If I were to rename blogos--I'm not, but if I were--I would call it "by the dog." In preparing for next week's focus on Plato and Aristotle by rereading Plato's Gorgias, I was reminded of this, one of Socrates' favorite exclamations. I'm not even a quarter of the way through this very long dialogue but Socrates has already invoked the dog twice--first, in a forewarning of sorts, when he observes that "to distinguish properly which way the truth of the matter lies will require, by the Dog, Gorgias, no short sitting." (Turns out he wasn't kidding.) And later when interrogating the feisty Polus, Socrates (perhaps feigning uncertainty) says "By the Dog, I fear I am still in two minds."
When Socrates invokes the dog, he isn't doing the slangy thing to replace god with dog, as in Oh my dog! (Though perhaps there's some connection between Socrates and OMD.) Instead, the dog is a god. His name was Anubis, an Egyptian dog-god who was thought to oversee and guide the dead, kind of like Hermes. In any event, Anubis is cool--he is frequently depicted as having human legs and arms, a pointy greyhound nose, and at times his ears resemble wings (though not up close).
I wonder to what extent my next book on animals in the history of rhetoric will consider this phrase and whether or not it matters when Socrates swears by the dog or a greek god. I'm thinking of how Socrates sometimes invokes generic deities (often translated as Zeus). By the dog, maybe someday I'll have time to figure it out.