Seaside Magazine Bird

Posted On May 14, 2020 By In Regulars With 17 Views

What’s the Word? Pet Sayings if You Please

by Jo Barnes –

Hi Readers! Oh boy, oh boy, I’m sure pleased to be one of this month’s guest columnists. Hi, I’m Max the Dog.

Aren’t you forgetting someone?

Oh yeah, here is my feline friend Isadora!

Charmed I’m sure.

I’m livin’ the dream this week Isadora, chasing sticks, lots of walks and frisbee in the park! 

How thrilling. Well I suppose that’s all right for “Man’s best friend.”

You bet! We can thank Mr. George Vest for that one. He was a lawyer back in 1869 in old Missouri. Have you heard that story Isadora?

An old hound wandered onto its neighbour’s property one day. The neighbour shot it, then claimed to its owner that he’d never seen the dog! Imagine that! The owned sued, and it went all the way to the Supreme Court. Mr. Vest argued that the dog is a very important member of the family, “man’s best friend.” That’s what he said; it became part of our language. 

Wonderful story Max, I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. Now my idea of a good time is to curl up, pardon the expression, “kitty corner” to a warm fire.

That phrase has nothing to do with cats! It traces to “cater,” from the French “quatre”, and cater-cornered meaning four-cornered. Cater-cornered across referred to diagonally across from something. Cater was rarely used over the years; kitty became the favourite. 

Well all things about cats are favourites. I sure didn’t favour what my human fed me last night. I think cat food has, well, “gone to the dogs!”

Really? Well it didn’t go to me!

Oh Max, you’re unbelievable. What I meant was lately my food has been on the downgrade. The phrase, some say, comes from the old Chinese custom (a good one I think) of not permitting dogs within the city walls. Any human who was expelled from the city was said to have “gone to the dogs.” 

Not to worry, I’m sure tonight’s grub will be delish! And besides, you’re a “cat with nine lives,” remember?

I can certainly land on my feet; that’s true.

Absolutely; that’s what I mean! You survive situations where others might not do so well. The phrase and the myth have been around a long time. “Nine” has been considered a magic number since ancient times and the Chinese believe it is a lucky number. Maybe you were a dog in another lifetime?!

I hardly think so. 

Well you never know! Hey … what’s that smell?

And Max is off and running. Well I must say I am surprised. I actually learned a few new things from that dog. Hopefully you did too.



Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

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