Tongues out in the open

It's pink, it's perky, and one sees it more often in the summer. Yes, I'm talking about your pet's tongue, that multipurpose miracle of nature - healer, heat pump, taster and greeter.

Sometimes it gets caught, like a sock in a drawer that's been pushed shut hurriedly. That's when you get the syndrome of Tongue Sag to which cats, especially, are prone, but of which they are sweetly unaware. As in the case of Skye, our cover-cat.

Tongue Sag often strikes at moments of sleepiness, as with Mala.

Gombi left the drawer open.

Zeb is out like a light.

Same syndrome, different species: Jimmy is a huge sofftie, huge being the operative word for this big casserole of Mastiff, Rottweiler and sundry other ingredients.

Another of the tongue's multiple purposes is as hanky. Keeping herself tidy here is Milly.

The classic dog pose: ears forward, eyes sharp, tongue everywhere. This is Jemma, whose 14 years as Best Mate ended a year ago.

Luka the Kelpie-cross is known as Admiral Barky Pants - "He was Captain, but got a promotion."

Bruno, like any dog, needs his tongue as the main means of shedding built-up body heat.

Here's one-year-old Arlo, whose owners are training him to do things like shut the door (any dog owner's dream). "He's so social he'd much rather play with other dogs than listen to our instructions, but even then who can stay annoyed at this cute face!"

A Tongue Sag that's getting toward canine proportions - though Dexter's all cat.

Tassie is keen...

Jake is eager...

Ernie is shifting into standby mode.

The handbasin is cool for cats. This languid chap is named Cullen.

Khepra responds to being on a comfy rug.

Moglet has had enough.

Oscar must be one of those driving dogs I keep reading about.

Ollie and Miss Jynxy keep their eyes on the road.

Mani tastes the breeze during what looks to be a traffic jam.

Roxy is caught in candid conversation.

Remember Anya from last week? Here she is again.

Along with tongue can come drool. Lucifer is sometimes prone to it.

Darwin spies something appetising.

Pip and Macy play a game of clobber and slobber. Amazingly, though a dog's tongue takes a pounding, serious tongue injuries are quite rare and heal well.

One more use for a tongue: to savour spicy pasta sauce. I'm not sure if it was to Billie's taste.

Finally, the best possible purpose for a tongue - lapping up ice cream on a hot day.

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