Dog, Not Diamond Is Her Best Friend

Was Ogden Nash A Sexist?

I found out recently that the phrase “dog is a man’s best friend” was popularized by Ogden Nash, an American poet who published work mostly between 1930 and 1970, or thereabouts. Being a poet myself, knowing of Ogden Nash and his work, and having heard that term my whole life, the connection was a delighted surprise for me. I had never really considered where that term came from; I just assumed it was one of those things we do not know the source of. But to discover that Ogden Nash had sort of made it a thing—fancy that!

I always sort of assumed that in the term “dog is a man’s best friend,” “man” referred more to all of us, to humanity. But you know what? That is kind of silly anyway. One of my professors told me about some interesting research that speculates that part of the reason women are commonly seen as more understanding and empathetic than men is rooted in this tradition of being forced to find a place for ourselves in a world that speaks and caters predominantly to men. Because we as women have, from when we first learn to read, been seeking ourselves out where we really are not, we learn to seek parts of ourselves out in those around us in real life. That is interesting but it is no excuse really for such sexist language these days.

If ‘Dog is a Man’s Best Friend’, What’s Mine?

I think “Society,” the big, bad wolf that it is, would expect me to answer, “my girlfriends,” or “Cosmo,” or “my long-lasting lip stain.” But I reject that.

dog
Inara

When I think about it, really, my best friend is my dog. I have some incredibly excellent girlfriends—women who inspire me daily with their humor, poise, intelligence, and compassion. And I have one incredibly awesome fiancé, who quite literally slugs through the trenches of everyday life with me. But really, honestly, my dog is my best friend.

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My fiancé and I have had our husky mix, Inara, for a year last month. We had wanted a dog for a long time but that can be difficult when you are renting. We decided to be a little spontaneous, to throw caution to the wind, to let love win—we went to our local shelter.

Alex fell in love with our sweet girl right away. When we met her, she walked straight to him, sniffed his hand, and promptly rolled over onto her back for belly rubs. I had it in my head that we were going to get a puppy, so I was not as immediately smitten. She was about a year old, weighed about 40 lbs, and shed more than seemed possible. But Alex was so in love with her, I decided a dog was a dog and we brought her home. Thank god he knew her when he saw her, right away. He could see immediately what it took me a couple of weeks to decide: that she made us a family.

Our Dog is My Firstborn

dog
Kate and her best friend, Inara

Inara is equally a momma’s girl and a daddy’s girl. She goes to Alex to roughhouse and play, when she gets scared, and if I have ignored her come-ons too long. She comes to me for snuggles, when she wants her needs met, when she needs to be petted and

scratched and cooed at and otherwise coddled. She sleeps stretched out between us with her head on the pillow like a little person. I do not have children—Inara is my firstborn. She forces me to take breaks from the insanity of my life. She licks my face often. She wags her tail at the sound of my voice and often on seeing me. She performs tricks for my approval.

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She expresses her needs unapologetically in a way that reminds me that it is okay to do the same. Even as I write this, she sits with her chin resting on the edge of the bed, eyes boring into me, I can only imagine hoping this will be the last thing I do today that is not scratching the base of her tail.

So I have had enough of that gender-exclusive speech and I have had enough of being told I should like cats because they are quite and graceful—more “feminine.” Because dogs, my dog, is this [wo]man’s best friend.


Claudette P. Esterine blog
Katelyn Roth

Katelyn Roth double-majored in Creative Writing and Psychology at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS. She remains at the university doing her Masters in Poetry and is also teaching freshman composition classes. She resides in Pittsburgwith her boyfriend and their husky mix, Inara. Read her most recent article, Sex Trafficking: Today’s Slavery,” the second article in our series on prostitution in the USA and Pakistan.

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49 thoughts on “Dog, Not Diamond Is Her Best Friend

  1. my cat was my best friend i assume in the future when I can get another cat as well as a dog, i’m hoping for a corgi, that the same type of bond

    1. Ms Claudette

      Cats are a bit different, aren’t they? You keep us posted how that goes. 🙂

  2. I have heard of that saying many times, but never knew where is came from until now. Dogs are most peoples best friends 😀

    1. Ms Claudette

      Neither did I until Katelyn wrote this post! 🙂 We live and we learn. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I believe that dogs are kids best friends. When I was a kid I loved my dog, he lived 17 years! But now, as an adult woman I find myself surrounded by 3 cats that I love so much!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Pets are wonderful to have around and indeed become best friends for most people! I am more of a dog person myself but cats are just as wonderful! 🙂

  4. kleebanks

    Wow, Inara is a beauty! She is the kind of breed we would like to add to our clan! Funny, I just commented on another blog post about dogs, so I’ll repeat what I said there.

    We lost our 12 y.o. black lab 3 years ago, due to cancer and age-related problems. 🙁 Since then, we have rescued and adopted two pups from “kill” facilities (despise those). One just turned 3 on the 13th; Desi is a Plott hound with beautiful brindle markings and we adopted her about a month after losing our Kita. The other has been with us for about a year, and she is a 1 1/2 y.o. black lab/whippet mix, named Zoe.

    They are definitely our friends, companions, and family members!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Awww…what a beautiful story! God bless you for what you did, rescuing those puppies! 🙂

  5. I hear ya! There’s nothing like the bond between human and dog. My dog is such an enormous part of my life, and she touches it like no other. Inara is adorable! Is her name a Firefly (tv show) reference?

    1. Ms Claudette

      I would have to ask Katelyn about the name. Yes, the bond between humans and dogs is remarkable! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      1. Katelyn

        Angie–her name IS a Firefly reference! Good catch!

        1. Ms Claudette

          Thanks for that Katelyn! 🙂

  6. I always thought that man’s best friend referred to human kind not males. I adore dogs as well though I dont have one as a pet.

    1. Ms Claudette

      No, back in the days when this was coined – “man” meant man. 🙂

  7. I never thought I was a pet person, but now that my daughter’s cat is staying with us, I think I might be!

    1. Ms Claudette

      They grow on you, don’t they? 🙂

  8. Ashley

    I prefer human best friends to pets or diamonds. But that’s just me.

    1. Ms Claudette

      To each his/her own? 🙂

  9. Couldn’t agree more – I love my furbabies and would not trade them for the world. They’re filled with unconditional love, as I am for them. They make my world go round 😀

    1. Ms Claudette

      That was my (Claudette) experience with my dogs. I am no longer a pet owner and I really miss the unconditional and unending outpouring of love from my dogs – I didn’t have to do anything or be anything other than me to get it. 🙁

  10. We don’t have any pets, but growing up I had a Rottie and he was the best dog ever.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I am just like you – I don’t have pets anymore but had some great ones in the past. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  11. Aww this is such a lovely post! I don’t have a dog but I can attest that I love my 3 cats more than almost anything 🙂 And they make me incredibly happy!

  12. Inara is a beautiful dog. Our dog, Loki, passed last year. He was a puppy when we got him and like you, it also took me some time before I realized that I was smitten. I suddenly miss him after reading this post.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Hope your memories of Loki bring you smiles. 🙂

  13. Elizabeth O.

    I don’t know whether I should agree or say that it sounds a bit sexist. But when you think about it, who cares? If you want a dog and that dog is one of your dearest friends, then why not?

    1. Ms Claudette

      Exactly! Who cares! 🙂

  14. victoria

    What a cute dog i wish i could have a dog like yours. we don’t have dog in our house because we have baby and my mother in law was allergy

    1. Ms Claudette

      If you really want one, there are dogs that can live with people who have allergies. Google it and see. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      1. Katelyn

        Growing up, we had a Bichon Frise which is a non-shedding, hypoallergenic dog. They have curly hair instead of fur. Obviously I adopted the other end of the spectrum as an adult, but there are dogs out there for those who are allergic!

        1. Ms Claudette

          Yes, Katelyn there are – aren’t pugs in that group? I might be very wrong.

  15. I don’t have any pets so I’ve never experienced that.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I got a pet later in life and they brought such joy to me! However, not everyone will have pets and I am sure you and they have other outlets/channels for this type of love. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  16. We have a pomeranian and he is our best friend.. He is so sweet and loyal

    1. Ms Claudette

      OMG! My last two dogs were shi tzu/pom cross and they were amazing! Love small dogs! Katelyn on the other hand loves Inara and her size. 🙂

  17. I know a few people who feel their dogs are their best friends and treat them better than their human counterparts. I, myself, don’t have that closeness with my pets. I love them but they aren’t getting my steak.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Karlyn, that was hilarious! Yes, I agree, some people treat their pets to everything and my feeling is if they can afford to, it is healthy for the pet and if it brings all involved happiness – I am happy for them. Thanks for visiting again. 🙂

  18. so cute, I agree pets are best friends above anyone in the house

    1. Ms Claudette

      There are wonderful! Thank you for visiting. 🙂

  19. Awe. What a cute dog! I can see why she’s your best friend.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, Katelyn really loves her dog! 🙂

  20. Super cute post! We certainly love our pooches around our house too 🙂

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you! We wanted to do something lighthearted. Seems we succeeded. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

  21. I love my dog. She is very special to the whole family. I don’t know what we would do without her!

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are obviously not alone in that feeling! As a previous dog owner myself, there were days when I wanted no one around but my dog. 🙂

  22. My best friend is my husband. I just dont like dogs.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Different strokes for different folks! 🙂

  23. Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    Dogs are a MAN’s best friend, as in males. A woman’s best friend IS a diamond. Fact.

    1. Ms Claudette

      As I said to someone else, different strokes for different folks. I personally would choose a dog any day over diamond. So that makes us Katelyn and I similar. 🙂

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