Celebrated Mystery

Turns out my body decided to rebel against me so Word of the Day is restricted to Monday – Friday only. Relinquishing defeat and waving my white flag, I conceded victory to the great and mighty foe that is my brain.

With rest and firing synapses on my side the game is back on.

Flipping the pages of my majestic Dictionary of Word Origins, Dog, jumped out at me. I use the word daily. Especially when I am mad at my canine companions. They no longer have names, they are just Dog. Then there are the countless interactions I have had with clients while working at my Mom’s veterinary clinic that are sometimes pleasant and other times…well, horrifying to say the least.

Curious word that it is I began to read.

Word of the day: Dog

Entered the language in the 11th century. Dog is one of the celebrated mystery words of English origin. It appears once in late Old English, in the Prudentius glosses, where it translates Latin canis, but its use does not seem to have proliferated until the 13th century, and it did not replace the native hound as the main word for the animal until the 16th century. It has no known relatives of equal antiquity in other European languages, although several borrowed it in the 16th and 17th centuries for particular sorts of ‘dog’: German dogge ‘large dog, such as mastiff,’ for instance, French dogue ‘mastiff,’ and Swedish dogg ‘bulldog.’

Source: Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto

“Dog is one of the celebrated mystery words of English origin.” Simply fascinating. This knowledge is forever etched into my mind. Armed with this knowledge and my dog experience, I began thinking about how vastly human interactions with dogs has changed over the years. Humans have taken dog ownership to a whole new level. People now call their dogs furbabies or refer to an adult dog as a puppy…this of course is not to be confused with an actual young dog that is less than a year old.

Disclaimer: I have raised, trained, and medically treated dogs as patients for my entire life. I have yet to refer to my dogs as furbabies. I do on occasion call my dog, Hercules, who is slightly oafish, a puppy. Rather than behave himself as he should, he tends to do puppy things still. This trait of his is very irritating yet I still love him.

A celebrated mystery. Very fitting considering all we have to learn from them.

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” ― Mark Twain

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” ― Josh Billings


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