I’m a dog person. I acknowledge cats as remarkable creatures, but I’m a dog person. I’ve had three dogs: Barney, the family dog of my youth, Waffle, our Golden Retriever/Cocker mix from early marriage, and Laddie the Schauchshund. A Schauchshund is  half Schnauzer, half Dachshund.

We are now dog-less, but we welcome any opportunity to spend time with these noble, and comical, beasts. The dog shown above is Scout, a fine canine who shares his home with our friends Stan and Betsy in New Jersey. We spent several days with the them a few years ago. We grew quite fond of Scout and found her pleasant company (along with Stan and Betsy, of course). They had a cat as well (RIP Bluebeard), but as I say, I’m a dog person.

I think dogs have built-in whimsy. They hang their tongues, drool, pant, make eye contact, and maybe best of all, wag their tails. Off the top of my head I can’t think of other tail wagging animals. Horses and cows and other animals swish their tails to fend off flies, but swishing isn’t wagging. Swishing is problem solving: an annoying fly comes near and the tail becomes a swatter.

Wagging, on the other hand, looks to be an expression of joy. The variety of wags suggest levels of happiness in the dog. A basic back and forth wag welcomes master home. A windmill, high gear, circular wag welcomes the electric can opener or crunchy sound of scooping chow.

Blue Dog

I’m not overly interested in technical explanations as to what a dog is doing when wagging its tail. I simply won’t be denied my delight in this humorous display of appendage whimsy. I’m not an authority on animals, I just know what makes me smile. Dogs and wagging tails make me smile. I like to think they are, in that moment, enjoying life. I know I enjoy them.