Challenge #02004-E180: Nice... Dog?

in fiction •  5 months ago

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How do alien ambassadors to earth first react to trying to translate/figure out what is a dog and what isn’t?
At this point it’s a minor policy at the embassy to just assume all furred quadrupeds smaller than a horse are dogs. -- Anon Guest

Terra's first unofficial ambassador was the dog. Closely followed by the cat. The cat was simply pest control, but the dog... there are few species of Terran origin that are more versatile. Some Havenworlders use them as mounts or pack animals. Many dogs are used for search and rescue. Others were effective, adoring, and protective guards.

It was when the cat arrived that the trouble started. It only got worse from there.

"Why is this dog howling?"

"That's not a dog. That's a cat. He thinks I haven't fed him enough."

Logically positing that cats were mammalian quadrupeds of a certain size, the cogniscent in question appended the definition of 'dog' in the free Galactic infonets.

Then Galactic Society encountered a Terrier. Small as a cat. Hunted small rodents like a cat. But it barked and wagged its tail and obeyed commands. It was a dog the size of a cat, or smaller. Other small breeds became known. The pug, the pekingese, the chihuahua... and the guide had to be updated.

Further adding to the confusion was the fact that Galactic Society got to know ponies and horses before they encountered their first caucasian shepherd. Better known as the Russian bear-hunting dog. And using a Terran's reaction to the larger animals was not helpful, since Terran Horse People tend to baby their equines as much if not more so than Terran Dog People babied their canines.

Galactic Society was about to class all Terran-origin mammalian quadrupeds as 'dog' until corrected. Under this potential threat, someone invented the Terran-childhood education game, Dog or Not Dog?

And nearly started a war.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / vitalytitov]

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