Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • You're My Dawg, Dog
  • Written by Donald Friedman
    Illustrated by J.C. Suares
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781599621234
  • Our Price: $12.95
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - You're My Dawg, Dog

You're My Dawg, Dog

A Lexicon of Dog Terms for People

Written by Donald FriedmanAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Donald Friedman
Illustrated by J.C. SuaresAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by J.C. Suares

You're My Dawg, Dog Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - You're My Dawg, Dog
  • Email this page - You're My Dawg, Dog
  • Print this page - You're My Dawg, Dog
This book has no tags.
You can add some at Library Thing.


The clever and charmingly illustrated 94-page book that every one of the 78 million pet dogs in this country will want to get for his person!

Inside You’re My Dawg, Dog you’ll find 146 dog terms, idioms, proverbs and metaphors explained for people. On a single page you will find quotes from Shakespeare and Rihanna, Pre-Socratic philosophers, Black Sabbath and the NASDAQ.

You’re My Dawg, Dog gives us fascinating etymologies and vivid examples of familiar phrases like “dog days”, “dogfight”, “Dogfish”, and the “dog collar” worn by clergymen. Colorful dog terms are defined, like “black dog” which was Churchill’s nickname for his bouts of depression, “tough dog to keep on the porch”—Hillary’s descriptive for Bill, and “doggie style,” which the author drily explains is not “Vogue for Airedales and Cocker Spaniels.”

Not just a book for dog lovers, but also for readers and word-lovers. Seventy-five men and women randomly surveyed were uniformly enthusiastic upon reading a draft of You’re My Dawg, Dog. Visit the Praise page at www.welcomebooks.com/dawg for more quotes:


“Loved it! Great idea that should appeal widely. Illustrations are fun, funny and first-rate.”
— Massachusetts speechwriter with Golden Retriever

“Shows how dogs possess our language as they possess our souls. If only we knew what they call us. A wonderful book.”
— Theater producer with a much-loved stray rescued in 1997

“Simple, but brilliant idea—pulled off marvelously.”
— Berkeley clinical psychologist with Portuguese Water Dog

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
—Groucho Marx


Dog (n) (Canis lupus familiaris) The wolf that after 30,000 years of domestication became the hairless xolo that shocked Columbus, a poodle you can stick in your pocket, and a border collie with a thousand-word vocabulary. Most especially, man’s best friend, his protector, helper, companion. Today, the dog detects cancers, seizures, and blood sugar levels, not to mention bombs, drugs, and missing people. He guards your home, hunts, herds, draws sleds and carts, soldiers, and carries messages. He leads you when you’re blind, gives you signals when you’re deaf, tows your wheelchair when you’re disabled. He regulates your heart. Your dog is the ultimate acolyte; he believes you are the very image of God. His centrality to our lives has led inevitably to an equally central place in our language—the word “dog” alone or as part of a description of dog qualities or behaviors finds dozens of everyday applications.

2. The person in your life who possesses the best of the canine’s traits. Your main man. The one who’s always got your back. The friend who’ll help you bury the body. Also, colloquially, dawg. “You’re my dawg, Josiah.”

3. An auto-antonym, “dog” means, as well, someone who possesses the worst of the canine’s traits, someone who exhibits mean, reproachful, or contemptible behavior. “Herb’s a real dog for selling knockoff watches to his friends as the real thing.” Shylock rebuffs the loan-seeking Antonio with “You spurn’d me such a day; another time / You called me dog.” The negative outlook defined by “cynic” finds its origin in the Greek philosophers who were called “Cynics” or “dog-like” (“kynikos” in Greek) for their rejection of social conventions.

4. A very unattractive woman. “Sally’s decision to shave her head, insert a bone through her nose, and tattoo ‘Black Sabbath’ on her forehead has turned her into a dog that even dogs shy away from.”

5. Something that’s failed or poorly performing, like a stock or a Broadway show. “Amalgamated Schmaltz has been the worst dog in the NASDAQ, falling in three months from $75 to 11 cents a share.”

6. An iron support for holding fireplace logs. An andiron. Also called a firedog.

7. One of a large variety of mechanical devices with teeth or claws used for gripping and holding—such as the tool barbers once used for pulling teeth. 8. (v) To follow closely. “Josiah’s beagle used to dog his every step, and since he died Josiah says the memory of his little companion dogs his every waking hour.”


Big dog (n) The boss, an important personage, or the most competitive in a field. 2. The constellation Canis Major. 3. The Boston Dynamics Big Dog robot, which looks and sounds like a giant mutated insect, can carry several hundred pounds for hours over any kind of terrain without losing its balance even when violently kicked from the side or traversing black ice, and without complaint. See it on YouTube.

Black dog depression (n) The phrase seems to conjoin a dark mood with being dogged or unshakably followed. Commonly associated with Winston Churchill, who often referred to the depressive side of his bipolar disorder as his “black dog.” The usage has been around for centuries: in the Middle Ages, melancholia was one of the less positive traits the dog represented. “When Sally told Josiah she couldn’t face the day, that she’d gotten up with a black dog in her bed, he asked whether it was better or worse than his daily awakening with an elephant’s foot on his chest.”

Hot dog (n) A precooked sausage, a frankfurter or weiner, usually served on a bun and de rigueur cuisine at a baseball game. From the early accusation that dog was the primary constituent of the emulsified meat that is stuffed in the casing. 2. (adj) Someone who performs daredevil stunts or shows off. “Herb, ever the hot dog at chess, loved to offer his queen in sacrifice.” Sometimes used pejoratively to describe a self-aggrandizing or nonteam player. 3. An exclamation of pleasure; also “hot diggity dog!” With the exception of Pat Boone and maybe Sarah Palin, last known.

Horn dog (n) Someone who thinks about sex all the time and may, as a consequence, become a “tough dog to keep on the porch.”

Love me, love my dog A metaphoric way of saying that a person must be accepted along with those people and things close to or attached to her; by extension, to be accepted with one’s foibles and weaknesses. Back in the 12th century, St. Bernard (appropriately enough) is claimed to have quoted the proverb in Latin: “Qui me amat, amet et canem meum” (literally, “Who loves me, loves my dog, as well”), although why he did that is unclear. “Sally’s friends were disgusted with Herb’s drunkenness and discouraged Sally from bringing him around, until she called them on it and declared, ‘Love me, love my dog.’”

Three-dog night (n) A cold night—i.e., one requiring three dogs to keep you warm. Also the American rock group that sang of their friend Jeremiah the bullfrog and wished joy to the world.
Donald Friedman|Author Q&A

About Donald Friedman

Donald Friedman - You're My Dawg, Dog

Photo © Courtesy of Donald Friedman

I was born in Philip Roth’s neighborhood, the Weequahic section of Newark, New Jersey. Housing being scarce after the war, we--my parents, younger sister, and I—lived in my mother’s parents’ second floor walk-up apartment, until my father saved enough to buy a home in suburban South Orange. There, at ten, I enrolled in private art classes and began oil painting which continued through high school. An eighth grade art teacher and recognized sculptor, Joseph Domerecki, impressed by a clay bust I’d made in class, bought me a hunk of alabaster, lent me his chisels, and encouraged me to make something of it. At Columbia High School I cartooned for the school paper.

I then went to Washington University, St. Louis, where, apart from occasional cartoon contributions to the college paper, and private sketching, my sometime art career came to an end, and my creative impulses were mainly expressed in fiction writing and acting. It was then that I sensed a connection between the urge to draw and paint and to write, mulled it a bit, but had no idea what it could be. When I ran across a reference to D. H. Lawrence’s paintings it made an impression; as did a book of Henry Miller’s watercolors that someone gave me not long after.

In the years that followed graduation, after I’d gotten my J.D. from Rutgers and an L.L.M. from New York University Law School, had started practicing law, married and raised two children, I continued to make notes about writers who were artists. I also began to study fiction writing and to write in the early morning before work. A short story, “Jewing,” was published in Tikkun, and its elaboration became the novel The Hand Before the Eye, whose publication in 2000 after winning the Mid-List Press First Series Award marked the launch of a new career.

I turned at once to what had become, at that point, decades of research on writers who were artists. I searched out examples of their artwork from around the world, and secured more than 400 images, and reproduction rights—by itself almost a two year process—by 200 writers, from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (b.1749) to Jonathan Lethem (b.1964). With the help of researchers I examined the writers’ biographies, their essays, letters, and journals, to unearth little known material about their lives in the visual arts, and wherever possible their insights about their other discipline, about the meaning it held for them, about the relationship between word and image. I corresponded with and interviewed contemporary writer-artists including Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Berger, Donald Justice, Richard Wilbur, and others.  All of that and more—there are essays by me, William Gass, and John Updike—became The Writer’s Brush. A labor of love, it is filled with surprises and pleasures I wanted to share with the reader, whom I at all times think of as a companion in discovery. •

Author Q&A

The Writer Interviews Himself!

How did You're My Dawg, Dog come into being?
I'm a born procrastinator and, like many writers, try different ways to avoid the hard work of writing—since you can only do so many loads of laundry, looking at your investments is too depressing, and the people you want to waste time with on the phone have lives. In this case, I was avoiding work on my just-completed new novel, Corrupted Humours, by taking long walks in the woods where I could pretend I was working out issues of plot and characterization, which usually ended up with my thinking about neglected chores or my bad investments, but one day I started thinking of dog words.

Must have been a long walk—you've got over 140 dog terms in the book.
There were a number of walks and extended periods of procrastination during which I made lists and called everyone I knew to ask if they could think of more. And, of course, I went to dictionaries, and trolled the Internet.

But what got you started on dog terms—why not women or bad investments?
I don't really know. Many of my woods walks were with a friend and Stella Pusateri, a black lab who was to chasing sticks what Lance Armstrong was to cycling—although I hasten to add that Stella never used anything stronger than those disgusting pigs' ears and bacon flavored treats—so maybe she was my muse. There were lots of other people with dogs around as well.

The book is a lot of fun to read, was it fun to write?
Absolutely. And, of course, way more fun than writing the novel. The best part was coming across colorful dog idioms and proverbs that had fallen out of use and realizing how applicable they were today.

Can you give me an example?
Sure. "The dogs bark but the caravan moves on." This is an old Arab proverb reminding us that great social forces are manifested despite the narrow-minded objectors who are always resistant to change—whether it's civil liberties, rights for women, new artistic expressions of all kinds.

"A dog in the manger" is one of my favorites. It describes someone who prevents others from enjoying a thing that he doesn't want or has no use for. It's from an Aesop's fable about a dog who ferociously keeps cattle from the hay he can't eat but has chosen to lie down on. As a lawyer I'm also especially fond of the expression "Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and stumbled over" since it was the creation of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes when he was giving a lecture back in 1909 about intention and liability in the common law.

I love that you give us sources for these.
I loved finding them. I wasn't surprised to locate any number in Shakespeare's plays, but was astonished to find some that date back to the Greeks and Romans. "Every dog has its day" which sounds very contemporary makes an appearance in Hamlet but is connected with Euripides death by attacking dogs sicced on him by an enemy. "Love me, love my dog," meaning you've got to accept those attached to me, is attributed to Saint Bernard (appropriately enough) back in the 12th century.

Once you had your terms, how did JC become a part of the package?
I'd looked at a number of prominent illustrators' work, including JC's—whose name I'd gotten from Lena, my publisher. When I met with J.C. I knew immediately he was the one I wanted. He started sketching right in front of me and I was bowled over by his enthusiasm. Also, that he never came at the process of illustration directly, but found some slightly off way of presenting the idea. "Dog eared" is probably the quintessential example of that. Brilliant and quirky. I can't tell you how grateful I am that he agreed to do it. The book would be nothing without his art.

Have any idea who is going to buy it?
Anyone it's put in front of.



"A book that celebrates the dogcentricity of our language and culture ought to be as charming, funny and irresistible as dogs are. And You're My Dawg, Dog is."
— John Berendt, best-selling author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

I would say I was as happy as a clam while reading You're My Dawg, Dog, but a dog with two tails fits the bill better. Having written my master's essay in a large part about animal metaphors, I was surprised that the book even included several terms and expressions that were new to me. Overall, I would call You're My Dawg, Dog a delightful romp in a doggy word park. And Stanley agrees too. Here he is reading his already dog-eared copy. [review included photo of Laura's dog "reading" the book] – Laura Payne, A Walk in the WoRds

Pretty much any dog person will enjoy this book. It has enough of the familiar to be comfortable, plenty of obscure terms to keep it interesting, and darling, lighthearted illustrations to make you smile. – Susan Chaney, Best In Show Daily, March 12, 2013

"Mr. Friedman has infused humor and his own embellishments while providing the etymology of 'dog words,' referencing such luminaries as Groucho Marx, Jean Shepherd, Truman, Pat Boone, Mike Tyson, Sarah Palin and Rihanna, just to name a few. After reading this small tome, you'll be ready for the category of dog terms on Jeopardy!" – Lynn Kimmerle, Monarch Book Reviews, March 4, 2013

"Churchill referred to his black depression as the "black dog." Conservative and moderate Democrats however, are "blue dogs." But when we get dressed up for an evening on the town, we say we're "putting on the dog." In fact the number of dog-related terms of speech could fill a book, which is what Friedman and Suarès have done here. The illustrations are charming, the definitions are amusing. It's the perfect gift for someone who needs to be cheered up—someone who, say, is sick as a dog."
— Mike Neill, Cesar's Way, April 2013

"Dog Gone It...I can't believe how cute these illustrations are."
— Joni Evans, CEO, wowOwow.com

"You're My Dawg is just wonderful...It gives insight to the world so many of us love..our beloved dogs..and the illustrations are fabulous!!"
— Cornelia Guest

  • You're My Dawg, Dog by Donald Friedman
  • February 26, 2013
  • Humor - Topic - Animals; Pets - Dogs
  • Welcome Books
  • $12.95
  • 9781599621234

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: