Canine Confessions


(Rather than just screaming EMBIGGENATE, DAMN YOU! try clicking on the image.)

There is some debate over whether dogs actually feel and understand guilt or if, over the many thousands of years they have lived alongside humans they have simply evolved to pretend to be contrite when we express anger. As much as I love dogs and want to attribute higher emotional and mental functions to them, I’ve come to believe it’s an act.

We currently live with two canine bitches (no judgment, just proper nomenclature) one of which is almost five years old, the other less than one year old. The elder chewed and destroyed things around the house for the first couple of years, then gradually figured it out and has not been a “bad girl” since. The younger is now firmly in the destructive stage.

When we arrive home to find things chewed up and strewn about, we express anger. The older dog, who is doubtless innocent, cowers and appears wracked with guilt. She seems authentically sorrier for what she’s done than Chris Christie was that he supported Trump before the election. Meanwhile, the younger one wags her tail and hops around because she’s glad to see us, angry or otherwise.

We’ve found that no matter what interrogation techniques we use, the younger dog will neither confess nor even register that she has any idea what we’re talking about. She’s either simply too young to get it or she’s much more diabolical than we are assuming. Only time will tell.

While we’re on the topic, why don’t manufacturers of things dogs and cats like to destroy make them from a material that biologically repels them? GMOs are a big topic of controversy but where are the genetically modified shoes, cushions, and furniture that we so desperately need?

In Los Angeles, there is a terrific radio station that has a show called “Left, Right & Center” which inspired a friend of mine who lives there to think of the pun “Left, Right & Centaur”. He emailed me about it and I came up with the above setting and punchline for it. I added his name to the bottom of the cartoon as thanks for the donation.

I wanted it to read “horse’s ass,” of course, but too many of my client newspapers would have objected to the use of that word on the funny pages, so I had to sanitize it for your protection. I hope you all feel clean and protected.

There is most certainly no bigger horse’s ass in Washington than Der Führer Trump, but he is most certainly not the only one. Over ninety percent of Republicans qualify at the moment simply for allowing him to get into office and not raising a finger to stop his authoritarian, fascist policies. And then there’s also their other horrendous behavior like attempting to take health insurance away from tens of millions of non-rich Americans. Soon they will lower taxes on polluting corporations and the rich and taxes for the poor and middle class will rise. Just watch.  (If at this point you still think the GOP cares about anyone other than the top 1% wealthiest Americans, your head is so far up your ass you’re going to need every penny of that health insurance you almost lost to remove it.)

I sat on a jury in a civil trial once and have been called up more than a dozen times. (I’m just lucky like that.) As a juror, I deliberated with other jurors and as a prospective juror, I have heard the questions and comments of many dozens of other prospective jurors during voir dire. From these experiences, I have determined that I will do everything in my power not to EVER let my fate fall into the hands of a “jury of my peers”.

If you think I’m being overly cynical, just look at how many people think worshipping the American flag like a mindless puppet is more important than the rights of free speech and peaceful protest that the flag symbolizes. At least a few of those folks are likely to be on your jury. And if nearly a quarter of Americans couldn’t see from a mile away what a worthless, self-serving charlatan Donald Trump was and chose to vote for him, it is likely around a quarter of your jury will be similarly judgmentally and intellectually deficient. Good luck with that.

DISCLAIMER: The above cartoon does NOT advocate bestiality nor insinuate homosexuality. The male-appearing rodeo clown is actually a masculine lesbian and the bull is a fully consenting adult. Neither stood when the National Anthem was played before the rodeo, however, so feel free to complain about that if you like.

I’ve not been in the dating pool for some time now and have no plans or wishes to return so would some of you who are reading this please try this line on some folks and let me know how it works?

This mermaid gag got a lot of questions, mostly from foreigners who didn’t understand the reference, which is an American idiom. I assume there are many Americans who didn’t get it either so allow me to explain. For quite a long time, American teenagers have used baseball terms to talk about how far they went sexually with a partner. “First base” is kissing (passionately, not like you kiss your elderly aunt at Christmas––unless you do and if that’s the case, yuck) “second base” is touching female breasts under or over clothing, “third base” is touching below the waist but not intercourse, and a “home run” is intercourse. (Don’t even ask what “fouling out,” “hitting the batter,” “charging the mound,” or “fumbling a grounder” is.)

In the case of mermaids, a person can really only get to “second base”. I suppose she could lay eggs and a male could try to ejaculate onto the eggs, but that’s hardly worthy of the original meaning of “home run”.

Considering the overtly sexual nature of this cartoon, I’m surprised (and thankful) that none of my client editors complained or asked for a replacement. Bizarro got canceled in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel this week, however, so it is possible that this cartoon (and/or my political ones) may have been why. If you live in that market, please email or call them and complain about Bizarro’s cancellation. Local readers and subscribers are the only people who have any sway over these kinds of decisions. Those of us here at Rancho Bizarro will be in your debt!

Don’t worry, kids. No matter how lousy Santa’s health, he’s reportedly been alive for more than 1500 years so I wouldn’t worry about him dropping dead anytime soon.

If you enjoy the humor, art, and/or opinions you get from Bizarro and read it online for free, please consider visiting my new store and helping to support my efforts by purchasing some gifts for yourself or others. If that doesn’t appeal, you can make a one-time donation or ongoing monthly contribution to my Tip Jar. The links below tell you about a couple other ways to be a patron of Bizarro. Olive Oyl and I deeply appreciate your readership and financial support and am proud to call every one of you Jazz Pickles our imaginary friends!

Until next week, be smart, be happy, be nice!


45 thoughts on “Canine Confessions

  1. Dan, I am sure I am not the only one with this problem, but I would gladly purchase your wares if I could. Until three years ago I owned a used book store, but it went under for the final time and I now survive on $604 social insecurity and food stamps, and the kindness of strange people, and disposable income is in short supply. Often your work strays into the domain of genius, and I repost your cartoons on my basefook page in hope that others will see it and perhaps respond in an appropriate way, such as a MacArthur Grant for you. Probably won’t happen, but hey, ya never know. Thank you for the humor and the commentary. ‘Tis appreciated.

  2. We once had a Dalmatian that destroyed an entire foam chair, over time. After initially clawing through the cloth covering, she tore out more foam each time she got comfortable in it. We’d come home to find her deeper in the chair than before, with shards of foam all around it on the floor. When, finally, she may as well have been laying on the floor, we scrunched the remains into a garbage bag and snuck it out to the dumpster, lest our landlady (who gave us the chair, a replica of one in MOMA) find out and chastise us for the destruction of art.

  3. My newspaper the Milwaukee journal sentinel owned by Gannett dropped your cartoon and it was my favorite cartoon in the whole paper

    • Please email or call them and tell them how you feel. Local customers are the only people who have any pull in these situations. I will be most appreciative!

  4. I always get a good laugh from your work. Thanks for your weekly newsletter and posting on Facebook. I pledge that I’ll buy one of your prints when I find a job and start getting a paycheck again. I’m an IT person and you would think jobs were easy to find… but I’ve been looking for the right one for 5 months now.

    • Thanks so much, Jodie. I appreciate your support and don’t want your money if you can’t afford it! Good luck on the job search. I hate that kind of grown-up stuff!

  5. Hi! My wife contacted you once to inform you that you were drawing the zygodactyl toes of parrots incorrectly, and the next one to hit the funnies had what looked to be a minor correction to the toes…We really enjoy your work, though I have to admit it took me about five years to warm up to it. Fully warmed now, thanks!

    • I remember that correction and it is the reason I began drawing parrot feet more accurately! Thanks for your note and tell you wife thanks for her advice!

  6. Should I write my local paper to get Bizarro added? Will it do any good?? Or do I need to rally a groundswell of say 5 people before writing the editors?

    • It would take more than one request to get a comic added to a newspaper’s lineup, but it doesn’t hurt to try. If over a period of time they receive a number of requests, they will consider it more seriously. No way to really predict these things.

    • They never give reasons or even contact cartoonists or their syndication companies. They just cancel the feature and we find out when fans ask why it is gone.

  7. Thank you for explaining the mermaid/ seaman/ second base cartoon.

    Although I dated waaaay back when those baseball phrases were used to describe exactly what you said, I had long since forgotten all about them. (Being married for decades most likely also has affected some aspects of my memory.)

  8. I have heard it said that if you are innocent, you don’t want a jury trial (because a jury can be made to believe anything). But if you’re guilty, you do want a jury trial (for the same reason).

    Personally I find the jury system utterly bizarre; it’s like having a jury of your peers instead of a panel of medical experts decide which medical treatment you should receive, or a jury of your peers instead of a team of engineers design the bridge you cross every day. And then they wonder why it turns out that half the people on Texas death row are innocent.

  9. Yes, I will email the bastards at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. Love your stuff; keep it up! Your art is the best of all of the cartoonists.

    • An excellent question, David. I was wondering if anyone would ask and you are the first! It says “Horno de Dios,” which translates to “Oven of God”. There is no hidden meaning or point to that joke, just an odd, random background thing of which I am always fond. :^}

      • I thought it said “Homo de Dios” and interpreted it as “Man of God” … guess I should have embiggenated to read it more clearly!

  10. Most dogs are smarter than most humans (witness last november’s election, and several elections since, or the alabama primary). And appreciative is not the word for a 38 kg Doberman who spent his first two years mistreated in a god-forsaken part of LA, and the third year in a rescue kennel in Fillmore california. Very sweet with his pack, when scolded tends to sulk, when you get home (if he’s not riding in his mobile suv), he’s like your one-year old. He’s even like that when you take him in the car…

  11. It’s my understanding that when dogs do the destructive thing, it’s generally out of anxiety, often separation anxiety. There are training routines to reduce that, but I doubt that making the furniture taste bad would help.

    This is in direct contrast to a cat, which will claw up your couch while you’re sitting on it, or a rabbit, which will chew anything in front of their face (especially if it touches them under their chin).

    And now I’ve had occasion to Google “zygodactyl”. ;-) (Hmm. You could probably estimate your readership by looking for the bump in the Google stats for that word.)

  12. I grew up hearing the expression “If I were innocent I’d want to plea my case directly to the judge. However, if I were guilty I’d take my chances with the jury.” That made sense and was pertinent sixty some years ago when I first heard it and even more pertinent today. Sigh,

  13. Regarding the debate over whether dogs understand guilt, I don’t know if they understand it the way we do but I have a Belgian Malinois bitch who clearly has some understanding. After I let them out of the bedroom in the morning, if she goes downstairs and steals a loaf of bread off the counter and eats it (for instance), she then returns upstairs and relaxes on the bed until I finish my shower and head downstairs. She, however, does not come with me. I find the crime scene and have learned to say nothing. After 10 or 15 minutes, she will creep down the stair and peek into the kitchen. All I have to do is say her name, and she slinks back upstairs.

    However, if she has done nothing, she runs downstairs with me and urges me to feed her. This dog clearly knows when she has done something. Of course, she learned that when I went ballistic because she went counter surfing or got in the garbage. However, I find it interesting that she has learned she will get in trouble for things and tries to avoid being in trouble.

    Love your work and have most/many of your books. I’ll compare lists and get the ones I don’t have!

  14. I tried to find a ‘contact us’ link over at the Milwaukee JS site, couldn’t find one so left a comment on today’s cartoon on the green page. Maybe the fans, others that commented there, will notice and really give them hell, too.

    I’m in Madison, not far away, see the paper sometimes. All my best to you, Dan.

  15. #1. What is a floor pie?

    #2. My question about the stove script was answered, and clarified because I thought it said “Homo de Dios” and I was going to ask if your home range was the Gay God of Stoves or something. Glad I didn’t ask that, I would have looked silly.

    #3. I have two dogs, one of which ( Hudson ) I had for about a year before I got the other one. When we first got the second dog ( Olive ), whenever I would get upset about something Olive had done Hudson would look guilty too. Now, a year later, if I scold Olive, Hudson knows I am not mad at him and has more of a “sucks to be you” look on his face. The reverse is true as well.

    • Thanks for the note, I got a chuckle out of “Gay God of Stoves”. Your first question can be answered here:

  16. Dan
    Your recent cartoon “The Amazing Race” insulted a large percentage of your fan base. Even if this cartoon reflects your political opinion, people don’t read an otherwise excellent cartoon to be lectured. You are alienating readers, not changing minds.

    • I understand your point and appreciate your civility in expressing it. As long as there is a lifelong racist and Nazi sympathizer in the White House, I won’t stop reminding people of it. I feel it is every decent American’s patriotic obligation to sound the alarm until he and his fascist regime are gone.

  17. Cancelled in Milwaukee?

    Dammit. To think at one time my clean and friendly hometown was the last major bastion of a Socialist Mayor in the US.
    Now, Right-Wing nutjobs ruin everything. :'(

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