Friday, January 23, 2009

Talking Dogs Say the Darndest Things

My dog is a smart alec.

No, I haven't officially gone insane courtesy of Sesame Street songs. And I’ll bet a majority of pet owners know just what I’m talking about: You hold running conversations with your dog.

Most of my remarks are what we journalists call closed-ended questions, as in, “Would you like to go for a walk?” “Is it time for some food?” “Let’s go outside and do your business.” Which isn’t a question, of course, but I’m dealing with an animal, not an English teacher.

Those of us blessed with an imagination naturally take the conversation one step further and translate the dog’s body language into English. Out loud. Otherwise, it isn’t a conversation — it’s just me talking to my dog.

Most of the time, Dribbler — yes, that’s what we named our four-legged friend, after the basketball move — responds to the routine questions about his day with, “Ohh tay” or “Hoe de doh” as he heads in that direction. Occasionally, I get the “You’re kidding me, right?” backtalk.

But where he really shows off his sarcastic side is when I ask for an opinion. “Dribbler, do you think I should scrapbook or read a book tonight?” and his trusty response is “I dunno. I’m a dog. What’s reading?” His response to my plea for help in deciding between vacationing in Fairbanks, Alaska, or the Caribbean: "Make sure someone comes over here to feed me every day. I love to play the pitiful abandoned dog and snooker more food out of them."

A few days ago, I asked him when the temperatures would warm up so he could stay outside and play with that stick he seems so fond of. “Do I look like a meteorologist?” he shot back. When I asked what he found after a prolonged sniffing episode near our heat vent, he cocked his head, thought about it for a second and said, “Uh, something in the wall.”

So this morning, I asked his permission to post about him on my blog. He doesn’t mind, of course, since I hold the dog food bag, but he couldn’t resist the obvious wisecrack: “They’re all gonna think you’re crazy doing a ventriloquist act with a dog.”


Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

Hey, now! Some of us blog every day about our dogs, and we're NOT crazy at all. Not one bit ... are we Lilly? We're not silly dog girls? No we're not. :o)

Julie Sturgeon said...

Remarkably, I've refrained from talking baby talk to Dribbler, because I'm afraid he'll pick up that habit in his answers... LOL

Jennifer Roland said...

My dog has two stock answers to most of my questions: "Maybe you should just feed me," and "Rub my belly."

However, when my husband comes upstairs, I regale him with the story Aries would be telling him about the mean lady who won't let him eat his food, my food, the tv remote, my laptop cord, the hem of my pants, my shoes, my socks, the couch leg, the area rug, the tv stand, the toy he has chewed into pieces, and anything else that is in the room at the time.

Julie Sturgeon said...

Let me guess, Jennifer -- you have a Labrador?! I've never seen a breed that would chew as much as a Lab. Dribbler's column so far includes a set of patio furniture, two summer pool covers and a ghastly expensive winter one, a piece of artwork from Chile, a pool table rack, and the brick on the side of the house. I have to assume the Victoria's Secret bar was my fault, since it was mixed in with the dog blanket I threw in his cage.