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A Dictionary for Dogs

We dogs have our own special vocabulary. In my house, for example, "CHAIR" means I am supposed to lie in my BED.

Woof to all my dog friends. Grrrs to cats. As to , I am not sure.

Fellow dogs, this is a primer on how to understand your master and/or mistress. (These are terms I resent. In fact the Katzes, in addressing me, call themselves Daddy and Mommy.)

Two hints first: You should know that wagging your tail gets you a lot further than growling. Apparently tail wagging is thought by humans to mean that a dog is glad to see them. It may or may not be the case, but if you are angling for a bone or some other treat, it certainly helps. (Tilting your head to look good also helps.) Similarly, licking the hand that feeds you is usually an excellent strategy. This is probably not very hard to do, as most human hands smell of the food they’ve picked up to shovel into the face they are attached to. They are supposed to use knives and forks, but I have observed it doesn’t work out in practice.

Sit is a common human instruction to a dog. Generally, it means they want you to rest on your haunches with your tail protruding to the rear. If it protrudes to the front it gets them embarrassed and may get your tail chopped off. (By the way, I apologize to my canine colleagues who do not have tails. As we say in Dog Latin, illegitimati non caborundum or something like that. Since none of our parents were married, llegitimati is not really an insult.)

In human speech, sit may mean a number of other things. For example, a judge is said to sit when he presides over a trial. We, of course, are quite judgmental, however much humans think we are not. Sit may also be used to describe the location of a tree, as in: the tree sits on a hilltop. In case of need, this information may be very useful to you. Also, sit means that a hen is covering eggs and sit is what ushers do after taking tickets from theater-goers, and is supposed to end the argument over whether a human is sitting in the right seat.

In my house, the command CHAIR! means that I am to lie in my doggy bed in the kitchen. It is usually said after I have chased our cats for a while. Mom and Dad must think I am really stupid not to have noticed that the chair I used to lie in has been replaced by a doggy bed. I obey this instruction as a way of humoring them when otherwise I might be in deep doo-doo.

PLAY is usually said to one of us as an invitation to amuse our parents by chasing after some dumb Kong or ball. The custom is to go ape when so invited, even though you may have other urgent business when they have finally let you out of the house. In my case, I associate the word play with the word DROP because Dad gets tired waiting for me to drop the ball after I have brought it back to him. The fact is that I like to chew on the Kong for a while just to tease him. Mom has developed the technique of counting to three.  When she goes "one, two, three!" nothing happens. By the time she gets to eight I take mercy on her and drop the ball just out of her reach.

In order to make this piece of reasonable length, I have elected not to try and define many other words commonly in use for dogs, such as “come” (I rarely obey that), “dinner” (always obeyed), “do you want to go out?” (are you kidding?) and “walk.” To me, walk means a three mile schlep on a lead held by mom along the . I actually enjoy , but three miles is a bit much on a hot day and no good at all in the rain.

Two words in our house have a special meaning. THURSDAY if said other than casually means that something wonderful for me is about to take place. Either I get to jump all over the housekeeper who works a couple hours on Thursdays or, if FURRY is uttered, it means that the family is going to prevent that by sending me to where I get to play with many of my colleagues and come home exhausted only to lie on my “chair” until dinner time.

Any dog who would like to have further definitions is invited to call me on my cell, 6124-838-5555, or give me a howl over the electric fence.

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