The Dog and the Man

I’m a cat person. I had to get that out there before I spend the rest of this Monster Meditation on DOGS. It’s said that cats have staff—not masters—and sometimes I think that’s an accurate assessment. The human(s) in a cat’s life may also be caregivers, best buddies, slaves, colleagues, or mother surrogates. Having spent a lifetime with cats, I can say with complete candor that I’ve been all of those things to a feline companion.

But dogs are another kind of animal and the relationship between the human and the dog, the master and the animal, the leader and the follower is fascinating.

I was sitting in the window of my favorite coffee bar and I spotted this handsome creature waiting for his master. In the five minutes that he sat in a posture of relaxed attention, passersby stopped to snap photos of him. His only response—a big hound yawn.

When his master returned for him, the man fit the dog in an almost familial way. Both long and lean, both graying with earned age, and both athletic and masculine. I couldn’t help but think of the cliché of dogs and masters looking alike. They didn’t really look ALIKE so much as looking compatible. The dog and the man seemed to have a similar pace and manner—aware, but laid back.

The streets of New York are full of dogs and dog people, including professional dog walkers (handling the afternoon walk for busy people) and the folks that carry miniature pooches that might appear to be a good breakfast option for a hungry cat.

In fiction, as in life, some dogs become an accessory in both meanings of the word.


Noun—attachment, addition, add-on, adjunct, appendage, supplement

Legal—accomplice, associate, collaborator, co-conspirator, henchman

I enjoyed watching this particular dog as he calmly surveyed his surroundings on a chilly winter morning. Nothing perturbed him and yet he seemed to take note of each person and dog that walked by. In a story, I could seem him as both an appendage and an accomplice to his human’s endeavors.

Any thoughts on what the mutt, purebred, miniature, or gigantic dog says about the human at the other end of the leash?

This dog and his human were a perfect match.

This dog & his human companion were perfect together.


  1. I’ve thought of this topic a lot. There’s the saying too about whether the human chooses the dog or the dog chooses the human. My current rescue dog is a basket case in many ways, but I think I picked her because some of her mannerisms speak to my own struggles with awkwardness. One of my friends has quite a few dogs since she lives on a ranch. One of the red heelers is not a good work dog, but looks mighty fine sitting in front seat of a truck. We choose pets for so many different reasons, but to some degree gravitate toward compatibility factors. I could never love a Golden Retriever. Their personalities just don’t do it for me 😉

    • Candy Korman

      I think your dog choices reveal a great deal about your personality, priorities, and lifestyle.

      In a story, the character that rescues a dog because she connects with the dogs deficits—as well as her positive characteristics–is speaking with her actions! Yes, the Goldens and Labs go with some personalities, the terriers with others, and the hounds with others still. As storytellers, we can use these doggy associations to communicate the inner lives of our fictional characters without spelling out the backstory.

  2. Almost all of my dogs have been small, terrier types, although none as small as Mogi. I think I just like smart, foxy dogs with a mind of their own. 🙂

    • Candy Korman

      You must like ’em smart. Terriers can be too smart for their own good, as well as energetic. A friend had a Jack Russel for years. By the time I met the dog she’d mellowed into a small dictator with gourmet taste in food. After Cara’s (yes, dear in Italian) long and illustrious life, my friend mourned for a long while, but eventually went to a shelter to get a terrier mix mutt. The new dog did not have a good start to life and she’s a mix of Rat Terrier and other small and frisky—even frenzied—breeds. This dog will eat anything and gets sick sampling garbage on the streets of NYC. My friend is the dog’s guard dog against poisoning. It’s a perfect match of tall, concerned woman and frenzied little dog.