Captain Shutter

Street Photography by Pete Ansara

Dog”gone It!

A few months back, I was in Seattle near Pioneer Square. I stumbled upon a long line of people with pets. There were cats in crates, dogs in arms, children on leashes and one homely ferret happily on display by its happy owner.  I heard one gentleman way in the back of the line say “doggone Tater”! Everyone, in the line just roared with laughter. I was in stitches! The  gentleman’s dog was violating the street code of behavior. Poor Tater the chihuahua was trying to pick a fight with three cats in a kennel…come on Tater…first you were out numbered and second you would have got your ass kicked and found your way into a fiesta boorrrreeeto at Taco Bell!

As I was thinking about what to write for this blog post, I thought about the word doggone. I know the majority of you have heard this term of endearment. Perhaps it was from some John Wayne movie.”Doggone it, say it ain’t so Joe”! A peak on the online dictionary lists several meanings:

  • doggone \dog”gone\, doggoned \dog”goned\, a. [Euphemism from God-damned.]      Damned; confounded; — used as an expression of displeasure;  as, I wish those doggone telemarketers would quit calling at suppertime.  
  • doggone \dog”gone\, doggoned \dog”goned\, adv. Damned; darned; — used as an informal intensifier; as, he’s a doggoned good golfer.
  • doggone \dog”gone\, v. t. Damn; — used to express displeasure or annoyance; as, doggone it!

I found many iterations and origins of its meaning. For you Brits and Scots, there is a story out there that The Oxford English Dictionary states this phrase is actually an alteration of the Scottish term “dagone” which is also a minced oath for “goddamn” as well as “dog on it.” Another imprecation is the old English “pox on it.” The thing I like about Google is you throw a few words into a search box and comes lots of options. I typed in “pox on it”. The most I ever heard about pox was when I was a kid;  I got the chicken pox or “he’s got chicken pox, stay away from him!” OK, then I came across this blog post from a site called, Honour and Inspiration (must be British as they spelled the word honor incorrectly):

Pox on it all: Wednesday, 13 August 2008

I think my son has chicken pox. Actually, I’m pretty sure he has but I don’t want to believe it as it makes me feel weary just thinking about it. He had it before but as he was only 2 months, the doctor warned us he may well get it again. I caught him scratching his scalp and he asked me what the bumps on his head were – closer inspection: classic dew-drop spots in little clusters. Only on his scalp so far though, which I thought was weird. I thought it usually started on the tummy, but maybe I’m getting confused. Anyway, it would explain the grouchiness and the constant feeding the last few days. Though ironically, he seems much better since the spots came out. The biggest pain will probably be keeping them entertained while we can’t go anywhere there will be other people, or have anyone over that hasn’t had it. At least my daughter was 2 when she had it and she got a fairly thorough dose too so I won’t have them both ill at the same time. Here’s hoping it’s a mild dose as before!

I could not stop laughing! Please forgive me if you take the above seriously. I just cannot get over that this person “hopes” for a mild dose!”. I mean who in the world would wish their child pox of any kind, mild or otherwise? Man, what a digression from where I started!

All these good folks lined up with pets and cherubs were on the west side of the building. It was a happy scene. People were all patiently waiting to get a shot, a neuter, a spay for their pets. They talked about life, the day, how thankful they were, etc. I engaged these gracious people for two hours. Not a bad word was spoken. They let me take their pictures. Several stated that they never had a portrait taken. They posed, they spoke and they were happy that I was there…a stranger street photographer with nothing better to do than join their company. On the south side of the same building it appeared to be less hospitable. I walked by and was threatened. I was taking pictures and was warned to “walk on, no pictures”. It was a scene right out of a bad movie. It was west meets south, good vs. evil!

What the entire day told me is that a pet, no matter what it is, a gerbil, hamster, ferret, dog or cat can sooth the soul. In a troubled world of economic worries and uncertainty good people with limited means find a way to take care of the animals that take care of them in ways that are unexplainable. If you have a pet I am sure you have this sense of love and devotion to your pet. They don’t talk back to you. They are loyal soldiers passing time that is meaningful and memorable. I often read stories of a pet saving a life wether it be from fire, illness or some other disaster. We see dogs on TV sniffing out the potential of live bodies under crumbled building after an earthquake. We see beagles at airports sniffing out potentially harmful agriculture that could cause havoc on farms, people and livestock. We see the dog that walks the blind man down the street or the dog that alerts a woman to an oncoming seizure or a drop in blood sugar. For many of us, our pets is our life line. Not so long ago I lost our boxer, Chillie after almost 12 years of life. She was a loyal friend to the end. So, for all of you, please remember that a pet can give a person dignity, courage and help them live life!

South meets west


Mr. Ferret

Long line

Tater Patater

Community Conversation


Me and My Friend


All Smiles



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One thought on “Dog”gone It!

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Love this series, reminds me of the great Elliot Erwhitt, one of my all-time favourites. NIce work, Pete!

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