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Whether or not you spell their name backwards, or consider that they may in fact be the species with nine lives as the number itself is fully spelled out within their very name, dogs (aka: canines) are indeed sublime, perhaps even divine critters.

canine [ˈkeɪnaɪn]:犬的;犬科动物
sublime [sə'blaɪm]:卓越的, 令人崇敬的
critter ['krɪtə]:生物

As luck would have it, Canis domesticus has for some reason decided to hitch its waggly-tailed wagon to we upright-walking—though hardly upright—schmucks.

Canis domesticus:家犬
schmuck [ʃmʌk]:笨人

At some point tens of thousands of years ago in the evolution of mankind, dogs decided to throw nature for a loop and lose their lupus tendencies, preferring long walks by our side and dry bones for snacks instead of the loose flesh of our necks as appetizers, as wolfpacks are wont to do.

lupus ['luːpəs]:天狼座
wont  [wɔnt]:习惯的

As for their loyalty to we wayward folk, you may well ask what’s in it for domesticated dogs?

wayward: 任性的;不规则的

I for one have no idea, but having said that, perhaps it’s a good thing they remain speechless – having been stuck with a single-word vocabulary (woof! bow-wow! wan!... pick your patois) since we ditched the trees and hit the savanna standing.

patois ['pætwɑː]:方言;土语

What if they were suddenly gifted with intelligible speech, and admitted they were only with us for the free lunch and protection from coyotes?

coyote [kaɪ'əʊtɪ]:土狼

How depressing.

Let’s see what the ancients have to say.

The Tang Dynasty’s (618–907) leading poetic rivals made a few references to man’s best friend in their copious body of work.

“A dog's bark amid the water's sound; Peach blossom that's made thicker by the rain…” said Li Bai (701–762) in his Visiting the Taoist Priest Dai Tianshan But Not Finding Him.

The mention evokes a sense of longing and melancholia, associated with a common background din that forms an aural construct around our memories.

melancholia  [,melən'kəʊlɪə]:忧郁症

And Du Fu (712-770), in his A Song of War Chariots, perhaps unwittingly revealed that we often take our barking brothers for granted.

“Men of China are able to face the stiffest battle; But theirofficers drive them like chickens and dogs.”

Moving back to modernity, the staying power of the popular pet is testament to its adaptability.

Several millennia ago, during the pastoral stage of social organization, dogs were bred for their ability to keep sheep and other vegetarians from running beyond the shepherd’s ken – while eagerly awaiting their “masters” to slaughter these same ruminants and then throw them a bone.

pastoral  ['pæstərəl]:牧人的
ken [ken]:视野范围

As if a loyal pup’s wagging tail and playful pouncing when we arrive home each night isn’t enough to cement their friendship with us forever – let’s not forget that when buildings crumble in quakes or the sightless try and negotiate a busy intersection, it’s not the cats and goldfish that are called to duty.

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