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  August 25, 2001



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One doggone good tail from The Arden


By BRET HART -- SLAM! Wrestling
 People around town are often amused to see me with my pug dog. We get a lot of laughs at traffic lights. I guess they expect a big guy to have a big, tough dog.

 What they're missing is that Coombs (that's what happens when you let your son name the dog) is the world's first pro wrestling dog!

 The barrel-chested brute works as a babyface. The guys dig 'em and the chicks love 'em.

 Originally making his TV debut on Celebrity Pets, he's since become more famous for wrestling the pot-belly pig who lives up the street and beating him hands down.

 Not to mention, he's taken on a few of those cagey coyotes and sent them howling to the hills.

 When I got a call from Jann Arden inviting me to join Joe Clark as her first guest on the pilot of her new TV show being filmed at The Arden, Coombs was eager to come along.

 Ever since the coyotes showed up for a rematch wearing bras and panties and the pig turned up in a bikini, Coombs has been disgusted with the direction dog wrestling has gone and decided to give his acting career another try.

 The lady from ACTRA who was at the taping couldn't agree more, joking that Coombs should become a card-carrying member in his own right.

 When they announced to the patrons at the diner this was the pilot for a new TV show, everybody clapped and Coombs loved the roar of the crowd, barking and really getting into it.

 I guess it runs in the family.

 When we got to the diner, Jann was already interviewing Joe Clark, who was finishing off a delicious-looking plate of steak and mushrooms, which he shared with Coombs, who loves to eat ... even more than I do! It turned out to be more than a social call for Coombs as he and Joe enjoyed an in-depth conversation about Stockwell Day and the demise of the Canadian Alliance.

 Coombs suspected the problem was loyalty -- and who knows better than a dog about loyalty? Joe wanted to know if dog wrestling is fake and Coombs explained in a round-about way that most of it is pre-arranged -- except for the two crafty black cats known as The Sisters, who fight with their claws out.

 But what can you expect from girls.

 The waitress wondered if Coombs is of legal drinking age and we figured that at three, he's 21 in human years so Slugger (his ring name) slurped his beer while Joe was telling me when he was a kid he used to watch my dad wrestle in High River.

 Things have changed a little since then.

  I'd never had the pleasure of meeting Jann Arden before but have enjoyed her music for years. She was genuine, with an easy-going sense of humour.

 Jann and her brother bought the diner together and are intrigued at never knowing who's going to come through the door.

 The show is an off-beat, innovative potpourri of talk, music and whoever happens to wander into the diner.

 This time, it was two old dogs of war from wrestling and politics. Oh, and then there's me, an off-beat journalist who was luckily there to chronicle this great meeting of the minds.

 The series is off to a great start and I look forward to seeing what other characters show up at The Arden.

 Jann, it was fun.

 Good luck with the show!

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