The Snapshot of a Dog: Summary & Exercise

The Snapshot of a Dog

Summary of The Snapshot of a Dog

In “Snapshot of a Dog”, warmly recounts his boyhood association with a bull terrier called Rex. He narrates in a fond manner the many activities of his dog. He beautifully illustrates the relationship between a boy and his pet.

Rex was a strong and magnificent dog. He easily performed extravagant tasks set for him by Thurber and his brother . Rex could lift or drag whatever he wanted. He could even lift a ten feet rail, over a four feet wide gate. He would carry out his masters’ orders however difficult. He would keep in trying till the task was over. He never left things half-done. Nothing was impossible for him.

He was a tenacious fighter, though he never started one. He never went for another dog’s throat. He would grip his opponents’ ears and hold on for a very long time. In one remarkable fight, he held on to the dog’s ears from dusk till almost dawn. The fight took place in the street and held up the traffic. The fire brigade with its powerful hoses had to be called to stop the fight. Some relatives considered this a blot on the family name. They insisted that the brothers get rid of the dog. But the boys were ready to leave the town with the dog then give it up. This shows the deep attachment that the owners have with their pet dog. He is not just an animal, but one of their family.

Rex never bit anyone. He had a gentle disposition. He growled only at prowlers. He killed cats, quickly and neatly without hatred. He did not prolong their agony. He was not foolish like other dogs who chased whatever they came across in the street. He never chased wagons because he knew it was meaningless. There was no use running after useless things. That was his philosophy. The author is comparing his dog with other dogs and is trying to show that Rex is obviously wise.

Swimming was his favorite sport. He very much enjoyed swimming upstream. One night he brought a chest of drawers abandoned by someone . He was proud of his strength . Using all his energy he pulled the chest on to the porch. Rex could easily jump over eight feet walls. He ventured to jump higher walls. He never gave up trying till one of the brothers would come and take him home. The word is impossible never existed for him. Even death could not beat him down.

His last moments were a battle with the Angle of death. One afternoon after receiving a thrashing from the owner of another dog, he comes home with multiple wounds. He licked the two master’s hands, waited till the third master came. When the person for whom he was waiting came, Rex, hobbled towards him. He touched his hand, and fell down again, never to get up.

About The Author

James Grover Thurber (December 8, 1894 – November 2, 1961) was an American author, journalist, cartoonist, and celebrated wit. Thurber was best known for his cartoons and short stories, published mainly in The New Yorker magazine and collected in his numerous books. One of the most popular humorists of his time, Thurber celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people.


A. Choose the correct meanings of the word given.

  1. Stocking: brown streaks (things in-store) / a band of colour / extending up to the knee / valuing at the market rate
  2. Tranquil : joyful / exciting / peaceful / balanced
  3. Extravagant : much more / beyond what is reasonable / unreasonable / useless
  4. Buffet: apparatus for lessening the effect of a blow / strike repeatedly / a place where food id sold / meals served to guests
  5. Disposition : wrong position / the act of doing away with / general tendency of character / peculiar way of thinking
  6. Prowlers : persons who travel often / persons who move from place to place to make a living / persons who do not reach home till late at night / persons who move about houses with intention to steal
  7. Strenuous : needing great effort / very difficult/ tiresome / encouraging
  8. Turmoil : troublesome / disturbance/ a kind of oil / peace
  9. Mettle : spirit and courage / strength / old form of the word ‘metal’ / busy oneself in something without being asked to do so
  10. Integrity : intelligence / firmness of character and principle / the nature of being an integer / completeness
  11. Tenacious : very wicked / very kind / stubborn / of a fighting nature
  12. Torrent : strength / violent stream / whirlpool/ large number
  13. Terrier : one which causes terror / a kind of small and active dog / a hunting dog / one which looks terrible.

B. Write the meanings to the underlined word.

  1. He was trying to accomplish extravagant tasks my brothers and myself used to set for him.
    a) Impossible b) dangerous c) unreasonable
  2. “Beware of your bad friends !” you are in a vicious circle
    a) dangerous b) useful c) bad
  3. Most of the leaders tried to solve the Kashmir problem but accomplished nothing.
    a) arranged b) received c) succeeded
  4. The tranquility of the hills has always attracted her
    a) peacefulness b) height c) cold
  5. The climb will a real test of their mettle
    a) strength and enthusiasm b) spirit and courage c) interest and skill
  6. Huge black snakes were wriggling around
    a) wringing b) moving c) biting
  7. She shows a tenacious loyalty to friends.
    a) suspicious b) complete c) wavering d) firm
  8. The explorers had to trudge through 20km of deep snow
    a) walk steadily b) walk slowly c) walk unsteadily
  9. It was a strenuous day for her.
    a) taking great effort b) successful c) disappointing
  10. He received a mortal wound soon after the battle began
    a) causing death b) poisonous c) very slight

C. Choose the best alternative :

  1. The animal _________ in pain as the arrow struck its side. (quivered, shivered, tumbled)
  2. I was _________ to hear that man had not eaten for over a month. (astonished, astonishing, astonishment)
  3. Ruju’s _________ expenditure landed him in troubles. ( lavish, much, extravagant)
  4. His feet were unsteady. He was _________ (stalking, scurrying, staggering)
  5. Swimming is my favorite _________ (recreation, relaxation, retardation)
  6. The big cats have a soft padding in their ______ ( feet, paws, legs)
  7. The Taj Mahal is a _________ Structure. (tremendous, gigantic, magnificent)
  8. There was a long delay before the officer ______ agreed to see us. (eventually, subsequently, consequently)
  9. She was _________ in pain (writhing, wringing, withering)
  10. When the police fired in the air the crud _________ soon (rushed,dispersed,disappeared)

D. Find the wrongly spelt words.

  1. Extravagent dignity brindle saddle
  2. Beautifully wooden accomplish slipping
  3. Wogging satisfaction thrown draging
  4. Tremendous fighters disposition buffet
  5. Cheek dispite base ball holding
  6. During struggle apparatus neibour
  7. Termoil seemed pieces battlion
  8. Admirors wandered terrible apprently
  9. Moment torrant freshet certain
  10. Ceasing staggerring terrier founght

E. Rewrite as directed :

  1. a) The teacher has punished the boys.
    b) The boys ____________________
  2. a) She said to him, “When did you cove to Hyderabad?”
    b) She ____________________
  3. a) The driver drove slowly, so our bus reached Hyderabad late.
    b) If the driver ____________________
  4. a) Sreenath is the most industrious boy in the class.
    b) No other boy ____________________
  5. a) India is a vast country. But Indians are poor.
    b) Though ____________________
  6. a) The watch has been found. It was stolen yesterday.
    b) The watch ____________________
  7. a) There was no electricity. They decided to postpone the meeting.
    b) since there was ____________________
  8. a) He is a priest. He also a doctor.
    b) He is not only ____________________
  9. a) As soon as she heard the news, they started off.
    b) No sooner ____________________
  10. a) He is very rich , stile he is not contended,
    b) In spite of ____________________

Parts of speech :

  1. What is the reason for his behavior?
  2. There was great uproar in the parliament over the bill, but still the bill passed.
  3. You should have confidence in yourself.

VII. Sentence endings.

  1. How do you do it I have an understanding with a horse.
  2. Excellent you have got good marks in S.S.C exams do you take MPC or Bi.P.C
  3. Are you crazy we will be late please walk fast we should not make a fool of ourselves.

VIII. Correction of sentences.

  1. He was asking me whether I was possessing a cheses.
  2. One of my friend is coming this evening .
  3. There is no place in this bus.

Question and Answers

  1. ‘I ran across a dim photograph of him the other day’. ‘He’s been dead ……’ If you didn’t know that the story is about a dog, who would you think he was? Throughout the story Thurber treats Rex as a person-a companion.
    A. If I did not know that the story is about , I would rather think “he” was a member of Thurber ‘s family . In fact, the author treats Rex as a person as-a companion.
  2. Do you think the brindle eye and the brindle saddle and the brindle stocking had made Rex look handsome? or did they make him funny – looking ?what did james ( Thurber ) himself think?
    A. The brindle eye and the brindle saddle and the brindle stocking made Rex funny-looking . But James Thurber thought that there was a nobility about Rex in spite of his funny looking.
  3. The brindle eye made Rex look sometimes like one person and sometimes like another . who are the two persons Rex looked like?
    A. The brindle eye made Rex look sometimes like a clown and sometimes a politician with a derby hat and cigar
  4. What effect does the bringing together of these two persons have?
    A. It produces a strong mental Image.
  5. How long was the wooden rail Rex was required to bring in the rail first? how wide was the gate ? How did he get in the attempt ? Did he given up? What did he learn to do then ? Two other qualities of Rex are brought out by the wooden – rail incident what are they ?
    A. The wooden rail was ten foot long. The gate was only four feet wide . Rex first tried to bring in the rail in broadside. He got a few terrific jolts in the attempt but he did not given up. Eventually , he learnt to do it by dragging the rail, holding on to one end.
    Rex was relentless and single-minded. He had enormous self-confidence and dogged determi- nation.
  6. Rex was a tremendous fighter. But he was different from other dogs in several ways what were they?
    A. Rex was a tremendous fighter, He was noble. He never started fights. If he was drawn into a fight. He would go to the war of his opponent but not the throat . He would hold on to the ear for hours . He was a fighter but not a killer.
  7. How was Rex different from other dogs?
    A. Rex never lost his dignity even when he was trying to achieve challenging tasks, He never gave up trying and nothing was impossible for him. He never started fights. He never went for the throat of other dogs.
    Instead, he used to catch hold of the ear. but one he caught it, he could hold it on for hours. He never bit a person but barked only at prowlers. He never went for those things which were of no use to him. Thus Rex was quite different from other dogs.
  8. Describe Rex briefly.
    A. Rex was an American bull terrier. He had one brindle eye, and a brindle stocking on a hind leg. He was big and muscular and beautifully made. He accomplished even extravagant tasks in a dignified manner. He was a tremendous fighter but he never started fights, swimming was his favorite recreation. He even died a heroic death.
  9. Describe Rex’s longest fight in east main street in Columbus. What were the several attempts made to separate Rex and his opponent?
    A. It was a fight that lasted from dusk until it was pitch dark in east main street, in Columbus Rex’s opponent was a large dog. He got the ear grip of the other dog and held on. The Negro swung them in the air and threw them but Rex did not leave his grip. Their flight blocked the traffic. A motorman tried to open Rex’s jaws with a switch rod. somebody held a burning torch at his tall but of no use. Finally the oak street fire department arrived on the scene and separated them by turning on them a powerful stream of water.
  10. What kind of attempts were made to separate Rex and the nondescript dog?
    A. When Rex entered on a fight with the nondescript, the owner of the latter picked them up , swang them around his head and threw them so that they landed ten feet away with a great plump but Rex still held on . A motorman tried to force his jaws with a switch rod. Somebody started a fire and made a torch of a stick and held that to Rex’s tall . Finally the oak street fire Department turned a powerful stream of water on them and separated them.
  11. “But he (Rex) had a gentle disposition” Two pieces of evidence are offered to support the statement. What are they?
    A. Rex had a gentle disposition. He never started a fight. he barked only at prowlers but not at passers by. He never chased a squirrel nor ran barking after wagons or automobiles as he knew they were beyond his reach.
  12. “He had his own philosophy about such things”. What was Rex’s philosophy about such things? In the snap short of a Dog why weren’t wagons a part of his world?
    A. Rex’s philosophy about charging things was never to chase anything he could not catch or something he could not do anything even if he caught it. Wagons were not a part of his world because he knew he could not tug along the wagons even with his mighty jaws.
  13. Why did Rex bring a chest of drawers home? What did the brother do with it the next day? Why?
    A. Rex brought a chest of drawers home one moonlit night. It presented a nice problem in transportation to him and it tested his mettle. The next day the brothers curled the chest miles away and threw it out or else Rex would bring it again as a small token of his integrity.
  14. Thurber says “I am glad Rex never saw a trained police dog jump” Why? Why does he says about Rex as an amateur jumper?
    A. Thurber says that Rex was just an amateur jumper but the most daring and tenacious. Had he seen a police dog jump, he would have tried to do the same not caring for the outcome. So, the brothers were glad that he had never seen a police dog jump.
  15. What was the immediate reason for Rex’s death? what does it tell us about human beings? Did Rex given up easily even when he was dying?
    A. The immediate reason for Rex’s death is that he had received a terrible beating, perhaps from the owner of same dog that he had got into a fight with. It tells how merciless human beings are towards animals. But Rex did not given up easily even he was dying.
  16. He licked at our hands and staggering, fell, but got up again? Why did Rex get up? How long did Rex fight death? Can you explain the expression straight arming the death angle?
    A. One of his three masters was not at home. So Rex got up and waited for him to came. Rex fought death for an hour. The expression strait arming the death anger means that Rex was brave enough to fight even with the death angel single-handed and that the latter died a heroic death.
  17. In “the snapshot of a Dog ” who was Rex waiting? for? how did that person come through the gate? Why did he stop whistling?
    A. Rex lived with the Thurber brother for ten years. At last his end come after a terrible beating from the owner of same other dog. He came through the gate and was dying. He saw that one of his three masters was missing. He began to took for him. At last that person came through the gate joyfully whishing. The moment he was Rex he stopped whistling. Rex walked towards him. Touched his hand with his muzzle and fell down dead.
  18. How does James Thurber describe Rex?
    A. Rex was their pet dog. He was a white American null terrier . He had a brindle eye, a brindle saddle and also a brindle stocking on a hind leg. He was big and muscular. He was as powerful as a wrestler and he never lost his dignity.
  19. What does Thurber say about Rex as a fighter?
    A. Rex was a tremendous brighter but he never started fights though he came from a line of fighters. He never went for the throat of another dog. He would only catch the ear, close his eyes and hold it on for hours.
  20. How did Rex’s fight with the neighborhood dog end?
    A. One day Rex had a fight with the neighborhood dog. It was a fierce light. Nobody could stop it. Somebody sent for the fire department. The fireman arrived. They turned on the dogs a stream of water. Rex held on for a long time. When the stream of water hit him repeatedly, He let the other dog go. The fight ended thus.
  21. How was Rex’s mettle tested?
    A. The three masters wanted Rex to carry a ten feet wooden rail through a four feet wide gate. They would throw a baseball as high as possible and order him to catch it. They would let him go over high walls and fences.

KEY :-I.
1. stocking : a band of colour extending up to the knee
2. tranquil : peaceful
3. extravagant : beyond what is reasonable
4. buffet : strike repeatedly
5. disposition : general tendency of character
6. prowlers : persons who move about house with intention to steal
7. strenuous : needing great effort
8. turmoil : disturbance
9. mettle : spirit and courage
10. integrity : firmness of character on principle
11. tenacious : stubborn
12. torrent : violent stream
13. terrier : a kind of small and active dog

1. c
2. c
3. c
4. a
5. b
6. b
7. d
8. c
9. a

1. Quivered
2. Astonished
3. Extravagant
4. Staggering
5. Recreation
6. Paws
7. Magnificent
8. Eventfully
9. Writhing

2. accomplish
4. tremendous
6. neighbour
7. turmoil
10. fought
1. has been punished by the teacher
2. asked him when he had come to Hyd.
3. had no driven slowly, bus would have reached Hyderabad.
4. is as industrious as sreenath
5. india is a vast country, Indians are poor
6. which was stolen yesterday has been found
7. No electricity, they decided to postpone the meeting
8. a priest but also a doctor.
9. did she hear the news than they started off.
10. being rich, he is not contended
1. Is-verb, reason-noun, his-adjective, behavior-noun
2. Great-adjective, over-preposition, still-adverb, passed-verb.
3. You-pronoun, confidence-noun, in-preposition, yourself-pronoun
1. It (?) horse (.)
2. Excellent (!) exams (.) Bi.P.C (?)
3. Crazy (?) fast(.) our selves(.)
1. He asked me whether I possessed a chisel.
2. one of my friends is coming this evening.
3. there is no room in this bus