by Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
If your pet gets skittish, try a little Yiddish
By Mike Tighe - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Oy, vey! Doggone it if an idea doesn’t up and slap a guy in the head sometimes, like a woman did to me after the Jan. 23 FencePost listed dog-based literary juggernauts and a few cats’ meows, too.
I figured I was safe from cat lovers’ wrath because I took the high road when I refused to say they taste just like chicken. And several dog lovers even tossed me some bones of appreciation.
But I’m glad we don’t have transoms at work like we did in the old days. OK, I’ve explained this before, but I feel the need to do it, AGAIN, for the youngsters out there who can’t remember a THING: In days of yore, offices had openable windows above the door, for air circulation. But you also could throw mail and other stuff in through that window, so the saying was, “whatever comes in over the transom.”
So, in truth, Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe didn’t really bonk me over the head because she sent me the book through the mail instead of tossing it over the transom, because we don’t have a transom.
But her book slapped me upside the head with a good idea for a follow-up: Just steal her stuff.
However, that would be plagiarism, which would have set legal beagles yapping at my heels, so I called the winter Greenacres resident and got permission to lift a few sayings from her book, Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers.
After all, I thought, I know that some dog trainers use foreign languages as commands so the dogs will respond only to their orders.
So, it occurred to me that the high percentage of Jewish folks in the area increases the chances that, when I see a lost pet on the street, its owner might be Jewish. And I might need to know some Yiddish sayings to put him at ease while I check his tag to see whether he’d been neutered. (By the way, the book says it’s against Jewish law to neuter a pet, but it’s OK to own one that was neutered in advance.)
So, here are some Yiddish yips and yowls, with translations of the sayings, from the book:
Buy one dog, get one flea.
If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.
May you speak so eloquently that only a cat will understand you.
You can trust him like you can trust a cat with sour cream.
There is never a snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.
Animals have long tongues but can’t speak; men have short tongues and shouldn’t speak.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Michael Vick.
Dogs fight over a bone, and mourners over an inheritance.
Dogs eat; cats dine.
Who let the dogs out?
Some days you’re the dog; some days you’re the hydrant.
The more people I meet, the more I like my dog.
During the course of additional research in teaching this old dogs new tricks, I ran across a book titled, Teach Your Dog a Foreign Language, but I don’t need it because I don’t have a dog.
And, if I DO get one, I’ll be satisfied with these Yiddish commands for starters, from Gottlieb’s book:
Go out: Aroys.
Good (praise): Gut!
Stand up: Shey oyf.
Stop: Hre oyf.
The only thing I wonder how to say, in Yiddish, is: “I love cats: I just can’t eat a whole one by myself.”
But I’ll close with what the book says is the Yiddish command for Done: Fartik.