Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man bites dog, dog bites Martha, dog goes vegan

Not the same dog, of course, but there's been a ton of canine related news this week.

A tiny Times story relates the tale of a University of Maine researcher who was investigating in interesting bit of 9,400-year-old human excrement. Why, I can't imagine, but inside was a bit of bone, and it was definitely dog.

The Martha story we've already covered, but the Times apparently has an appetite for all stories related to pets. Yesterday's Dining section featured a huge front page story and recipe for homemade pet food: 40 pounds of chicken necks, 20 pounds of giblets, 5 pounds of carrots (I could do without those), etc., etc. That at least sounds more reasonable than the tofu, kale and lentil vegan diet (plus some other inordinately healthful ingredients) foisted upon a greyhound and beagle. But at 15 and 16 years of age, something must be right.

Now, you'll notice I'm not waxing eloquent about Chaser the border collie, she of the extremely large vocabulary—1,022 nouns (and the subject of yet another Times story. That exact count reminds me of a proud grandma bout that took place many years ago. One grandma was saying to my grandma, "My granddaughter can say 53 words." My grandma, never to be outdone, said of my 18-month-old sister, "Well, my granddaughter can say 53 words in the same sentence." Which was true.

Anyway, 1,022 words seems a bit inefficient. The essential dog vocabulary consists of understanding these words: sit, treat, paw and car.

There's only one answer to the best word of all, "Hungry?," and that's a good long howl of affirmation. You can bet that whatever's in my bowl, it's not vegan.