In Kaamran Hafeez’s cartoon, a dog is on his hind legs and resting his front paws on a counter under a sign that reads “Information.” Behind the counter is a woman. The dog is saying something to her. Since he’s at an information booth, I assume he’s asking a question.
Dogs are incredibly affectionate and loyal, so I first thought of these two captions:
- “Can I be your best friend?”
- “Do you love me as much as I love you?”
Dog, some annoying people will remind you, is God spelled backwards, so I next came up with this caption: “What’s your name spelled backwards?”
Finally, I highlighted the hostile relationship between dogs and their feline enemies: “Why do cats even exist?”
Now let’s see how you did.
We received more than 1,000 entries for this contest, and twenty-seven (nearly 3% of them) were, “Who’s a good boy?”
Here are several entries that expand on that joke:
- “My master wants to know who’s a good boy.”
- “Who’s a good boy?…I’m asking for a friend.”
- “Who is the good boy?”
- “Am I really a good boy?”
- “Who is a good dog?”
I especially like the way those last three entries use italics to make the joke really land.
We received more than one hundred captions about castration, and these were the top nine:
- “There were two of them. Small and round. They used to be right between my legs.”
- “What happened to my balls?”
- “Where are my balls?”
- “Anyone find my balls?”
- “Can I get my testicles back?”
- “Have you seen my testicles?”
- “What does neuter mean?”
- “What does ‘v-e-t’ spell?”
- “What part will they be fixing?”
The vulgar entries made me laugh, but those last three captions are probably the best because they’re relatively subtle. I also like it when the speaker is oblivious to imminent danger.
There were a lot of jokes about fireplugs, but this was best: “Where’s the nearest hydrant?”
Like I did, several of you addressed the dog’s traditional adversary:
- “What the hell is it with cats?”
- “Tell me everything you know about cats.”
- “Exactly how many ways are there to skin a cat?”
Here’s the week’s best pun: “Do you validate barking?”
The next two captions were inspired by “Lassie,” a television series that followed the adventures of a female collie and a boy named Timmy, whom Lassie had to repeatedly save from deep wells and burning barns.
- “How can I get Timmy out of the well?”
- “Excuse me. Where do I go to report a burning house with a small boy in it?”
Here, the dog is questioning a popular misconception: “Is it true that my mouth is cleaner than yours?”
When I was trying to come up with captions for this week’s contest, I really wanted to address the idea that one human year equals seven dog years. I couldn’t do it, but someone else did: “How old am I, really?”
In the next two entries, the dog is searching for his owner:
- “He’s a German shorthair and answers to Bob.”
- “Have you seen a guy with a white cane? He may be bumping into things?”
That second caption doubles as this week’s best sick joke.
This next entry cleverly alludes to the fact that chocolate is toxic to dogs—“Who would I speak to about outlawing chocolate?”—but shouldn’t “who” be “whom?” And while we’re on the subject of grammar, I want to highlight this entry: “Is the proper usage lay down or lie down?” That’s a clever reference to the amount of time dogs spend sleeping, but I think it would be even stronger if the words “the proper usage” were replaced with “it.”
In this entry the dog has an attitude—“If I remembered where I buried it, I wouldn’t be here now would I?”—but there should be a comma after the word “here.” That’s nitpicking, but as long as I’m being that way I think the comma should be a period in this next caption: “No questions, I’m just happy to be here.”
In the next two captions the dog has stopped to ask a question in the middle of a chase:
- “Did you see a stick fly through here?”
- “Did you see a fox run by?”
And in these two entries, the dog is trying to become more independent:
- “How do you operate a can opener?”
- “How do doorknobs work?”
Finally, we have two questions that any dog would ask:
- “When’s dinner?”
- “When are you coming home?”
That last caption is this week’s winner.
Lawrence Wood has won The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest a record-setting seven times and been a finalist two other times. He has collaborated with New Yorker cartoonists Peter Kuper, Lila Ash, Felipe Galindo Gomez, and Harry Bliss (until Bliss tossed him aside, as anyone would, to collaborate with Steve Martin). Nine of his collaborations have appeared in The New Yorker, and one is included in the New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons.