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Now That Dog Can Bark On Pitch!

Graphic of scottish terrier

I am a retired biologist who writes rhyming children’s science books. I’ve been questioned about this and I believe the rhyming happens because I’m also a musician and singer. I still sing in community choruses and one of them had to get creative with rehearsals and performances due to the pandemic. Many musical organizations have used video streaming services, creating combined videos (requiring expert technical ability).

My chorus sang outside in a cul-de-sac, masked and social distanced at least six feet apart. We gathered in the director’s neighborhood with our reading lights since the sun had long set. It was often a bit nippy and we had to dress accordingly. It was nice to be able to hear other singers, however muffled they were.

One of the other sopranos brought her Scottish terrier along. He was a well-behaved dog that sat quietly at her feet. However, the dog was aware of moving creatures going bump in the night. When one was detected, he would start with a low growl, then a short bark, alerting us to the approaching danger. One night his growling crescendoed to a series of barks, almost on pitch with the song we were singing. Since the director was recording us for a virtual concert, the terrier’s ad lib contribution was not appreciated.

The following week, the chorus sang a concert in another neighborhood. We stood in one of the yards.  We gathered and sorted ourselves into our voice-part groups, i.e. all the first sopranos together, second sopranos, first altos and second altos. The terrier had joined us, so I asked him what part he was singing.  The reply was…


Book Note: One of the educational books I set to rhyme is called Don’t Make Me Fly! Can you guess what it’s about?

Roadrunners, of course! It’s full of fun facts about them and fun to read and hear because of the rhyming verses. It’s also vividly illustrated and kids, young and old alike, really appreciate the powerful drawings. It makes a great book for the family, and for a book report on roadrunners. It’s available at

illustration of a desert roadrunner
Strong. Fast and Courageous, Roadrunner Doesn’t Need To Fly

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