« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2007, 01:32:39 pm »
From the Wordsworth 'Dictionary of the American West'
An orphan calf, usually runty, usually unbranded; a bum calf; sometimes simply any calf.
On trail drives, dogies weren't strong enough to keep up well and so were a nuisance.
The dogie has entered Western mythology as an occasion of sentiment and pathos.
One of the most famous cowboy songs. 'Git Along, Little Dogies', is addressed to him:
'Oh, you'll be soup for Uncle Sam's Injuns;
It's 'beef, heap beef,' I hear them say.
Git along, git along little dogies,
You're going to be beef steers by and by.
Whoopee, ti yi yo, git along little dogies,
It's your misfortune and none of my own.
Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies,
For you know Wyomin' will be your new home.'
Since the word was variously spelled in the early days (doughie, dogy, doge, dogey) lots of folk, both ordinary and academic have speculated wildly about its origin.
Some note that starved calves have swollen bellies and so were sometimes called 'dough-guts', which could have become dogie.
Linguist J.L. Dillard says dogie may have come from the Creole 'dogi-man', meaning 'short man', or from 'doga', a term Owen Wister heard in the West and recorded as meaning 'trifling stock'.
By extension came 'dogie lamb'.
Later the word came to be applied to anything unlikely to survive, often meant in a jocular way, as in, 'this dogie enterprise'.
It also became a verb, 'dogied' (orphaned) and a 'dogie man' was a farmer who took in dogies to raise.