November 17, 2008

—See, I knew She With Whom I Abide would come back.

“Only because I wrote her a really long letter in which I practically had to beg her to return.”

—You did not.

“I did: I told her how sorry you were for being an idiot and ungrateful and thoughtless and foolish and careless and mean and . . . you can top sputtering in indignation: surely you must realize that your canine devotion has been lacking.”

—Dogs have the cares of the world forever on their shoulders, but I don’t think I should have to put with your constant baloney; maybe I’ll see you later.

“Hey, no sleeping on the bed!”

November 15, 2008

“You sure have a sense of entitlement.”

—What do you mean?

“You know I’ve been sick, and surely you must have known I didn’t sleep well last night, and yet if it’s past 7:00, you’re being denied your precious breakfast and you start jumping around like a pogo stick on crack.”

—Um, I had an urgent bladder issue . . .

“You did not: you were last outside in the early a.m. because I couldn’t get to sleep.”

—Are you sure?

“Don’t give me that innocent act. Now lie down while I’m writing She With Whom You Used to Abide . . .”

—Used to?

“I keep telling you, your behavior lately is making a new puppy look pretty enticing, even one as big and rambunctious as that Kolby dog.”

—I don’t think so . . .

“You don’t sound very convincing. In fact, I think she’s even considering a kitten.”

—Now I know you’re lying: She With Whom I Abide definitely does not like cats. Like all sane creatures.

“Yeah, well, you’re making them look like the better deal, that’s all.”

— . . .

“Speaking of entitlement, what’s with you leaving the living room to go poach bed space when I’m out of the house, and when I’ve definitely not given you permission?”

—I was warming it up for you?

“Right, hours before I ever go to bed? Besides, you were warming up the wrong side.”

—Um, one of those grapes you’re eating would really help me think about this more clearly.

“Just lie down Entitlement Boy.”

November 14, 2008

“What with all the whining and yipping: you sound like a puppy.”

—It’s freakin’ freezing outside today.

“Yeah, it is a little cold.”

—A little? My fur got frosty.

“It did not.”

—It would have if you’d left me out there any longer . . . so, you’re sick?

“You didn’t notice? Some dogs can detect tumors or heart attacks and I’m laid up in bed all day and you didn’t notice I was sick?”

—You did seem a little on the pale side, but I thought you were just missing She With Whom I Abide.

“Well, I do, but that doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to vomit all day.”

—Oh. Feeling better?

“Yes, no thanks to you.”

—I kept you company.

“You always do that.”

—Which is probably why you aren’t sick that often.

“You prevent disease, what, by frightening germs away with your fierce napping?”

—I can see that you’re still recovering and you’re saying stuff you don’t really believe.

“Right, that must be it.”

—I’ll be right here if you need me.

“Nap away, Lewis, nap away.”

[Time passes.]

“Oh, She With Whom You Abide says to scratch you under the chin.”

—Thank her for me.

“I will.”

—She is coming back soon, right?

“She hasn’t decided. She saw some pictures of cute labradoodle puppies in the paper and wonders if perhaps her old ungrateful dog is now replaceable.”

—Don’t even joke about such things.

“Who said I’m joking?”

—You’re obviously still very ill; drink lots of fluids.

November 12, 2008

“So, I noticed that you retired to your own bed before I went upstairs last night.”

—You fell asleep in front of the TV and I didn’t want to disturb you.

“You’re on a schedule or something? After midnight you need to go sleep elsewhere?”

—I suppose you could say that I am fond of routine.

“I was impressed that you didn’t presume to sleep on the big bed.”

—I’ve been hearing some complaining about alleged sand that I allegedly transported to the sheets.

“Allegedly? So you were not responsible?”

—I can’t see how I could have been: I haven’t been to a beach in years.

“I think sand can be found in places other than beaches.”

—If you say so; the fact remains that I don’t go where I’m not wanted.

“I could argue with you about that, but as you seem a bit out of sorts over She With Whom You Abide’s absence, I’ll let it go.”

—When is she returning?

“Maybe never: I think you’ve driven her away with your ingratitude.”

—I have not.

“We’ll see.”

—Given how sad I am, do you think my mood would be improved by a biscuit?

“Probably, but you ain’t getting one from me.”

—Wake me if you change your mind.

November 10, 2008

“Tomorrow, you know, She With Whom You Abide will be going away.”

—So, she goes away almost every day.

“Yeah, but tomorrow she won’t be coming back.”

—Ever?

“For about six days.”

—Six days?

“Yep, your bad behavior and lack of consideration and proper gratitude have finally driven her from the house; I hope you’re happy with yourself.”

—This isn’t my fault.

“In fact, who knows, she may never come back given your poor attitude.”

—I haven’t done anything.

“Exactly: no show of proper respect, constant displays of favoritism to the wrong human, the crimes just keep on coming.”

—But . . . but . . .

“And I’m thinking I’ll probably have to leave you out in the back yard for long stretches of time, too.”

—Why?

“Just because. Teach you a lesson.”

—But. . . but . . .

“Sorry, sometimes that’s just the way it goes.”

—But . . . but . . .

November 4, 2008

“No, you are not coming into the house with that vile, slobber-drenched rawhide bone. I know, it’s delectable, but no dice.”

Lewis can’t respond because he refuses to drop the rawhide bone—he just looks hurt that his dear friend, the Slobber-Drenched Rawhide Bone, is not going to be allowed in the house. He implores me with the saddest eyes he can manage.

“No, and that’s final. I’m walking away now, and if you want to come in—without the bone!—drop it and bark.”

Even more imploring looks.

“Bye.”

Two minutes later, the strangled high-pitched yelp that means:

—Let me in, already! Please!

November 3, 2008

“Just to let you know, She With Whom You Abide is a little hurt by your recent behavior.”

—What do you mean?

“You’re acting as though you’re more my dog than her dog.”

—I am?

“Yes. For instance, two days ago when she was working in the basement and I had left the house, you were nowhere to be found, but as soon as I came back and joined her in the basement, suddenly you were there making a nuisance of yourself in a very cramped space.”

—Oh.

“How do you explain that?”

—I hadn’t really noticed.

“Obviously, but I think her feelings have been a little bruised. After all, she’s housed you and fed you for nearly 10 years, while I’ve been around barely one. And while I occasionally fill your food bowl, she’s the one still responsible for your food and shelter, you know.”

—Oh.

“Yes, oh. Don’t you have anything to say for yourself. This appearance of switching allegiances is not very becoming and does not reflect well on your entire species. Surely, you do not want to be responsible for the saying: Fickle as a dog?”

—No, of course not.

“Well then, get a clue, quit being an ungrateful pooch.”

—I’m not ungrateful.

“Then do a better job of demonstrating that.”

—It’s just that you’re going through difficult times, I spend more time with you these days, and I feel more responsible . . .

“You’re not responsible for my current situation.”

—I know, but in my job as a supportive canine companion, you seem to require my services more.

“Oh, so this is all my fault?”

—Yes, I mean, no . . . it’s no one’s fault . . . I instinctively gravitate toward the most . . . um, needy party . . .

“I see.”

—I don’t mean to insult you or embarrass you, you understand.

“Of course not: I always look forward to having a dog take pity on poor little old me.

—I’ll try to do better from now on. As far as She With Whom I Abide, I mean.

“Okay.”

—I’m glad we had this little chat . . . isn’t it time for a biscuit?

October 28, 2008

“Looking a little creaky going up those stairs, aren’t you Muffin-Licker?”

—It’s the weather, the cold sort of tightens up my joints. And I’m not a muffin-licker.

“Only because I haven’t put a muffin anywhere near the vicinity of your tongue lately.”

—Even then, I wouldn’t bother even sniffing your stupid muffin.

“I didn’t realize dogs were such big fans of denial.”

—I’m getting weary of all this obsession with muffins. Would you please just rub my head for about an hour?

“What do you know, that’s on my To Do List. I just wrote She With Whom You Abide that it was time to quote, ‘pet the needy dog,’ unquote.”

—The needy dog? Why must you continually insult me? What have I ever done that suggests neediness?

“Um, the way you put your muzzle in my lap when I’m using my computer and stare at me with eyes begging for attention and you won’t leave until I scratch your ears for 60+ minutes?”

—That’s not neediness, that’s just being affectionate. Besides, you spend way too much time with that computer thing, it’s unhealthy. Dogs in laps are much better than machines in laps: it’s a scientifically proven fact!

“I didn’t realize you were into science.”

—When it supports canine livelihood, I’m all for it.

“Enlightened self-interest, then?”

—Absolutely, though surely you’ve noticed that what’s in my interest is almost always in your interest, as well.

“No, I really hadn’t noticed that.”

—It’s true: for instance, if you give me a biscuit right now, I’ll be very happy and that will make you very happy.

“I’m happy when you’re happy?”

—Haven’t you noticed? I sure have.

“Well, if it involves biscuits, I’m sure you have.”

—Want to try it out?

“Not right now.”

—I’ll never understand why humans persist in pursuing unhappiness . . .

October 27, 2008

—You think you have it hard, have you noticed how cold it is in the mornings? I can barely chew my food I’m so cold. And patrolling the perimeter is a lot more difficult when there’s frost on the grass. Plus, the enemies on the other side of the fence are even more idiotic than usual this time of year. And birds—everywhere!—plucking sunflower seeds. It’s just madness out there, madness!

“I feel for you; is it time for you to return to your duties?”

—Why, are you leaving? So soon?

“Pretty soon.”

—Um, I think I have to recuperate a little bit longer, I’m not as young as I used to be, you know.

“None of us, my muffin-licking friend, none of us are.”

October 24, 2008

“So, why do you always run off to eat the red biscuit? Do you imagine I’ll steal it back or something?”

—I’m a modest dog and prefer to eat in private.

“Which is why you practice such shameless begging in public?”

—It’s unfortunate that to meet my caloric needs I have to resort to such behavior, but apparently there are those who think nothing of starving a helpless creature, heartlessly depriving him the food necessary to operate at optimum levels.

“So if you were fed more you’d be able to lie around sleeping even better than you do now?”

—I won’t even dignify that slur with a response.

“It’s time for a nap anyway, isn’t it?”

—As a matter of fact, I do feel a little tired . . . probably just weakness from being famished all the time.

“Undoubtedly. Have a good nap, you’ll be going outside soon anyway because I’ve got an appointment.”

—What?

“Yep, out into the cold in just a few minutes.”

—No no no no, can’t I stay in?

“Sorry, you know the rules.”

—First you starve me, then you banish me and freeze me.

“Life’s rough.”

—Yes, for a dog it’s just one trial after another.

“You’d hear music right about now, but my world’s smallest violin is in the shop.”