"Wild Packs of Family Dogs" as written by and Brock....
A wild pack of family dogs came runnin' through the yard one day
My father got his gun, shot it up, they ran away OK
A wild pack of family dogs came runnin' through the yard
And as my own dog ran away with them, I didn't say much of anything at all
A wild pack of family dogs came runnin' through the yard
As my little sister played, the dogs took her away
And I guess she was eaten up OK, yeah she was eaten up OK
My mother cryin' blood dust now

My dad he quit his job today, well I guess he was fired but that? OK
And I sittin' outside my mud lake, waiting for the pack to take me away
And right after I die the dogs start floating up towards the glowing sky
Now they?l receive their rewards, now they will receive their rewards

Lyrics submitted by nuke_troop, edited by asavageiv

"Wild Packs of Family Dogs" as written by Isaac Brock

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Wild Packs of Family Dogs song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationMy theory on this song is that this is Isaac's take on humanity from Jesus's perspective. Now, from a lot of his other music, it's pretty clear that Isaac is an atheist with some agnostic values (see Bukowski, Ocean Breathes Salty, and TSAP to name a few). He has also created a song from the perspective of God before (Dark Center of the Universe) so having one from the eyes of Christianity's main man is something he would do. Now for some analysis.

    So "a wild pack of family dogs," the metaphor:
    Dogs of course were taken from the wild (willingly) and domesticated, or civilized, by man. They became docile and peaceful companions, yet when these civilized animals are thrown out into the wild once more (i.e. natural disaster), they become more savage than the wolves they were before. They do not simply kill what they need to survive, but anything they want. This is representative of human kind - as civilized as we sometimes are, when we enter a "mob mentality," we become the most evil beings ever to walk the Earth.

    With that out of the way, I'd like to talk to you about Jesus Christ (I'm going to call him J from now on). So I don't think the song is exactly 100% coherent to his life (I have no idea what his sister is supposed to represent here, maybe innocence? Pandora?) but there's a few major things that line up. First off, his father. He scared the dogs off in the beginning by shooting his gun up in the air, (a nod I suppose to God in the old testament, or perhaps some point in J's life) but later when the daughter was killed and J's mother was "cryin' blood dust," he was fired from his job (Isaac tends to believe that if God is all-powerful, he must be an asshole or just bad at his job). J then proceeds to go wait out by the mud lake for the dogs to take him away (crucify him - mob mentality) and then proceeds to watch as the dogs float up into the glowing sky and receive their reward.

    So basically, this song is a tie-in between Isaac's religious fun-poking and the ideas he later expressed in We Were Dead that humanity was better off (or at least just better) in the cave.
    BaronVonBSon November 29, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentApathy definitely makes sense..I have to say that I've always thought of this song as referring more to being passive than apathetic, though. Like it really does bother him that his dog ran away or that his sister was eaten or whatever, but his reaction is passive instead of "asserting" himself. He's getting fucked over but he'd rather just not think about it. The way he says "she was eaten up, okay?" really makes me think that, like he's actually uncomfortable about it but just doesn't want to think or talk about it. I don't think I'm really getting anything across here but that's what I've always thought.
    Subdivisionson January 09, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's not just you, I thought this song was funny, too, particularly in adding "okay" at the end of horrific statements.

    I agree completely with huebert about this song being about death in the family. They're "family dogs," meaning relatives, but perhaps they're "wild" because they are now dead and no longer under the rules of the living world. At the end, he's waiting for the dogs to take him, too, meaning he's waiting for death.

    Or not. Modest Mouse's lyrics tend to go way over my head, but I love them anyways because they're so beautiful and puzzling.
    bokononiston December 17, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretationmy iterpretation of this song is that a boy is apathetic and depressed. then one day a pack of wild dogs come to his house nd his father tries to scare them off and they go away. When his own dog runs away with them he does not care because it was enevitable. The dog was tried of monotomy and the apathy and left. The boy starts to realize that everything around is going to disapear andcometo an abrupt stop eventually and that it is a part of life. This is shown by his sister getting taken away and eaten. only his mother seems to really care because she is crying blood dust. Blood dust could show that because of her life and life style she hasn't used her heart or cared for a long time thus it is covered in dust. When his dad losses his job and the boy says thats ok it supports my idea of him thinking that everything around will leave and stop one day. he finally realizies that all he can do is wait for the pack to come, take him away and kill him, but he knows that the dogs will get what they deserve
    PartingoftheSensoryon April 14, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't like the few interpretations that I've read about this song.

    To me (maybe because my grandfather had just passed away when i listened to this and realized what it was), it's about death.

    The dogs coming to his father but being scared away... the father got sick or maybe there was just the threat of death in the family, but the person got better and that caused the dogs (death) to be held off.
    Death took his dog away. Death then took his sister away, and because the mother cries "blood dust" it makes me feel like the sister was miscarried. The blood dust in this case would be ... from the uterus. Dust because the child has died. This is my favorite part of my interpretation because I've been trying to define and give meaning to the blood dust since I first heard this song.
    The idea of the dogs being death, or perhaps God or angels of death (whatever) removing people, is ground in the last little stanzas. They float up to the sky to receive their rewards for having allowed the folks to die or for taking them up into the sky or what have you.
    bigpckl001on May 12, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is about religious conversion. Evangelicals. Door to door Mormons.

    A 'wild' pack of "family" dogs. Family is the word in the title that seems odd. Religious missionaries are wild in the sense that their beliefs are archaic, and they defend them fervently, without rationale. But they are intensely loving of one another, so much so that they are a family.

    The song illustrates how religious fanatics systematically took away those close to the narrator, and after all this, when his life gets too hard, he just gives in, and becomes a part of the pack. This illustrates the ease and comfort religion brings us, finally giving in when you're at your weakest.

    I think it's safe to say Isaac is an atheist. It's a theme that runs through a lot of Modest Mouse's music. The ending of this song symbolizes how the wild pack of family dogs *gasp* were right! Now they go to heaven to receive their reward for their conversions. It's a twist ending, a tease of 'what if those psycho motherfuckers are right? The horror!'
    Tunes24on July 04, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmaybe the deepest song on the album, lyrically. There's just so much there...god, dont really know what to say without sounding like a jackass. it feels like there's a hopeless love for the father. then there's that feeling of loss when his dog joins the pack, and the betrayal when it comes back and eats his sister with the others. his mother's "blood dust", could be saying that her hearts all dried up,, like she's totally spent, like she's given up. seems to be a lot of hopelessness in the end, where his dad gets fired, and he decides to go sit by the mudlake until the dogs take him away. It's really cool in the end where it talks about the dogs getting what they deserve, sort of a religous undertone...but brock's an atheist, isnt he? *dies*
    Bassinmofofiyaon September 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was just wondering whether this song possible refers back to 'Jesus Christ was an Only Child' on The Lonesome Crowded West where he says
    "Penny found out as her hair was styled
    You should hide you kids
    While the dogs run wild
    Jesus Christ was an only child"
    Just a thought. If anything this song is more about how religion ruins your life than anything, with the wild pack being the religious types, and converting the family one by one, until an ironic ending where the dogs get a reward in heaven even though they ruined the lives of these people, but they converted them. I don't think that made sense.
    dancingbearson March 08, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentactually, that makes a lot of sense dancing, nice interpertation.
    mrtownzjooon March 16, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentholy shit, not to chime in more, but that definitely was an incredible interpretation. Even if that's not what it means, Isaac should think about using that theory as an explanation.
    teibeston March 20, 2003   Link

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