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The Canine in Conversation
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one sick puppy. Very sick. This might be physically sick, though seldom used for life-threatening illness. Or if used for a serious illness, it is done so only after the threat has passed. Alternatively, it might refer to someone whose ideas or ways of thinking are deemed to be “sick” in the sense of deviant or socially abhorrent.

In the Beaver County Times of Beaver Pennsylvania, Town Manager Sam Stockton quotes his surgeon as saying, “You were one sick puppy” at every one of his post-operative check-ups after Stockton had his gall bladder removed.reference 1 Here the reference is merely to the severity of his physical illness.

While Carl Hiaasen's novel, Sick Puppy, contains a canine character, it is clear that he intends this appellation to apply to most, if not all, of the characters in the book based on their bizarre attitudes and behaviors and not the state of their physical health.reference 2



1. Mercadante, Bobbi. 2005. Crescent Manager Back at Helm. Beaver County Times, Mar 15. Accessed Dec 1 2007 from http:// site/ news.cfm? newsid=14140731&BRD =2305&PAG =461&dept _id=478569&rfi =6.

2. Hiaasen, Carl. 2000. Sick Puppy: A Novel. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

About the illustration: A man throwing up. © 2008 Jupiterimages Corporation.  
see also: sick as a dog Last updated: April 15, 2008
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