Kwala is no more. Kwala, the dog Mark taught to sing, the dog who ate exams, died this morning, aged fifteen. In addition to Mark's musical collaboration with her, Kwala has a claim to Language Log mention for another reason: in her young and vigorous days, she accompanied me to my Intro to Language class when the topic was animal language (or animal "language"). I ordered, ROLL OVER! And she rolled over. I ordered, BOWL SNOVER! And she rolled over. I ordered, SNIG BLIVVER! And she rolled over. Finally a clever student pointed out that the intonation was the same on all three utterances, and she could've been going by that (since she obviously wasn't responding to the actual words in the utterance). He may well have been right; or maybe it was just that she refused to learn any other tricks. She was smart: she was the only dog I've ever had, for instance, who would consistently backtrack around a pole when she was on the leash and we found ourselves on opposite sides of the pole; but she always considered it beneath her dignity to do tricks, no matter how many treats she got for doing them.
Now that she's gone, we'll probably have to retire Rich's Kwala Lexicon, which enshrined her independent (read: disobedient) spirit. But here it is:
KWALITY: any bad trait or characteristic.
KWALIFY: to bite another dog. As in: Rich: "I hope your walk in the park was an unkwalified success." — Sally: "Not really; she acted as if she wanted to kwalify just about every dog in the damned park."
DISKWALIFY: to remove the dog hair from. As in: "I had to diskwalify the guest-room bed again."
INEKWALITY: the condition of having to sleep on a dog bed. As in: "Kwala snapped at me when I insisted on her inekwality."