May 2006 – Sincerely Sire Newsletter


                                 Talk To The Dog


I used to think my neighbor was such a buffoon—the way he talked to his ten-pound pooch. And how do I know that my neighbor talks to his ten-pound pooch? Because where Roe and I live in downtown HB, the houses are an arm’s length apart, if that, so, the dog—and the neighbor—might as well be in my own backyard. So, everyday when my neighbor comes home I can hear him talk to his dog, just as if his dog was a person with a fairly high IQ and fully functioning linguistic abilities.


Now in the beginning, right after he got his little doggy, the vocabulary used by the owner was pretty limited, more like he was talking to a person with a low IQ, or in this case, Dog Q. In fact, he really only said two things to the puppy at

first: “Bad Dog” and “BAAAAD Dog!!”


This sort of verbal thrashing went on for weeks. And if this was said to the dog while it was in the house, it was often followed by the sound of a door being slammed, which I quickly surmised was the aftermath of the little pooch being tossed outside after he had done something naughty…tinkle tinkle tinkle.


After a few months though, the “Bad Dogs” began to dissipate and were replaced with words of praise and affection. I unavoidably heard things like, “How ya doin’ little buddy?”—“Did ya miss me? Huh? Did ya miss me?”—And then one day, I heard something that brought a tear to my eye and put a lump in my throat—“Good Dog! That’s a Very Good Dog!” And soon thereafter the “Good Dogs” had replaced the “Bad Dogs” almost entirely. After listening to our neighbor converse with his dog for over a year, Roe and I—as you may remember from a few newsletters ago—purchased our own little canine, and now it is I who sounds like the buffoon. What is that saying?


I am only just now, after almost six months of raising our little Boston Terrier, getting past the “Bad Dog,” and in my case “Very Baaaad Dog!” language.


And, yes, I talk to her—Finnegan, Finn for short—on a regular basis, especially when just she and I are in the house. Like when I’m flossing my teeth and she is staring up at me wondering what the heck I am doing. I look right into

those bulging black eyes and explain it to her, “This is called dental flossing Finn. We humans have to do it to keep our teeth clean.” Or when I’m getting ready for work, “I’m getting dressed Finn, you’re lucky you’re a dog Finn, because dogs don’t have to get dressed. They can run around naked all day. You’re naked right now Finn. Do you know you’re naked?”


There’s something nutty about having a dog around that makes me feel a little goofy, sort of like, what did I say, a buffoon?


It’s very cool. And I personally believe that talking to your dog, or your cat, or your bird or whatever, is perfectly normal and acceptable, not to mention it’s much cheaper than a therapist.


Oh, and there’s one other big benefit of owning a dog, at least in my case there is. Unlike Roe, Finn never talks back, never bites, can’t outsmart me, and when I’m done talking I can just lock her in her cage, flop down on the couch and flip on the TV.


No wonder they call a dog, “Man’s best friend.”


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