Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Mythology of Dogs -- updated, revised and re-published

Dog riddles and proverbs from our past show that the dog is not just an icon, but a creature whose "moral sense" as Mark Twain put it, surpasses our own.

For example, where does "dog eat dog world" come from?  Our book says it comes from ancient Greece. But American Indians said it this way: "Dog won't eat bear". This meant the dog was too close in kinship to the bear to eat him.  So the saying also meant: "Dog won't eat dog."  In time Indians and Europeans alike were saying it that way.  Today's relatively modern saying, "Dog eat dog world" is a euphemism for the human condition. It's the unsettling world we live in.

There's also "dog tired", "a dog's life", and just plain "dogged" -- all these say something about our world.  But don't blame the pup, the poop, the doggie bizness, because dogs didn't come up with these phrases. They're innocent, honest, absolutely faithful, fabulous furry friends who sometimes do "talk" or say things like we do.

Once at a conference for veterinarians we were thrilled to see an entire audience of seeing-eye dogs and their partners.  It was musician Paul Winter's greatest moment of glory, we think.  He stood before a full crowd of dog people and doggies, and he said, "Time for the dogs to have their say, to let a little howl go out to the universe."  Every dog in the place sat up and howled at the same time. 

We've seen and heard some amazing things, but this was the most amazing.

All in a dog's day, and all in our book . . .

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