Baby's First Pun
I overslept a bit over the weekend (maybe it was wrestling with the rose bush), so the dog and I went out for her morning walk during what’s usually kids-and-families time. One group, father, stroller, daughter maybe 6, son maybe 5, plus baby of unknown gender in a front pack, were coming toward us. Usually, I move the dog away — she’s friendly enough, but can be both bouncy and vocal, which can scare children — but the father seemed to have the children well in hand, so I didn’t interrupt Vixen’s busy marking. As they came closer, the boy showed signs of wanting to run up, but the father stopped him, and the girl said, “May we pet your doggie?”
This is behavior to be encouraged, so I said they could, warning them that Vixen would probably bark, and that it was just her being talkative. They asked the usual questions — what’s the dog’s name, is it a boy or a girl, how old is she — and the father commented on the nice size and how well behaved she was. At which point the girl tugged on daddy’s pullover and said, “Can I ask the lady a question?”
The father got the wary look that parents of bright and vocal children often get, but said that she could.
“Why do dogs pee so much?” she asked. (She’d obviously been watching Vixen mark everything in sight.)
It was actually a good question, and I said so; the father’s body language indicated that I could go ahead and answer, so I did. I explained that dogs have a good sense of smell (“the first thing my dog did was sniff your hands, remember?”) and that they peed on things so that other dogs could smell it and see who had been there. A dog can tell how long ago the other dog had been there, and whether it was a boy dog or a girl dog, and then they’ll pee in the same spot to tell the first dog that they were there, too.
The girl giggled at the idea, and so did her brother, but then his eyes widened and he got this big grin.
“Daddy!” he said. “It’s PEE mail!”
His father and I both burst out laughing, and as they moved away, I heard the father say, “wait till we tell your mother.”