Benjy may have become an accomplished Californian dog, and his mastery of English includes such favorite words as "A treat" and "Fetch!", but let's not forget that he is originally French...
He shares this citizenship with another pooch I adore, the great writer Colette's adorable black Toby-Chien. A passionate lover of nature and animals, Colette always lived with dogs and cats, but it's Toby-Chien who inspired some of her best pages - for instance when she staged him, naive and good-hearted chatting with a wise-cracking cat, Kiki-la-Doucette in Dialogues de Bêtes (Barks And Purrs in English), a book I already mentioned here.
Chiens de Colette, which I'm currently reading, is pretty much an anthology of Colette's writings featuring dogs; it includes many pictures of Colette's precious four-legged companions.
Toby-Chien is a prolix beast whose polished vocabulary reflects Colette's always exquisite, precise and often poignant expression. So beginners should learn a first few words of French with Benjy rather than with Toby. Here is the basis of Benjy's vocab:
La balle The ball
Où est la balle? Where's the ball?
À la maison! (Let's) go home!
À la voiture! (Let's) go to the car!
À la plage! (Let's) go to the beach!
Au lit! (Let's) go to bed!
Non, non, non! No, no, no!
Tais-toi! Be quiet!
Sois sage! Be good!