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Lassie and Rex might or might not answer to 'doggo'

Joyce Walter reflects on man's best friend.
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

Most friends of mine of more than a week will be able to confirm my long-time desire to add a dog to our household.

In fact I whined so much about wanting a puppy that a close friend was all set to make sure my Christmas wish came true. She was talked out of the gift by Housemate who convinced her, that while he too loved dogs, we were away from home too much to properly care for a puppy that would eventually become a larger dog.

Both of us had dogs while growing up: his on the farm, and mine in a small town where everyone’s dog was allowed to roam without fear of unhappy neighbours. In those days most dogs were outdoor dogs, except for one lady’s mean-tempered Pekingese that snarled anytime someone came near her mistress. I was scared stiff of that critter and hated visiting that home with my Mother.

The first dog I remember was Bingo, and although he lived in a kennel-style shelter in the garage, I have photos of him licking out the icing pot: kid inside with the door open and dog on the step with his nose in the dish. Not sure where Mom was, unless she was the one taking the photo. Hmmmm. 

My favourite canine friend was an American Water Spaniel that I named Scratch. She was the daughter of my Sister’s dog and she came to me as a pup, who got car sick on the trip from Cold Lake to Moose Jaw. Dad and I fixed her a lovely house in the garage despite my hopefulness that she might be allowed indoors. Not a chance, was the rule from Mom. But of course she knew we snuck Scratch indoors when she was away at her meetings.

Unfortunately, Scratch died an early death in a traffic accident at the end of our alley where she sat waiting for me to get home from school.

All of this preamble brings me to “Doggos,” an affectionate name given to pups and adult dogs by their humans. I thought I misunderstood the first time I heard this word. But no, my hearing was not defective.

There is some evidence to suggest the term has been around since the 19th century, used then in different form to urge someone to stay under the radar, or let sleeping doggos lie.

However, other research led me to information about a Facebook group, Dogspotting, which has 500,000 members and is popular in Australia. A bit more reading provided details about a separate language or doggo lingo that has been adopted when one talks to and about the dogs and pups in the family. 

I was lost after the reference to “doggos” being the term to evoke the image of a dependable, tail-wagging friend that will stay closer than a best friend. I knew that about Lassie and the Littlest Hobo and never were they referred to as “doggos.”

At this stage of our lives, having a dog is mostly out of the question. However, we have two dogs who in doggo talk would be considered our fur baby nieces (I think both are girls.) And the neighbour’s dog is protective of us when he senses an interloper in our yard. He lets us pet him until he tires of this activity and heads off to play with a more interesting doggie toy. 

I had trouble learning French as a second language. Imagine me trying to learn the Doggo lingo at my age. I’ll stick with “Here Buddy” or “aren’t you a good girl."

I wonder how Bingo and Scratch would have responded to “Doggo” as a term of endearment? That Pekingese would have snarled and barred her teeth.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication. 

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