Thursday, August 5, 2010
Andy's Growing Vocabulary
On the Saturday during the weekend of my first visit back home after I moved to NJ, I went to the kitchen for a snack. I was looking through the cabinets when I noticed that Andy had tippy-tipped into the kitchen to inspect what I was doing. At first he was simply gazing up at me with his cutey-pie face taking in everything I did with great curiosity. Though when I reached into the cabinet, pulled down a bag of Reese’s Pieces and started snacking on them, Andy’s behavior changed quite a bit.
First, he started bouncing up and down on his front legs while his back legs were anchored to the floor. For a moment I thought he was going to jump up on me or at least lean on the counter in an attempt to get some candy. But after a few bounces, I knew he wasn’t going to do anything that drastic. Realizing this tactic wasn’t working, Andy started shifting his weight again and again from his front right leg to his front left leg while his back legs were firmly planted on the ground. Overall this had an effect of him appearing he was tap dancing. As cute as I thought this was, this was a poor attempt at begging. For some reason, Abby had begging down to an art form. I won’t begin to compare and contrast their begging styles, but Abby was a master at it. Sure, Andy let it be known that he wanted food but he came close to crossing the line from begging to coercion. He was almost forceful and imposing on his attempt to get food from us. There was nothing subtle or slick about what Andy was doing.
A few minutes after I was in the kitchen, my mom walked in and I asked her “What the hell is he doing?” At that point, I didn’t even know he was trying to beg. I thought he had to go outside and pee by the way he was acting so antsy. My mom replied “He wants a tooty.” “What is a tooty?” I asked. My mom explained that a tooty was a treat for the dogs such as candy or cookies. The derivation of this particular word is unknown to me but the word’s usage has stuck ever since. Later that day in an attempt to see if Andy really knew what a tooty was, I called out to Andy “Do you want a tooty?” Sure enough, Andy trotted into the kitchen expecting some kind of treat (He got a tooty by the way). This new word, a part of an ever growing list in Andy’s vocabulary, has been a part of his lexicon for the last 12 years. When I offer him food, I often ask him if he wants a tooty, and he will reply by perking his ears, craning his neck and cocking his head a little to the side in a display of cuteness that words cannot do justice to how cute it really is.