Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Puttin' on the dog

Let's talk dogs.  This is Minnie:

Minnie is a Fox Hound/Lab mix.  She is smart as a whip, as hard headed as they come and tenacious with her desires.

Max is a Great Pyrenees/Irish Setter mix.  From the Pyrenees side, he gets his loyal and overly protective traits.  His neurotic tendencies come from his Setter genes.  Actually, I don't know if Irish Setters are typically neurotic or not, but the only one I've ever known sure was so I'm making a bit of an assumption.

Both dogs were rescued from shelters and while neither of them are what I'd intended to get when I entered the shelter, I already had that possessive mother's love for them before I got either of them to the car.

So, why am I talking about my dogs today?  I recently made a rather public comment that didn't go over so well.  I innocently, or so I thought, made an off hand comment about "beating the dogs."  I never in a million years meant to imply that I actually physically harm my dogs.  In our house, "beating the dogs" consists of either a firm, "No!" if they are actually caught in the act of doing something wrong, or the more usual form of pointing a finger at them when we come home & discover they've been having wild parties while we were gone.

Coming home is always an interesting event.   Before we even enter the house we can tell if the dogs have misbehaved while we were gone.  If no wild parties were had, both dogs will be at the door, howling like crazy to welcome us home.  Minnie has even taught Max to howl like a hound dog.   If both dogs participated in a wild, destructive party while we were out, they'll both be upstairs barking to welcome us home.  If Minnie was the trouble maker, she'll be upstairs barking & Max will be downstairs at the door barking.  As soon as we enter the house, Max will up the volume of his barking & keep looking at the steps while Minnie stops barking & begins to whine and slink around carrying her "baby" (a very bedraggled pink teddy bear) around in her mouth.  If  things have gone the other way & Max was the wild man & Minnie behaved, Max will be upstairs barking & Minnie will greet us at the door doing the whimpering, baby carrying thing.  We always know who the culprit was by their behavior.

And Minnie is smart!  Have I mentioned that?  She has learned how to open firmly shut doors.  Once, when we'd tried to save our sanity by putting her favorite squeaky toy up on the closet shelf at night & we forgot to get it down for her during the day, she dragged a Rubbermaid tub out from under the hanging clothes & used it to stand on so that she could jump up and get her squeaky toy.  We know this is what she did because of the teeth marks in the Rubbermaid tub & the dirty paw prints on the clothes. Minnie has also learned how to take a chair, place on the couch or a favorite toy from Max without getting beaten up for her efforts.  (Max can be a bit protective of his spot on the couch or a good chew toy.)  When Minnie wants what Max has, she simply suddenly runs to the door or out to the back yard (they have a dog door) & starts her "Danger! Danger! barking.  Max goes running to help protect his humans & Minnie comes back & takes the spot on the couch or the toy.  And Max never seems to learn!

Okay, back to the topic....   We really don't beat our dogs.  At worst, the most "abuse" they get is too many human food treats.   They really should cut back on their pizza intake.  Punishing our dogs consists only of saying NO! or shaking a finger at them.  Minnie Hates the finger!  She knows she's been bad & will slink around guiltily for hours when you point a finger at her.  Max tends to get that look teenagers sometime give you when you are fussing at them.  You know, that belligerent, "I know I broke the rule but I don't really care & I'd like to tell you where to stick it, but you are my meal ticket" look teens occasionally display.  Then he lays down at my feet & tries to pretend it never happened.

But getting slammed for what I thought was an innocent comment made me realize that we do use a lot of dog phrases.  Southern colloquialisms, if you will.  And when I stop & think about it, some of them are very strange and have nothing at all to do with their meaning.  Here's a few examples:

"Puttin' on the dog" is doing something in a fancy manner.  You might put on the dog & get all dressed up to go to a fancy dinner party or for a night at the opera....

"Going to the dogs" usually means that something is past it's prime.  A person who's looking a bit haggard could be going to the dogs.  And old worn out chair could also be going to the dogs.

A man (not sure why it's only the men) might say he's going home to "whip the kids & beat the dogs."  By that he actually means he's looking forward to going home to see his family & plans to hug & snuggle with them on the couch.  A man with no kids of the two or four legged variety might simply say he's going home to "beat the wife."

A "dog fight" is any close competition where both sides are equally matched.  This past weekend's bowling tournament was definitely a dog fight!  The first & second place winners fought hard during all 12 games and stayed neck & neck with each other point wise.  The score was so close that the championship came down to the the very last throw of the very last ball of the 12th game.  That was a dog fight of a tournament!  And don't worry - you'll be hearing details soon.  I'm a rather proud mother at the moment.

A person can have a "hang dog" expression which means they look sad.

You can find yourself "in the dog house" which means you've gotten on someone's bad side or irritated them in some way.  Husbands frequently find themselves in the dog house.

When you're excited that someone's coming for a visit & you plan to welcome them with open arms, you tell them you'll "chain up the dogs."

"Dog gone!" is a positive version of OMG!  As in, "Dog gone!  You baked me a cake!"

"Dong gone it!" is a negative OMG!  As in "Dog gone it!  I dropped my cake on the floor."

The "dog days of summer" are those horrible, hot, humid days that suck the life out of you.

I'm sure there are others, but no more are coming to mind.  If you can think of any, please, send them my way.  I'd love to hear them.  And once again, I apologize to anyone who was offended or upset by my original comment.  But that's the last time I'm going to apologize for it because it's starting to feel like I'm beating a dead horse....  (Yes!  Another beating related southern colloquialism.)

Now, on to knitting.

I received a bit of yarn for Christmas and I believe these two yarns will be a part of my next project.  Still not sure what that project will actually be.  Some kind of shaw or scarf, but as for the design, I haven't made up my mind yet.   Stripes?  Chevron?  Slipped stitches?  I just can't decide.  I may have to knit a hat while I consider my options.

Oh, and by the way, I think I should get points for correctly spelling "colloquialism" on the first cup of coffee.

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