My Life as a Dog

In the morning, all is still. The air hangs heavy, silently screaming for some joyful entity to burst through its stagnation and wake up the world. I am such an entity. I am driven not so much by the pleasures of aimless romping – as are so many of my kind – but by the demands of my full bladder. Perhaps I shall pee on the tomato bushes today. That will show them. They are not early risers. I waste no time this morning in my alert; I do not rise from an occasional whine to a persistent and voluble bark, as I often do. Today I start at full volume, three seconds between emissions, then two, now one. Arise, ye slaveholders, you who sequester me to this prison each and every night. Hear my ceaseless wrath.

I have not had my breakfast. The matriarch of the household came with sleepy eyes to release me from my cell. I have a strange response to these interlopers who pepper my day with their presence. Though I know they must ultimately pay for their authoritarian misdeeds, I can’t help but give each one a yelp and a wag when I first espy them after the long night. I suppose it comes from a place of pity. After all, it is mightily apparent that they know not what they do. For all the deprivations – the sun continues its arc, and still my chalice is empty – they seem to think we are the best of friends. Despite this embarrassing obtuseness, I can think of no real reason to dispel this notion of theirs. I have tried to show them the error of their ways, but the cold shoulder does nothing to increase my rations or belly rubs. It is just as well to let them rest in the cocoon of their ignorance.
The matriarch has fallen asleep again. I suppose I can afford her a reprieve of one hour, no more. I could use a nap myself.
Breakfast is a feast with no equal. Would I were a God, and life were one unending buffet of ambrosia and Alpo. As it is my meals are brutally partitioned to two 3-minute windows in which I gorge myself as quickly and fervently as I can. There is no time for caution; I cannot say I am proud of the colossal amounts of wet food that splash out of my bowl as I plow my snout into it, nor that I feel no shame when I siphon the displaced goods out of the grain of the deck. But I cannot stop myself. The excitement of the breaking of my long fast overwhelms me every time. When it is over, I flop my large body down away from the mess, spent, sated, in need of a good repose. Perhaps I am no better than the barbarians who keep me. I ponder this painful thought as my lids grow heavy with sleep.
There is no time for such musings when I awake from my nap. My eagle eye alights on a fruit tree that seems to have sprouted green orbs overnight. They are hanging temptingly low, can it be low enough…? I spring to my feet and fly down the steps to investigate, trying to calm my pulse as I fear I will be disappointed. But praise the gods, I am not, and in an instant my mouth is full of pulpy goodness, all bitterness and texture. I have no time to savor the complexities of unripe plums before one of the overlords is screaming at me. Another, I must have another before it is too – I am dragged by the scruff of my neck back into the looming abode, spitting juice and kicking my hammy legs in protest. The injustice burns in my sensitive facial folds. As the door is slammed behind us and a wave of cold air washes over me, I break free and stare longingly back at the plum tree through the glass, now so unreachable, and it seems as though it returns my gaze sadly. “No one appreciates me like you do,” it seems to say. I must wait. I must be patient. They forget things in the blink of an eye around here; there will be another meeting of the tree before long. And it will be glorious.
Another ignominious day has come to an end. They tried to put me in a dress today. I thought I might die of the shame. Sometimes at night it is all I can do to drown out the odious memory of their laughter, their accusing reproaches, their yelps of disgust when I push my face in their leg right after my dinner in a rare attempt at something akin to affection. It is not my fault that such a considerable amount of the evening repast collects on my chin. Believe you me, overseers, I would cleanse it if I could.
I thought tonight could be the night – the one where they forget I have a cell, forget I am a prisoner at all really, and allow me to join their slumbering ranks for once and doze when and where I will. It happens once in a blue moon, but tonight it will not be so. I felt a pull of rebellion this time and raced into the kitchen when they set out to collect me. They think they’re being so clever when they try to nonchalantly herd me to the holding cell; but I know what they’re up to. It was not long before the long-legged beasts caught me by the hams and ferried me back to my den. When the door was slammed and the lock turned I first looked out at the offender with pleading eyes. But there would be no sympathy tonight. I quickly adjusted my gaze to portray what I hoped would appear as a burning hate. Alas, it made no impression, and the light in the room was extinguished, gateway closed. I’ll get them one day. Just you wait. I’ll get them.

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