Favourite Reads: Dog Boy

My favourite novel about dogs

For a long time the novel-version of The Incredible Journey (1963) was my favourite ‘read’ about dogs. Then, 2009 or there abouts, I was at The Writers Festival in Byron Bay. Heard, or heard about Eva Hornung’s then new book, Dog Boy. Bought it after the segment to leaf through it while taking time out, and lunch, in my car.

I’m not a fan of events with 45+/- thousand people … probably not that many … but enough that I didn’t meet any friends or acquaintances] Read about 60 pages, kissed the Festival goodbye, drove home and read the rest.

It’s worth all the accolades. Every hyped up adjective. It’s “confronting”. “Highly descriptive, confident and thought-provoking.” “Completely believable. Unrelenting.” “Meticulous research.” “Pared-down, non-sentimental writing.” “A tour-de-force of imaginative empathy.”

In my opinion, it’s the most moving, frightening, heart-breaking story of how a child, to survive, becomes a dog. It’s writing from the soul.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6667541-dog-boy

Words: Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

Grey wolf, Canis lupus, single mammal on snow, captive

Type ‘dog’ into your search engine and you will get the facts about dogs, their history of domestication, the variety of dog breeds, the origins of the word ‘dog’. Everything you might want to know about Canis lupus familiaris. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog#Terminology.

There are hundreds of dog related metaphors. I wouldn’t be surprised if you know a few more than are described here: https://symbolismandmetaphor.com/dog-metaphors-similes-idioms/

BUT … all the above were not the concepts I had in mind when I started this research. I wanted to know how dogbox, dogger, dogging & dogman fitted into the word ‘cloud’ to do with dog. How these words originated. Have they anything to do with the canine subject of the title?

Apart from ‘dogger’ hard to find.

So. Dogger. Is not originally an English word. It’s an Old Dutch word for codfish. Pronunciation, I assume, is with the Dutch/Scottish -ch-. The boats the Dutch used to go fishing for codfish became known as ‘doggers’; then the place in the North Sea where they usually went fishing got the name Dogger Bank. Now sometimes known as Doggerland. Quite a bit if interesting reading about that: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/aug/01/doggerland-lost-atlantis-of-the-north-sea-gives-up-its-ancient-secrets

Dogbox, dogman and dogging. The only place i found mention of them is in the Australian construction industry.

“To safely sling a load, it requires an understanding of the suitability of the lifting gear, as well as what method of slinging is required. Further consideration of the nature of the load, such as its mass and centre of gravity, is also a factor. The Dogman course teaches you the basics to get the load moved safely.” https://constructiontraining.com.au/courses/dogging-courses.html

At the bottom of that page: “The simple explanation is that a dogman, colloquially known as a dogger, is the person. The actual task – the slinging techniques or guiding of loads mentioned above – is called dogging work.” The basket used to lift a load of smaller items is referred to as the ‘dogbox’.

Finally, back to Canis familiaris, in Australia someone culling feral dogs is also called a dogman.

Any other interesting uses out there of this three letter word?

Today …

One of my first paintings, meaning in this instance to represent a drug-addled brain

So. Today. With my wonky immune-compromised health, I decided it definitely wouldn’t do to get sick enough to have to go the hospital, or even to call for an ambulance. What with 30k holidaymakers entering the state every day bent on having their holy holidays, this is no time to get sick. A good time to stay indoors, out of the social scene. Isolating, again. So be good, I thought at the crone. Stay healthy.


She, however, risked her masked-up health and went into her new favourite library, St Vinnies—an Op Shop, charity or opportunity store—and “borrowed” eight old-fashioned print books. This because the local library was shut for Christmas-and-New-Year and the local virtual library not listening to her passwords, library id or pins.


On arriving home, she began reading Phillip K Dick’s Through a Scanner Darkly. Not wanting to stop for lunch she got a bottle of water, and a jar of Pano dark choc bits. Ate the latter and drank the former while continuing to read. Round about 4.30 PM, she remembered the not-getting-sick parameter, and drank more water before making and eating a peanut butter sandwich with blueberries.


Though the read was not all that gripping, she’d decided to read it, so read it she would. If that makes any sense. The title, which an FB friend was attracted to after the crone posted a pic of a bag full of reading matter, sounds like a take on ‘through a glass darkly’ … let me just check that …


OMG! yourbibleversedaily dot com tells her: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12. Paul’s famously poetic statement about the difficulty of knowing God in this life says a lot more than at first meets the eye.”


Well, it tells her it’s definitely worth it to check references, sometimes only vaguely known. What she has read so far of Through a Scanner Darkly … Yep, yep, definitely shaping up … to Augustine’s interpretation: “For Augustine, we see the image of ourselves clearly, but, as a reflection of God, the image is an imperfect way of gazing upon God.”


All she can think is, thirty or forty pages in, that poor sap. Thinking of the main character. He thinks he’s on top of what he’s trying to do but of course he will come a cropper. I wouldn’t be surprised, she thinks, if there’s a proper death at the end, not just the split-brain drug-addled un-death.


So. She’ll keep reading.

https://blindhypnosis.com/a-scanner-darkly-pdf-philip-k.-dick.html