It’s a dog’s life

Paul Keir’s handling of animal euphemisms (C8) reminded Tony Hunt of Gordon of a story that circulated while he was employed at a UK veterinary clinic. “Apparently the boss’s instructions for all new hires were never to use alternative words or phrases for euthanasia after a client had her dog ‘put down’ on Guy Fawkes night because he had severe noise phobia. Unfortunately, the attending veterinarian and the customer interpreted this phrase differently, resulting in a very distressed and offended owner and ex-dog.”

In another example of the dangers of euphemisms (C8), Maurice Collins of Wollongbar relates the anecdote of “a veterinarian who looks at a sick dog on the table and says to the dog’s owner, ‘We have to put him down… he’s dirty feet’.”

While Lugarno’s Col Burns admits he has never flown a Skyfox (C8), he doubts that “the flight manual says, ‘In the event of impact, face a ten foot obstacle that is blocking a primary flight control (aileron). continue normal operation’. The joyrider is lucky that the souvenir in her parents’ garden is not a smoking black hole.

Jude Alcorn from Mullumbimby recalls a case of great rejoicing for pedestrians at a red light in the city of Brisbane when the first ‘bricks’ for telephones (C8) became fashionable. “The flash car that the driver was speaking into was repeated by the driver of the small VW bug in the next lane as he bent down and removed his shoe to formally speak into it.”

No buyers for blue healers (blue healers were a whole different story, of course). Paul Keir of Strathfield says: “’It would kill a brown dog’ (C8) is the basic statement, to describe something particularly harmful one would add ‘on a chain’. In the early 1980s, the chef at Parliament House briefly resigned after a senator said his meals “would kill a brown dog”. In protest, the chef and his staff formed a meter-tall brown dog out of butter and margarine. My family believes the brown dog of legend to be none other than the notoriously tough “red” kelpie.”

According to Andrew Dettmer of Indooroopilly (Qld) it was Bill Hayden who can take the blame for the brown dog quote above (C8). “As the leader of the opposition, he was asked about the quality of the catering at the Parliament building and memorably replied: ‘That would kill a brown dog’. As a Queenslander from Ipswich, he would know.”

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Justin Scaccy

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