Mad Dog Weekly - Doing It Doggy Style

Be sure to visit the Doggy Style Archives!

 

 

Conversation has gone to the dogs
by Mad Dog


It turns out dogs are perpetually stuck in the terrible twos. Letís see the SPCA use that as a sell point for their next puppy adoption campaign.
     Iíve never been good at foreign languages. Thatís why Iím always grateful I was born in an English-speaking country. During school I took several years of French and two of German, absorbing about as much as a concrete sponge. But Iím glad I took them. The French came in handy on my trips to Europe, letting me order food and ask for directions without too much embarrassment. Of course I had to pretend I really did want cigars in hollandaise sauce with sautťed shoelaces for dinner and act happy to know how to get to the louvered windows when Iíd hoped to find the museum that houses the Mona Lisa. The German, well, letís just say that the one phrase I remember, ďIch bin ein AuslšnderĒ, wonít come in nearly as handy since all Iíd be doing is stating the obvious.

     Now it turns out thereís a more useful language to study: dog. Thereís a book out called How to Speak Dog which tries to teach us humans to communicate with canines. The author, Stanley Coren, claims a dog has the vocabulary and intelligence of a two-year-old. This might not be so bad if it converted into fourteen dog years, but I donít think it works that way. Thus, it turns out dogs are perpetually stuck in the terrible twos. Letís see the SPCA use that as a sell point for their next puppy adoption campaign.

     Coren says each wag, yawn, and head cock means something and we can learn to interpret them. This sounds good though it raises the question of whether we really want to know this. After all, as anyone who canít remember things they did while drunk will attest, ignorance can indeed be bliss.



In the animal sense cosmetic surgery means declawing, cropping ears, and clipping tails. And they want to outlaw all of it. Removing their testicles would be fine, but please, leave those claws alone.
     Personally I like my linguistic ignorance. Iím perfectly happy not understanding what most of Jerry Springerís guests are trying to say through their three remaining teeth. And I rather enjoy smiling at a chattering two-year-old, then looking up at Mom and knowing itís her problem and not mine. Thatís why Iím pretty sure I donít need to know that when Fluffy is sprawled out on the floor like a frog with his head cocked left while clenching a sock monkey in his mouth it means he thinks Nietzsche was wrong about God being dead. Or is he actually asking for more Prozac? Thereís never a Dog-English dictionary around when I need it.

     On the other hand there would be plusses. If we did understand dogs we could find out whatís so much fun about running after a stick for four straight hours or why they circle three times before laying down. And once and for all weíd find out  if they lick themselves for the reason we all think they do. Best of all, it would mean Buddy, the First Dog, could have been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate, telling them what he saw and heard in the White House. Actually, itís not his testimony Iím interested in, itís watching the chief of protocol go nuts trying to figure out whether the witness should be addressed as Buddy, Mr. Clinton, or Hey Mutt.

     There are other reasons being able to speak dog would come in handy. For one, it would let us know where they stand on issues that concern them. In San Francisco, the Commission of Animal Control and Welfare has asked the Board of Supervisors to ban veterinarians from performing cosmetic surgery. These arenít operations in which they increase the number of nipples on a female so she can attract males along with lucrative movie roles such as Horny Bitch in the new James Bond movie. Nor does it refer to giving face lifts to Sharpeis, tummy tucks to St. Bernards, or fur-o-suction for weight loss. No, in the animal sense cosmetic surgery means declawing, cropping ears, and clipping tails. And they want to outlaw all of it. Removing their testicles would be fine, but please, leave those claws alone.



In 1996 Ernest, a 110-pound Bernese Mountain Dog from California, ran for Congress as a write-in candidate. And got 2,001 votes. Not bad considering Corenís book wasnít out yet so none of Ernestís supporters had any idea where their candidate stood on the issues.
     This is the same agency that last year passed a resolution calling on the city to eliminate the phrase ďpet ownerĒ in all official documents and replace it with ďpet guardian.Ē While this may sound like a purely semantic discussion best left to Edwin Newman and that host of the BBC show who can quote every syllable of the Oxford English Dictionary while speaking as if he has a sausage roll stuck up his butt, itís actually very important. Imagine how it would help your petís self-esteem to not think that theyíre owned. Unfortunately it would also open a can of worms bigger than a jumbo size can of pet food. Before you know it your cat would start demanding 9 Lives Hamachi Roll with Wasabi Gravy for dinner instead of that Iams Crunchy Tofu With Granola for Seniors you keep putting out. Then your parakeets will start insisting that you line their cage with a better quality newspaper than the Star. And finally the day will come that you tell your dog to ďFetch!Ē and sheíll look back, wondering who the hell you think you are bossing her around, and say, ďYo quiero revoluciůn!Ē Iím telling you, we donít want to head down this road.

     On the other hand, if we could understand dogs weíd know where they stand on the issues of the day. This would come in handy in case any of them decide to run for president. I donít mean to insinuate that the candidates we have now arenít dogsóyou donít have to look any farther than the morning newspaper to realize they areóno, Iím talking about the possibility of having a real live honest-to-goodness dog run.

     This isnít as farfetched as you might think, since in 1996 Ernest, a 110-pound Bernese Mountain Dog from California, ran for Congress as a write-in candidate. And got 2,001 votes. Not bad considering Corenís book wasnít out yet so none of Ernestís supporters had any idea where their candidate stood on the issues, though I suspect that when asked about preserving the redwoods he was all for it, not understanding why anyone would want to get rid of the worldís largest toilet grove.

     Ernest died last year so he canít run again, but his success has inspired others. For one, Al Gore has emulated him. Unfortunately he used Ernestís post-death rigor mortis days as his role model. But thatís not the point. Gore understands we can learn from our canine friends. He wants to open up a meaningful dialogue. And heís not afraid to get in touch with his canine side. At least I think thatís what heís saying when he tilts his head, cocks his ear, and pants.

 ©2000 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read them to your dog.

 

(ALMOST) INSTANT NOTIFICATION
Enter your email address below to be notified whenever a new column is added to the Mad Dog Weekly!



Powered by FeedBlitz


  Skywriting at Night - a novel by Mad Dog

[Home] [Doggy Style Archives] [Blog]  [Novel] [Playground] [Plot-o-matic] [Porn-o-matic] [On The Road]
[Grand Highly Illuminated Xmas] [Who the hell is Mad Dog?] [Work Stuff]
[FREE Newsletter]  [ ] [Linkage] [Search]

©1998 - 2013 Mad Dog Productions
All Rights reserved