Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dogs as Characters in Books and Senseless Dog Idioms

by Linda Thorne

In 2006 my friend Sandee from Denver came to visit me when my husband and I lived in a town called Hanford in the Central Valley of California. She was on her way to a friend’s wedding and talked me into going with her. We drove to the home of the bride to be, Gailee, and her fiancĂ© in Atascadero, California. I not only got to meet the wedding couple and their families, but Sandee and I
stayed after the wedding to tour that beautiful area of the country. We made a trip to the Hearst Castle in nearby San Simeon and then shopped in a lovely little tourist town called Cambria, close to the Ocean. While window shopping I found the book, Marley and Me, displayed in a gift shop window.  The book cover had the face of a dog that looked so much like our dog that had recently died. I felt
like singing that age old Doris Day song, “How much is that Doggie in the Window.” The book captured me. I didn’t know what it was about, had no idea it was a best seller, but I ran into the shop and bought it and read it within the next few days.

Dog lovers are everywhere. Doggie characters can help sell a book, but that’s not why I put our deceased dog, Buffy, in my Judy Kenagy book series. I put her in because it was my way to keep my doggie alive. Buffy appears in my book trailer at: Another Termination
Speaking of dogs, there’s something I just have to get off my chest. Forever, I’ve said things like: “That person talked to me like I was a dog,” or, “I’ve been working like a dog, or someone was treated like a dog.”

President Obama said it in a different way publicly when he said, “They talk about me like a dog.”

Look up “work like a dog” online and it will define it in terms of struggle, hard work, slave labor. The term is in dictionaries all over and is a negative term.
Of course some dogs don’t have it as great as others, but for the most part we talk to them like babies. They don’t have to work and get to lie around being pampered, fed, let out for the bathroom. We give them a safe haven and protect them and they know it. So, now, even when people talk to me badly (and believe me it happens when you work in human resources), I’m having trouble saying I was talked to like a dog. After watching our two pampered border collies, Abby and Mo (picture below), lounge around doing nothing all day, every day, I doubt I’ll ever be able to say the words again, “I’ve been working like a dog,” but the Beatles said it in their famous song, A Hard Day’s Night. I can still here the beat filled tune with the words that don’t ring true ... at all.

It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do will make me feel alright.

 Abby left, Mo to the right - They don't work much


Jacqueline Vick said...

Very good! My doggie works hard at...sleeping. Eating. Sleeping some more. The real saying should be "joyful like a dog." Thanks, Linda, for sharing.

Susan Oleksiw said...

Some years ago I watched our rescue lab trying to dig up whatever he thought was hiding under a tree. He dug a giant hole and ripped out roots with his teeth, and kept on going. He nearly brought the tree down, but he never got the creature that went into hiding. I had to drag him away. I would never work that hard to catch a squirrel or a mouse. Our current dog barks at squirrels but nothing more. He sleeps near the door, just in case. That's his effort for the day.

Morgan Mandel said...

Our dog has the life of Reilly, but he's so cute he can get away with it. Also, he's a good boy! I was going to do a book about Rascal, our last dog, but I had so many other books on the back burner I never got around to it. She might get into a book yet, but I've been trying to apply discipline and finish the books in the order I started them.

Linda Thorne said...

Thank you for stopping by. Until I read these comments I did forget about how hard they can work at tearing something up (like the tree roots) or going on a barking frenzy when the UPS guy shows up. I guess I was thinking of "work" in terms of being productive, which they’re not. :) Most of the time they are like Jacqueline’s dog, lounging around, eating and sleeping.

Sunny Frazier said...

How about "Cat got your tongue?" Have no idea what that means, but in my house they've got most of the bed, all of the furniture, table tops and 8 varieties of food. I would say they are spending their 9 lives in luxury.

Linda Thorne said...

You got that right, Sunny. We have no cats now, but the cat idioms are about the same as with dogs. Totally off. Cats seem to be more conniving than dogs. They don't need to bark or whine, they sort of curl around your legs and let you know what they want in a softer way. Cats make great pets as characters in books too. I've always enjoyed the introduction of a cat or a dog personality in any short story or book.

cncbooks said...

My granddog, Rosie, is a border collie/springer spaniel mix and is a complete couch potato. She occasionally rouses herself to chase the cat a few feet but that's the most exciting exercise she has. Even her walks are little more than slow strolls in the neighborhood although she's driven to a few seconds of manic activity when confronted by that most fearful of horrors, a bird feather. I'm a cat person much more than dog but I must admit I love having her around ;-)

Linda Thorne said...

Nice to have your comment Lelia about granddog Rosie and your cat. A few words about pets brings out others wanting to share their experiences. I've read some things John Grogan wrote giving credit to the love of pets to his success with Marley and Me.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

We've had many wonderful dogs over the years. Down to one now and 2 inside cats. Good post, Linda!

Linda Thorne said...

Thank you, Marilyn. We had a period of time after Buffy when we were petless and enjoyed the freedom. Before long though, we felt something was missing and we were out perusing the local pound looking at the animals wanting a home