Parker was more than a bit frustrated that he could not get his bamboo toy box opened. He put his long poodle snout down and quietly barked at it.  (I’m imagining it was the dog equivalent of OPEN SAYS ME) and when it didn’t open he turned to look at me from underneath his shaggy forehead locks to complain, using that mix of short, clipped then long mid-range howls, followed by soft barks and sideways looks that he always gives when he talks to me.

The bird is quiet when Parker talks. Maybe he finds dogspeak as curious a foreign language as I do.  It’s just in the last year that Parker has started using his words, and more frequently since Allie passed away three months ago. The bird’s name by the way is Tweety, named by my mother. He’s a yellow Indian red-necked parakeet, and he CAN talk. He and Parker have a symbiotic relationship: Tweety chews cashews at the edge of his cage — most of it falling, some bits of which he manages to eat. Parker sits UNDER him, looking up and getting cashew dust in his hair. Or bits of apple. Anything that Tweety eats, Parker figures he should have some too. Much to my chagrin, neither of them know how to operate a vacuum nor show ANY interest in wanting to know how.

At any rate, when Parker finished talking, I shook my head at him and explained to him — with words and gestures — he needed to turn the box around to open it from the other side because the side he was working had hinges, and clearly that was not going to get the toy box open. He gave a little howl, turned back around, and honest to goodness, used his nose to twirl that box around and push open the lid! I swear he was grinning as he found his favourite toy and started to chew on it.  I could only laugh; then congratulate him, and remembered another dog saying: “every dog has its day” which is thought to mean that all of us, no matter how humble, will have a time of prosperity, success, or glory at some time in our lives.

The saying is just under 500 years old. “The first recorded use in English is in 1545 (in the form “A dogge hath a day“) in a translation of a collection of “adages” or proverbs by the Dutch humanist philosopher Erasmus that had been published in Latin in 1508. Erasmus didn’t necessarily invent it himself; it may have been a traditional Dutch proverb. It obviously caught on because the future Queen Elizabeth I used it in exactly that form in a letter around 1550. About 50 years later Shakespeare used it in Hamlet: “Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew and dog will have his day.”

I am not sure if the saying is used all that often today outside the dog park or agricultural environments. The sayings and cliches of the city, of our modern world are slowly moving away from their rural roots.

Do dogs get their day some 500 years on? I hope so.  I am erring on the side of cautious optimism recognizing there is much work to do all over the globe to take care of….stray dogs, cats, bunnies, humans … all manner of creatures.  I wish every dog, every living thing, every heart that beats, has its day to be successful; to be well loved and cared for, to go to the dog park, get tummy rubs, ear scratches and buckets and bunches of pure, unadulterated unfettered enormous love for not just one, but all their days.

PS FYI:  Poodles do not shed  …  hair.  The DO shed dirt.


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
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