If you see a big dog, duck


A few weeks ago on my morning walk, I looked up ahead on the sidewalk and noticed a jogger heading my way, pulling a dog on a leash. As soon as my imagination saw the dog, it starting telling me it was the vicious Pit Bull I had read about online.



I considered crossing the street, but there was too much traffic, and I was afraid if I started to run, the dog would attack me in the middle of the street. I edged over as far as I could to allow them plenty of room. The jogger ran along the opposite edge of the sidewalk, leaving the dog between us, no doubt to allow it easy access to my legs. Once I was down, it would be just a matter of time before the dog went after my jugular. Then the jogger could finish her run and get on with the day.



As often happens when I take my imagination out for a walk, the closer the jogger came, the smaller the dog grew. When I squinted, it started to look like a small Doberman Pinscher who had a bone to pick, a bone that belonged to me, the one I  carry between my ankle and knee.



The jogger, a young woman wearing Princess Leia earphones and slim hips, drew closer, but never looked at me. She did, however, look at her pooch and repeat three or four times, “Don’t bark!”



Up close, the dog looked a lot like a frisky little Spaniel. When we passed one another, the woman looked straight ahead, lost in her music, but still repeating, “Don’t bark!”



In an effort to be neighborly, I smiled, the sun glinting off my canines, and said, “I’ll try not to.” I was pretty sure she didn’t hear me because of the earphone muffs, so once she had passed me, I barked out loud two times, “Arf! Arf!”



Oddly, I haven’t seen her since, even though I have walked the same route for the last  two weeks.


Make words with Dog and a Half


Yesterday I promised to share the secret of affixation. If you are not yet familiar with the vocabulary (base word, prefix, and suffix), please see here.

First, let’s think of the base word as the front of a dog. He says something by barking. In this case, he is saying the word “attain” because he wants to gain something.



Think of the back of the dog as the suffix “-able.” Now the dog has the ability to gain what he wants.



But we still need a prefix, so let’s use “un-” to liven things up. Try as he might, the dog cannot attain what he has set out to get.


And here it is all put together.


Some of you are nodding your heads because you understand quickly. The rest of you need  another example.


In this case, the front of the dog is the base word “describe” because he wants to tell us what he has found.



We will use the same suffix as above in order not to introduce too many new terms and confuse the ones who sit in the back.


This makes our little dog happy.


But (yes, we will throw in another but) let’s go ahead and add the prefix “in-,” which again makes everything impossible. And voila, our mutt can no longer describe what he has found, but in this instance, he can still enjoy it.


Before I can show you how this word looks, the “e” in “describe” must be surgically removed. It requires a great deal of skill. Watch and learn.



Now friends, I hope you are sitting down because I would like to make an offer to you that I believe will revolutionize your life. Why should I keep this all to myself? Why not share it with the world? I want you to be able to make words using Dog and a Half. Yes, it’s true, if you will share your money with me, I will share my secret with you!


Think of it. While your friends are sitting around twiddling their thumbs on cellphones texting so-called sentences composed of just three or four letters, you can be making multisyllabic words with Dog and a Half! Perhaps up until now the idea of flummoxing your friends was only a dream. You wanted to do it, but you didn’t know how. Now you can!


Today for just $9.99, I will send you a template of Dog, a big piece of paper, and a fancy art eraser. AND because I’m feeling especially generous, I will include a recycled pencil. And not just any pencil, but a pre-sharpened pencil with a pink eraser. See below.


But wait, there’s more!! If you act now, for just an additional $5, I’ll include this pair of scissors.

If you use them as instructed you can double the paper and the art eraser!!! Think of it: you can DOUBLE your supplies for a mere $5!! You would be a fool not to buy the scissors, too.  (NOTE: In the picture, you see that the pencil has also been doubled. Do not use your scissors. Instructions are included in your kit to show you  how to double it.)

People call me crazy for making offers like this. Well, I call myself twice as crazy for offering you double the supplies for a total of just $14.99. But I promised I would be generous today, and I didn’t want to disappoint you.


Hurry! Supplies won’t last.


(Offer valid until WordPress shuts me down.)

Are you a dog or cat person?


My mother was a dog person who had a lifelong distrust of cats. Whenever the subject of cats came up, she would get a disgusted look on her face and tell us they could not be trusted. Then in the same solemn voice she used when she warned us not to talk to strangers, she would say, “The minute you turn your back on a cat, it will jump on the counter and lick the butter.”

Although we never left butter unattended on the counter or even knew anyone who did, this made perfect sense to us when we were young. I was always slightly horrified when we visited people who had cats and wondered what it was like to eat cat-licked butter on toast.

For most of the last decade of her life, mother lived with my brother. She had raised him right and he had two dogs, miniature Doberman Pinschers called Axle and Alexander. Mother was particularly fond of Axle, who followed her everywhere and was always sitting at her feet. She loved telling my brother that Axle loved her best.

The chair in the living room by the front window was mother’s favorite place to sit and read a book. Every day she would get up early, bring her book and a glass of milk and spend the morning reading. And Axle, her faithful companion, was always there at her feet.

One morning my brother was at the top of the stairs when mother set her book down to go to the bathroom. Axle stood up and watched her go. As soon as the bathroom door shut, he hopped on the ledge where she kept her glass of milk, stuck his snout in, and drank as much as he could. When he heard the toilet flush, he jumped down, licked his lips, and stood at attention, waiting for the one he loved best.

Butter? What butter?

When mother came out of the bathroom, my brother was laughing so hard it took him a few minutes to explain what Axle had done.

I don’t know if mother ever got over that betrayal. She never bragged again about how much Axle loved her. And along with the butter, she never left her milk unattended again.