“A border collie has learned more than 1,000 words (1,022 toys), showing US researchers that her memory is not only better than theirs, but that she understands quite a bit how language works.” Agence France Presse, 8 January 2011

MAGLALARO lang siya, kahit mabigat na gawain o hanapbuhay, paglalaruan lang niya—para hindi mahirapan, para hindi magsawa, para laging masaya.

Gano’n ang kakaibang pananaw ng aking pamangkin para makaya ang anuman, ituturing na laruan at pawang palaruan bawat lunan… Homo ludens.

So his father guffaws, tells me I must have infected his son with such a laid-back– what-me-worry?– contagion… that, I must have picked up from a Steely Dan standard, “Boddhisattva”—uh, that’s an earth-dwelling deity who goes through everything, acquits himself even over matters of life and death in a jovial spirit of play…

Jovial is derived from a variant name of Jehovah, Jove… so I’ve been taken under the Jehovah’s witness protection program… Thus, the writer of Ecclesiasticus notes that, “the mark of a good heart is a cheerful expression.”

And ‘god’ spelled backwards is… well, ancient Egyptian canine deity Wepwawet rules over royalty, unification rites, and warfare— uh-duh, kaya pala kami pinagsusuot sa leeg ng dog tag… so call my comrades-in-arms, soldadogs…

Chaser, the border collie who made the news in 2010 is a bitch—perra—and it took three years for researchers to figure out that she had command over 1,022 nouns, each one a toy… plus a bevy of verbs which include “nose,” “get” and “paw.”

Take command over a new word each day— 10 years of elementary and high school plus four more years of tertiary education… after college you’ll likely have an army of 5,110, so my composition mentor Jose Sabangan told me.

Hey, the School of Wisdom website posits that it takes a grasp of at least 700 words to get along with others…about 3,000 to get a job; 10,000 to have a place in society… around 60,000 to be in the league of titans like William Shakespeare, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, abindranath Tagore or Kung Fu-tze…

Vodka neat, no chaser… uh, researchers reckoned that Chaser has cut her canines on more than 1,000 words… maybe more than 3,000 since she’s gainfully employed…

“We can’t say anything definitive about this, but there is agreement among breeders,” researchers said, pointing to decades of breeding for herding that makes the dogs particularly attuned to learning words.

“The hypothesis is that they do have a special propensity to language, they listen to the farmer.”

So Chaser plays it by ear… her amassed lexicon is at the level beneath the mastery of will power which corresponds to basic grammar… a notch higher, as the School of Wisdom claims, is word power congruent to mastery of one’s body… mastery of one’s soul entails effective communication… highest in the pecking order is poetry which demands mastery over spirit… not those that come in kegs, decanters, and bottles, like vodka.

We may concur on curs’ lack of will power translates to unconditional love and canine devotion…Dong delos Reyes

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