January 30, 2009

—I don’t see anything on your agenda that has much to do with dog care.

“How perceptive of you.”

—Isn’t that an oversight that needs to be addressed?

“What did you have in mind, since I don’t know what I can do to help you with your rigorous napping.”

—Ha ha. All sorts of attention could be paid. Did it ever occur to you that my current schedule is the result of being so cruelly ignored? That I sleep out of frustration? That I would prefer a much more active lifestyle?

“Right: which is why you’re so eager to go outdoors.”

—The back yard’s boring: there’s nothing new out there.

“So you want to take more walks?”

—On a leash?

“Of course.”

—Oh.

“You can’t seriously expect me to just let you run wild as a cure for your malaise?”

—Why not?

“Get real, dog, you’re hallucinating: might as well go to sleep, then your delusions can be classified as dreams.”

—The burdens of dog-hood are truly endless.

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January 28, 2009

—You have your fierce but loyal dog in need of attention, which might get forgotten if you decide to eat out.

“Oh don’t worry, we’ll give you lots of attention, like opening the back door for you before we leave.”

—See, that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid: I meant the attention a loyal dog deserves to have after a hard day’s work: ear scratches, treats, plate licking, treats, ear scratches, treats, stuff like that.

“Which you don’t get enough of, I suppose?”

—I’m not one to complain . . .

“But you’ll violate your policy of non-complaint in the face of the incomprehensible duress that might result if we go out to dinner tonight?”

—Well . . .

“I’d say you should quit while you’re ahead and start your regimen of power napping right now.”

—Okay . . .

“And quit moping: it’s unbecoming.”

—Biscuit?

“Maybe later.”

—You won’t forget?

January 27, 2009

—It’s your birthday?

“Yeah. I’m over 360 years old in dog years.”

—No you aren’t: the way you people figure such things is fatally flawed.

“True, but even using a revised method I’m over 170 in dog years.”

—Again, no you aren’t: the whole dog year concept is a bunch of hooey, anthropocentric to the core: there aren’t dog years and human years, it’s just time passing; the number of times the sun has risen and set isn’t different for you or for me. Most humans just get to see more sunsets is all, though exactly why remains a great mystery to the canine world: we’re not sure what you’ve done (or not done) to deserve that.

“I’ve heard it all has to do with heartbeats: every animal gets about the same number, but because some animals have a higher average heartbeat rate, they use up their allotment sooner.”

—Perhaps, but why do some have higher heartbeat rates?

“I don’t know. Size?”

—Maybe. I don’t know, either. But happy birthday anyway.

“Thanks.”

January 26, 2009

“And you, we’ve decided, are a furtive furred furniture encroacher.”

—I beg your pardon?

“You crawl up on the couch when we leave the house but generously allow you to stay inside.”

—And how would you know that?

“Ah ha! So, you don’t deny it!”

—Of course I deny it. I’m just curious as to your supposed methods of detection of a non-existent crime.

“It’s not that difficult to discern: you leave heat and dog hair at the scene.”

—Oh. But I leave dog hair everywhere.

“Yes, you do, and we’re not particularly happy about that, either.”

—I see.

“Look, we already have broken down and now allow you to get up on the bed, but your long claws might puncture the living room furniture.”

—Oh.

“So knock it off.”

—It’s hard to stop doing something you’re not doing . . .

“And stop denying the obvious.”

—I think it’s time to meditate . . .

“Escaping to Nap-Land, eh?”

—Just doing my job.

“Where was your exquisite dedication to your job last night when She With Whom You Abide had a nightmare and began crying out in distress?”

—Um, you seemed to have things well in hand . . .

“I don’t think you even woke up.”

—I was awake, believe me, ever-vigilant is one of my mottos you know.

“Mostly motto methinks, very little practice.”

—You cut me to the quick. I was very concerned, but when I realized you were there to take care of matters, I turned my attention to other possible threats.

“And we are so grateful for that.”

—You’re welcome.

January 21, 2009

[Editor’s Note: Lewis hears that the stock market is declining.]

—Yeah, and the Dog-Jones is plummeting, too.

“The Dog-Jones? What does that measure?”

—Nothing material . . .

“In other words, not much different from the Dow, which deals in mystical assessments of ‘value’ determined by the fevered greed of the Invisible Hand of the Market.”

—True, as far as I understand the whole “money” thing, which usually I don’t . . . no dog does: why humans spend so much time fussing about imaginary non-objects continues to baffle us. But the Dog-Jones is the closest thing we have dealing in such less-than-concrete matters.

“So what does it measure?”

—Basically, the state of all dogs all over the globe.

“The state?”

—Yes, how content we are, how pleasant our circumstances. Are all dogs getting enough biscuits, for instance. That kind of thing.

“That does sound like something rather difficult to calculate.”

—Indeed, and admittedly it’s probably more intuitive than anything. Usually, however, when times are hard for humans, they’re also bad for dogs: more of us get abandoned, get fed cheaper food, get kicked by frustrated stockbrokers, and so forth and so on.

“And is your personal Dog-Jones declining?”

—Not if I get to stay inside today.

“We’ll see about that.”

January 20, 2009

[Editor’s Note: This “Lewis Letter” was composed on the day that Barak Obama took the oath of office and was sworn in as the President of the United States for the first time. This date also inaugurated, in this editor’s humble opinion, the beginning of Obama’s betrayal of not only the voters who elected him, but of many of the ideals he claimed to champion. But enough bitterness: let’s see what Lewis had to say.]

“What about you, dog, excited about this historic day?”

—Not really: the new First Dog hasn’t even been chosen yet.

“What do you think of the outgoing First Dog?”

—Barney?

“Yeah, I guess that’s his name.”

—He’s a putz, just like the Idiots He Abided With . . . I could tell you stories.

“Why don’t you?”

—It would be paying him a lot more attention than he deserves.

“Admirable discretion on your part.”

—I think so.

“Okay, then, enjoy your inaugural nap: you’ll be heading outside soon.”

—What?

“You know I have an appointment today.”

—During the inauguration?

“It’s not like it’s a national holiday or anything, life goes on, appointments made become appointments kept, and . . .”

—I’m getting really tired of how your life keeps impacting mine in a negative fashion.

“Yeah, what can I say, it can’t be helped. So, on your mark, get set, nap!”

January 19, 2009

[Editor’s Note: Lewis hears me use the phrase “and thereby hangs a tale.”]

—Hangs a tail? You don’t have a tail.

“No, tale, as in story.”

—Oh. You know, human language is so confusing: so many words and phrases sound alike: it’s hard to figure out what you people are saying or what you want.

“And every bark is unique, I suppose?”

—Absolutely: pure and austere, each syllable clear, and easy to hear.

“Whether far or near . . . there, I finished your poem for you.”

—Pretty good, huh?

“Not bad, for a dog.”

—You’re just jealous that I’m multilingual and poly-poetic.

“Yeah, you got me, my envy knows no bounds.”

—So, what’s on the agenda today?

“Well, for you, I’m presuming a lot of heavy napping.”

—Again with the nap jokes . . . will they never end?

“Only when the naps cease, I imagine.”

—Fine. Whatever.

“Anyway, for me, more job searching and hoping for phone calls.”

—Good luck. Wake me if you need me.

January 16, 2009

—Aren’t you forgetting something?

“What?”

—Our daily conversation.

“Oh, well you seemed pretty tired this morning so I wasn’t going to disturb you.”

—How many times do I have to explain to you that I’m not tired, I’m simply meditating in a heightened state of vigilance?

“Sorry, it’s hard for me to distinguish your snoozing from your vigilance, particularly when your legs start twitching during dreams.”

—I’m not dreaming . . . I’m . . . working through various scenarios, mentally practicing responses to various threats and situations.

“My apologies if I seemed to be suggesting otherwise.”

—Wait a minute, you’re being awfully nice . . . where’s the usual sarcasm, the crude attempts to ridicule me?

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

—Yes, you do: I’m usually a never-ending source of less-than-flattering characterizations and insinuations.

“A New Year’s resolution to be kinder to my animal friends?”

—Over two weeks late.

“Better late than never?”

—Something suspicious is going on here, and I aim to figure it out.

January 14, 2009

“Hey, I wanted to ask you about something you said yesterday.”

—What’s that?

“You exclaimed ‘Thank Dog’—is that a canine deity or something?”

—Not really, at least I don’t think so . . . I mean, I and other canines don’t really understand the whole “God” thing you humans obsess over so much: it doesn’t really make sense to us.

“So who were you thanking, if not some deity?”

—It’s kind of difficult to explain, and it would probably seem conceited . . .

“Try me.”

—Well, I remember you talking to She With Whom I Abide once, and you told her that dogs consider humans to be just weird two-legged dogs and such . . . and that’s true as far as it goes . . . as if you folks don’t see everything in human terms . . .

“That’s a good point.”

—Exactly. Dogs are no different in that regard: everything is judged by how much “dog-ness” it contains. Cats, for instance, have zero dog-ness, even—some claim—negative dog-ness, which is one reason why they are so despicable. And so, by extension then, the world as a whole can be seen as one all-encompassing Dog, and that’s who, or what, we thank when so inclined.

“Interesting. You know, your antipathy for cats is well-known, but I’ve seen countless pictures of dogs and cats getting along, and I’ve visited households where both cats and dogs live together . . .”

—Traitors! All of them! Vile disgusting traitors. And probably perverts, too. I don’t even want to think about such things, so if you would kindly stop spreading your lies and distortions, your twisted fabrications . . .

“Wait, wait, wait. Calm down. And think for a moment. If I’m telling lies, then there aren’t any traitors to revile, right?

—Enough with your human sophistry: I told you I don’t even want think about . . . this. This conversation is over.

“What’s this? You’re turning your back on me? And now you’re lying down, already?”

— . . .

“Oh, very mature: passive aggressive napping.”

— . . .

January 13, 2009

“And you are going outside, you rude barker.”

—Me?

“Yes.”

—When?

“In a few minutes.”

—For how long?

“Three days. I hope you didn’t eat your whole bowl of food because you’re going to be on your own for awhile.”

—What?

“That’s what you get for being a rude barker.”

—But . . .

“Have fun.”

[Editor’s Note: The exact nature of the rudeness in question has been forgotten.]

~

[Some time later . . .]

—Thank Dog you came back!!!! . . . I was getting worried!!!!

“You didn’t really think we’d leave you out in the yard for three days did you?”

—Um . . . no . . . no, of course not, but I . . . uh . . . forgot to do my . . . uh . . . final morning internal investigation and that might not have boded well.

“I see. I wasn’t aware you did an internal investigation every morning.”

—Oh yes. A quick rundown of everything in the house just to make sure things are as they should be.

“That’s funny, I don’t ever recall you going downstairs, for instance, on any morning.”

—Oh, well, I check things via nose and ears.

“Why not eyes?”

—They’re not as reliable, and though I hate to admit it, age has taken its toll on my optic abilities.

“I suspected that.”

—Nothing serious, you understand, nothing that would compromise the 110% reliable service I provide.

“Of course not.”

—I remain, as always, your fierce but loyal dog-on-the-spot, valiant, vigilant, vigorous, and vivacious, always ready to swerve and protect.

“Swerve?”

—I didn’t want to infringe on any police trademarks . . . but I wanted to allude to them, too.

“Smart, though I doubt ‘to serve and protect’ is trademarked.”

—Can’t be too careful . . . or valiant, or vigilant, or . . .

“I get the idea. I also see that you took ‘vicious’ out of your 4-V slogan.

—Nice of you to notice . . . what do you think?

“Aren’t vigorous and vivacious kind of similar?”

—That concerned me, too, but the 4-V slogan is a work-in-progress, so I’ll figure it out eventually.