When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh.
You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple
of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad,"
you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd
relent, and roll me over for a bellyrub.
My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were
terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of
nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and
I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks
and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone
because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the
sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.
Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more
time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you
through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad
decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in
She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our
home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you
were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement.
I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother
them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most
of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to
love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."
As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and
pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated
my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and
their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have
defended them with my life if need be.
I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams,
and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had
been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a
photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few
years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from
being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my
Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will
be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right
decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family.
I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter.
It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the
paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged
and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a
middle-aged dog, even one with "papers." You had to pry your son's fingers
loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take
my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him
about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about
respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my
eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a
deadline to meet and now I have one, too.
[ リスト ]