9 Conan to lightly stroking the top of the animal’s head or, even better, its flanks. Which would K9 Conan prefer?

The President definitely does not wish to pet K9 Conan on the snout, due to the proximity of K9 Conan’s teeth.

Does K9 Conan bark?

This will be a live media event, so it would be best for the dog to remain silent and attentive while the President is speaking. This could go on for an hour, or even longer, because the President usually discards his prepared script.

Once he is finished, he would like K9 Conan to bark once or twice. He feels it is important that the American people hear directly from this brave, four-legged hero.

Is K9 Conan housebroken?

The First Lady asked us to pass along a polite reminder that many of the carpets and furnishings in the White House have historic value.

If the President’s remarks cause the ceremony to run long, perhaps K9 Conan could be escorted to the Rose Garden, where he can relieve himself on that azalea tree planted by the Obamas.

Is it possible not to mention the origin of K9 Conan’s name?

The President has been told that the dog is named after Conan O’Brien, a sarcastic late-night comedian who has been critical of the Administration. It would be best for K9 Conan’s handler not to confirm or deny such reports.

A proposed alternate narrative would be that the dog is actually named after Conan the Barbarian, a primitive warrior figure in popular movies. However, the Conan character was portrayed by the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who once referred to the President as “a wet little noodle.”

In addition, Schwarzenegger is the one who replaced the President as host of “The Apprentice,” when the ratings tanked. Therefore, please consider ignoring all inquiries about how K9 Conan got his name.

How does one pronounce the title of K9 Conan’s breed?

Ever since the Army revealed that K9 Conan is a Belgian Malinois, the President has been diligently working to master the pronunciation. The word “Belgian” is easy enough — the President is extremely fond of that country, especially the waffles.

However, the word “Malinois” is of French origin and contains a daunting number of vowels. To help the President get through the tribute presentation, would it be all right if he referred to the breed’s title as “Belgian Mayonnaise”?

Unless K9 Conan understands French, of course.

Will K9 Conan respond to spontaneous commands from the President?

Although he has never personally owned a dog, the President has indicated an interest in having K9 Conan “do some tricks” during his visit.

For instance, he believes the American people would enjoy seeing K9 Conan chase down and maul somebody dressed as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The President would like the dog to react promptly when he shouts “Kill!” or even “Bite his damn ---- off!”

The pursuit could be staged on the North Lawn, and protective body padding would be provided to Mr. Giuliani, or whoever volunteers for the skit.

If K9 Conan’s handler decides against re-creating the Baghdadi drama, then perhaps the dog could perform a few standard tricks such as “rolling over,” “sitting up” or “fetching” a ball.

The President feels very comfortable giving such commands.

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