Tribute to my Dawg

There’s a phrase that many Americans frequently* use: “You’re my dawg.” I don’t know exactly where this saying came from, but to me it means one or all of the following:

  • You’re a close friend.
  • I can count on you.
  • You get me.
  • I enjoy spending time with you.

That is an excellent set of qualities to have in a companion. I can’t imagine the primary demographic that uses “dawg,” 14-30 year old males, saying the lines above verbatim to convey friendship very often. Calling each other dawg instead is much more convenient.

Why the word dawg? I never really gave it much thought until recently. But, since I got my first dog a year and a half ago, the saying now makes perfect sense to me.

My dog is a 10 pound, nearly two years old Rat Terrier. She was a stray from the streets of north Philadelphia. My wife spayed her as part of her education towards becoming a veterinarian, and we adopted her right after (one of the best moves of our lives). Her name is Scoop, which comes from the term for winning the entire pot in a split-pot poker game. My brother and I play a lot of Omaha Hi/Lo, so “scoop” was equivalent to “jackpot” or “bingo” in our lexicons and it had nothing but positive connotations in our minds.

Sup dawg?

Scoop is the ultimate companion. She is down to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want to do it. Fight over a piece of knotted rope? Hell yes, she’s ready to throw down right then and there. Lazy day at home? She’ll sleep in bed with me under the covers until 1 PM. Long, late-night walk in freezing temperatures? She’ll enthusiastically follow me anywhere.

Her ability to make people feel wanted is unparalleled. When I get home, I usually have her greet me outside because she gets so excited to see me that she is literally in danger of pissing herself. My wife and I agree: I would have to be stranded on an island for years and pronounced dead before a human could be as happy to see me as Scoop is when I come back from a trip to the grocery store.

Her goal in life is to please. Scoop tries so hard to be in tune with me. She’s happy when I’m happy and excited when I’m excited. If she thinks I’m upset or disappointed, her ears go down and she shifts into melancholy puppy mode even if she’s done nothing bad. And on the rare occasions I’m actually disappointed with her, she doesn’t ever blow me off or get angry at me. She seems so full of guilt and ready to accept blame, how can I possibly stay upset?

And I’ve thought to myself a couple times when I’ve been on walks alone with her at night… If we were to ever be attacked, whether by a human or a bear that’s wandered into the suburbs, Scoop would stay by my side. She wouldn’t use her mind-boggling speed and agility to run away. Instead, I’m confident that her lips would curl up and the hair on her back would stand to make her look as intimidating as possible, and, if a brawl were to break out, she’d use all the power in her tiny body to defend me. She and I are members of the same pack, and that means we’ve got each others’ backs.

All this makes me understand why calling someone your dog/dawg is akin to the ultimate declaration of friendship. If a person treats you the way you’d expect to be treated by your dog, then that person is a fantastic friend indeed.

Scoop, you can’t read this post or even understand English except for a handful of words, but you’re my dawg.

Scoop, when she's not fighting bears and muggers

Scoop, when she’s not fighting bears and muggers

*In my experience, there’s been a trend for some time that has “bro” replacing “dawg” in most instances. “Sup bro?” is the new “sup dawg?” and so on. Brothers do make for pretty good companions after all, but for the purposes of this post I’ll pretend it’s 1999 and dawg is still the slang word of choice.