Book Review: You’re My Dawg, Dog: A Lexicon of Dog Terms for People

Written by Donald Friendman and illustrated by J. C. Suares, this book was a Christmas gift, and I enjoyed it. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an illustrated “dictionary” of dog-related terms. As someone interested in etymology and the origins of language, I enjoyed reading about phrases used from the Middle Ages to Shakespeare to Churchill.

youremydogdawgEven though I was familiar with many of the terms in the book, each entry offered additional insight into common phrases (there are so many phrases we use and simply don’t know why). For instance, not having grown up in the South, I learned late in life what a hush puppy is—a bit of fried goodness consisting of corn bread, onions, and other seasonings. But I learned in the book that “Apocryphal sources claim that slaves seeking to escape used them to calm guard dogs, and Confederate soldiers to prevent the other side from detecting them by their barking dogs.” Even if not true, it’s an interesting thing to imagine.

For a teacher of etymology, this book offers interesting tidbits to share with my students. For a writer, this book offers tidbits of information just detailed enough to spark the imagination—and perhaps I can use some of these phrases in my next volume of Corgi Capers!