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Taking Care of Clifford

August 27, 2020 3 minute read time

Of all the fictional dog characters that we read about as children, one of them looms the largest. Clifford the Big Red Dog has to be one of the largest and most endearing dogs to ever grace the children’s book section of any local library. He’s big, with red fur and a heart of gold. The reason that these stories are so endearing is the growth that Clifford and his friends experience, both physically and emotionally. In each story Clifford learns something about the world or himself that he didn’t know before and is always the better for it.


The lessons that Clifford learns throughout his adventures are important and perfect for a children’s themed book. However, one thing that we never learned when reading Clifford books was how in the heck his family took care of him. With a live action film being released later this year that will display a life sized Clifford the Big Red Dog on screen, it’s never been a better time to consider what it would require to take care of Clifford in real life.


No matter how sweet and kind he is, taking care of Clifford wouldn’t be a walk in the park. In fact to properly exercise a dog of that size, you’d likely have to take him on a romp in a national park. Playing fetch with him would require a ball the size of a boulder and no less than a trebuchet to toss it. Since he’s supposed to be a Labrador Retriever of sorts - an intelligent and athletic breed - he’ll likely need at least two or three good play sessions per week to properly scratch that exercise itch. You’d need a whole lot of space to really let him get his energy out.


Another consideration is feeding a dog of that size. The math is in no terms concrete on this, but the Wikipedia page for Clifford lists that he’s about 25 feet tall. Using this metric to extrapolate his weight and diet compared to the average  labrador retriever, it’d be safe to assume that a dog Clifford’s size would consume well over a ton of food a day. This means that you’d be spending an absolutely insane amount of money on food per year. Clifford could eat two cows a day and still be peckish. He’d also likely need to live next to a river or lake in order to keep him hydrated. Simply turning on the faucet wouldn’t do much to quench his thirst.


Not to gloss over it at all but his weight is certainly a factor in day to day considerations. Assuming the average weight of a Labrador Retriever that measures about one foot and ten inches or 1.8’ off the ground is about 66 pounds, Clifford, who measures 25’ off the ground, would weigh in at around 174,165 pounds, or 87 tons. That’s 3 times as heavy as the estimate for a full grown T-Rex. If you wanted to take him anywhere, he’d need his own specially outfitted heavy duty big rig truck, the kind they use for construction. Granted, he’d likely be fast enough to get there himself if he knows where he’s going.


Now for the crappiest part of the equation - literally. Clifford, like all dogs, will have to poop. There’s no telling how any one person would be able to handle it.  You’d need a team of people and industrially produced oversized bags to clean up after him. He’d need a fully crewed garbage truck to follow him around in order to take care of his business. But instead of letting his business become a burden, it’d likely be a better idea to just go with the flow and open up a fertilizer business instead. Hopefully with the profits you could cover the herd and a half of cattle you’d need to feed him each year. 


It’s easy to see that keeping Clifford would be anything but easy. As adorable and endearing as he is, it’d be a monumental commitment and output of effort in order to provide a proper life for him as a pet. During summer his shedding would likely cover the entire house in strands of fur the size of tree branches, and his drool would probably make you feel like you were on a Nickelodeon sounds stage in the 90’s. Taking care of Clifford seems like an outrageous task, but can you think of any tips or tricks that might help? How would you take care of Clifford? Let us know on social media either onInstagramorFacebook!


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