We are exhausted! We have been compiling, collating, listening, understanding, revising, scattering, not understanding, sifting, falling asleep on the job, and compiling some more. It has taken eons but here it is – The New Wooford Guide to SnuZatalk. We are voluble – though you would never guess by the way we go. How much have you heard us talk? Nevertheless, we do have our lexicon and it is time you got to know how intelligentible we are (that’s intelligent + intelligible for you who lack comprehension.)
It has taken us a great deal of time and patience but we have finally trained our Folks to understand what we say. Of the lot, Mom has had the most intensive training, so her antenna is tuned to the subtlest tones and pitches. We have trained to the point of exhausting ourselves what the difference between a long and a short bark is, how a bark is different to a yap, how a crooked look to the left is different to eyes heavenwards, how a scraping with a paw is not the same as a wallop with the same paw, and so on. So our Guide is divided into two sections: Our Expression and Our Understanding.
Our Expression: far too intricate to show the technicalities here, what with the varying lengths, volumes, tones. These include but are not limited to –
a) SPB and LPB – Short Pee Bark and Long Poop Bark – so you can tell we want to step out because it is our bladder or our bowel expressing itself (what a pun!)
b) LBA – the Long Bark for Attention is more imperious and needs to be attended to quickly or it will lead to MSN (refer section on The Sigh)
c) STMTB -the whiny, long, like-chalk-scraping-the-blackboard She Take My Toy Bark (we could not decide whether to include this in The Whine section or here, to be truthful.) It usually amalgamates with the DSAILKHB – Do Something About It Like Kill Her Bark – hence the second one does not need a category of its own.
d) WTPB – the loud, intimidating We The Protectors Bark reserved for door bells, visitors, service staff that enter the house.
e) CPBB – the lighter, snappier and more persistent Come Play Ball Bark, usually heard when Big Bro is steeped in analysing squiggles on the screen in front of him or in the middle of a conversation with many faces on that screen.
a) MSN, also the NLMA – Mournful Sigh of Neglect, also the Nobody Loves Me Anymore deep breath.
b)LIG – the deep sigh of content, the Life Is Good sigh, when we are in a benevolent, affectionate state of being and wish to acknowledge the services of our Folks, and their caresses and kisses.
a) YFA – Yap For Attention – also known as JLT, JFF – Just Like That, Just For Fun – to let you know when the other of us is getting too much attention. It may also be merely because we are bored and the room is too silent. Note: The timbre of the YFA comes from the gruffness and our location because it has to reverberate in order to qualify as YFA.
b) HTSY – The yap reserved for the part time help that walks straight to the kitchen: Happy To See You Yap. Because we know very soon after their entry, our Folks will put in our bowls ready Food. Note: This is a rather elaborate expression, accompanied as it is by a nimble dance measure, in and out of the entrant’s legs, almost but not quite causing the owner of the legs to fall flat on her face on the way to the kitchen.
c)SSY – This is a less obvious one and always makes Mom smile mischievously. She knows when WTPB (see above) is punctuated by the SSY – the Secretly Scared Yap – we are not being as brave as we sound. This is not reserved for only visitors; it also covers strange sounds after lights out and shadows outside in the balcony. Note: The body movement that accompanies this is significant because the SSY is timed to the beat of one step forward and two steps backward.
a)FOM(G) – the plaintive Fuss Over Me (Genuine). Not a very happy sound, it is pitched to knock at your heart because it is an expression of pain. It comes into play equally during an ear infection turned stubborn or when someone treads on our tail, perhaps a paw flung out. Note: It must be accompanied by a forlorn, teary, melting look in the eyes to qualify for the master qualification of (G).
b) FOM – the melodramatic Fuss Over Me. Meant to sound like not very happy sound pitched to knock at your heart, it is a recent addition to our Guide; the FOM whine has been lately acquired after seeing the response to FOM(G) and we are considering adding the master qualification of (D) – FOM (D), D for Dramatic (or maybe Deceiving.)
There is also an appendix on silent communication – The Paw and The Snout. We use them in different ways: tapping Big Bro’s shin (he’s too tall for us to reach higher) is different from slapping Mom’s cheek at Big Sis’ curfew hour to let Mom know she has dozed off but Big Sis has not yet reached home. Just placing The Snout in a particular way is eloquent.
Our Expressions have limitless permutations and combinations: the LBA fading into the FOM, the CPBB mixing with the YFA and accompanied by the requisite eye and paw support, and so on. We are working on a cocktail of the STMTB and just the look of the FOM(G) to form a mutation of the FOM, so perhaps in a few weeks we shall have additions to our Guide. We have not even touched upon The Growl and The Snarl. There is just too much to put it all down in an intelligentible (that’s intelligent + intelligent for you, in case you didn’t guess) manner suitable for the human brain. So we leave you with a basic idea of the first section The New Wooford Guide to SnuZatalk and a promise to return with the second section very soon.