DeWitt Wallace, Reader's Digest's founder, was famous for his curiosity. He had a knack for asking questions that were universally compelling. I never met him (he died three years before I joined the staff), but I think he would have been proud of this one. Who hasn't wondered how to read an unfamiliar dog's intentions? I took the question to freelance writer Jane Vachon, and this was the result. (It was later featured in an ABC/Reader's Digest TV special.)

My original title for the piece was "Will That Dog Bite?" I still prefer it for its directness, clarity, and brevity, but you can't win every battle when you aren't the issue editorand it was considered bad form to hoard articles until your own issue came around.