Hermit Dog

Hermit Dog saw the people.

Hermit Dog ran away.

Hermit Dog saw other dogs.

Still, Hermit Dog ran away.

Then Hermit Dog saw a squirrel.

Hermit Dog ran after squirrel.

Hermit Squirrel ran away.

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Walking Time

“Come here, Tiny, time for a walk!” Elisha called.

The dog looked up at Elisha, uncertainty clear in her eyes.

“Come on,” Elisha said. She grabbed the leash and shook it. “We’ll have lots of fun!”

Tiny looked behind her, considering her options. Go for the promised fun, though nothing yet had been so fun – or stay home and sleep on the couch. She needed a moment.

“Oh, come here you,” Elisha said. “We need to go out and have a walkies.”

Tiny was still thinking.

Elisha sighed, then grabbed a treat. “Here, come and you get this.”

Tiny’s eyes perked up. When put that way, she thought…

Tiny walked forward, and Elisha clipped the leash on. She held the treat still, and Tiny knew she had been tricked once more. No treat until they were outside, and even then it was uncertain. Next time, Tiny thought, I must resist. But she knew she wouldn’t.

Interview Skills

Darren sat across from the committee. The space between his chair and the table was vast, a chasm that weighed on Darren’s mind. He didn’t like it, but couldn’t say anything.

“And why do you want to work here, Mr. Richardson?”

“Well, I like the business, it really suits my background, but seems to, um, offer opportunities for creativity and innovative pursuits.” He was struggling, he knew, but what can you do?

As the committee scribbled on their paper, a head poked out from under the table. Nose to the floor, the dog made its way over to Darren, taking a zig-zagging route. Darren watched the dog come toward him while the committee wrote.

When it reached him, Darren checked to make sure they were still writing, then bent over. He offered a hand to the dog, who smelled him. Approving, the dog offered its back for scratches.

Darren checked again, and noticed one of the members was watching him. He smiled as he stroked the dog’s back.

“Are you a dog person, Mr. Richardson?”

“I am. I had one growing up. I’m looking forward to adopting one, when I have the resources.”

Everyone was scribbling again, while Darren kept petting.

Finally, he heard someone say, “I think that’s everything. You’re our last interview, and the only one to show such initiative. You’ll receive your employment contract in a few days.”

Darren raised his eyebrows in surprise: one question and he got it. He looked at the dog, whose tail wagged. He smiled. The dog seemed to smile back.

“Thank you,” Darren said, rising. He said goodbye, both to the committee and the dog, then left, humming to himself.

Work Like a Dog

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Darcy called. “You know what day it is?”

“Pancake day?” Wyatt asked.

“Taco day?” Leslie said, his voice hopeful.

“Pay day, finally?” Melody said, bitterness in her voice.

“None of the above!” Darcy said, her smile wide. “It’s Work Like a Dog Day!”

Everyone groaned, and looked around.

“Can we get out of it?” asked Leslie.

“Nope! So, on the floor everyone, and no more words! Barking only!”

“Boss, I really don’t think this is as beneficial as – ”

“No more arguments! Ruff ruff!” Darcy lowered herself to the floor and started to crawl around on all fours.

The rest of the office sighed, and started moving their monitors down.

Dog Days

With the dog days of summer upon them, Hugo decided to adopt a dog.

There was no tip-off, other than the weather announcer – to call him a meteorologist is a disservice to meteorologists everywhere, though the new anchor did so every night – announcing the beginning of the dog days of summer. But it was all Hugo needed, for he had been planning this for some time.

At the shelter, the dogs looked sad and lonely, and they didn’t pull Hugo’s heart strings.

At the breeder, the dogs looked purebred, with all the associated health and mental problems therein. Hugo passed.

It was just as he was giving up, then, that a dog presented itself. A stray, this dog was clearly a mutt. It could have been part Chihuahua, part Malamute, and part Retriever, but there could be some Collie and some Beagle and some Newfoundland mixed in there too. He couldn’t tell; no one could.

But the dog found Hugo as he walked home, and followed him to his door. Hugo invited the pup in for a drink – the dog was panting heavily, and looked like it needed the cool of a basement – and from then on, Hugo had a dog. He quickly had her spayed, got her shots, and cleaned her up, and they were the best of friends.

Take Me Out

Garfield scratched at the door, needing out. Liz looked up from her book.

“Really Garf?” she asked. “I just took you out, like, twenty minutes ago!”

The dog looked at her, pleading, and she sighed. “Okay, hold on.” She walked to the door, pulled on her shoes and a coat, and grabbed the leash. Garfield spun around, excited now.

“Just a quick one,” Liz said, clipping the leash on his collar. She opened the door, and Garfield went running out, pulling her along behind him.

They reached the edge of the lawn, and Garfield immediately squatted and peed. The relief on his face was clear, and Liz was glad she had capitulated to his desires. It had been quite some time since the need to clean up dog pee inside, but it could still happen, she knew.

Liz was about to turn, but Garfield was now on the sidewalk, pulling her along.

“What? You want to walk?” she said. Garfield turned to her, eyes pleading. “Fine, but only a short one.” She followed him, and his nose went to straight to the ground.

Come Boy

“Cliff! Come boy!” Zara called.

The dog raised his head, looking up at Zara, sitting all the way across the room. She was up on the sofa, as well, another hurdle to climb. Cliff sighed, and set his head back down.

“Cliff, come!” Zara tried again.

Cliff took another deep breath in, then let it out. He knew he would get some pets if he went over, which were always nice. But he was comfortable, warm, and all settled in. If he stood to go over, he would have to stretch out his tired joints, make his way over, and Zara would probably expect him to hop up on the couch, which sure, as a puppy, had been lots of fun, but age slows you down, makes those jumps a bit more painful. He closed his eyes and stayed where he was.

“Cliff, I’ve got some treats.”

Cliffs eyes flew open, but he kept his head still. He looked over – she was lying. No treats in her hands, or anywhere near her. He couldn’t smell anything, either.

Finally Zara sighed, and stood. “Fine, I’ll come to you then.” She walked over, then set beside him.

Cliff rolled onto his side, happy to have won the best outcome – stay where he was, but still get the love and attention. Zara stroked his side, and he drifted off for another nap.

Good Dog

Mira sat on the sofa, her tiny legs not quite reaching the edge. On the floor in front of her, the dog sat, large brown eyes staring.

Mira turned the page. “Now, doggie, here’s where it gets interesting. You see, Sam doesn’t actually want the green eggs, or the ham, for himself. But the offer stands. So Sam has to refuse, because he doesn’t like them or maybe is allergic or something. We don’t know. And the refusal is meant to be comedic. But what if Sam is a scientist with problems with GMOs? Which, since the eggs and ham are green, is clearly a concern. Or what if Sam knows something about the eggs and ham? Maybe his interlocutor is a tyrannical despot, and Sam is the last line of defense trying to stop him. Maybe Sam is a sociopathic serial killer, we really can’t know, Mr. Dog.”

The dog cocked his head to the side, then licked his lips.

“My thoughts too, pups. My thoughts too. Shall we switch gears? I have an existential discussion on the nature of fish, if you like.”

The Chase

Marvin walked down the lane, watching for the dog that was almost always out.
Nothing came running at him. No barking came from the side or rear of the house. There was no jingling of tags from the bushes. It was quiet. Too quiet.

Marvin pulled the paper from his bag, rolled it up, and slapped an elastic around it. He tossed the paper onto the deck, and started walking back toward the street.

He heard a door open, and a voice behind saying, “Go get ‘im, boy!” Marvin turned just as the door slammed shut, and the dog took off towards him.

The dog was wide-eyed and barking. It was huge, possibly part bear, with jaws that could tear a bicycle tire from the frame. Marvin started running for his bike at the end of the driveway. He reached it, hopped on, and started pushing himself forward. The dog was catching up, but Marvin had just enough of a lead to get to speed and get away from the beast. He zoomed past the next stops on his route, making a note to circle back when it was safe.

The dog gave up the chase, turned, and started trotting back home. Marvin breathed a sigh of relief. He hated the Armistead’s house. Tomorrow, he told himself, I’ll just throw the paper from the street.

Jurassic Phobias

Immediately following his first viewing of Jurassic Park, Sandy had developed a phobia of sitting on the toilet.

His parents, initially against his watching the movie, and finally capitulated only to have their worries verified. Sandy came home from the movie in good spirits, talking about how cool the dinosaurs were. But when he went to the bathroom the next day, they were sent running toward him by the sound of his screams.

While he got over the screaming, he was forever uncomfortable with sitting on the toilet. Sandy’s parents invested in a squat toilet, imported from South Korea. Sandy’s fears were allayed, though visitors to the home were often confused.

In adulthood, Sandy’s phobia reared its head again. When he moved out to an apartment, he found the landlord particularly unwilling to allow any modifications to the bathroom, even though Sandy offered to pay for it himself. As a result, Sandy rigged a squatting system around the standard toilet. It helped, but for a year he was never comfortable, and took trips home whenever possible.

The day Sandy adopted a dog, though, was the day he undid many years of therapy.

Like many bachelors, Sandy rarely closed the door when in the bathroom. On the second day with the dog, as he squatted over the toilet, hoping for little to no splash back, his new companion poked his head into the room. Sandy yelped. The dog backed out and ran to another room in fear. Sandy slipped, pulling his pants up, visions of Tyrannosaurs and Velociraptors in his mind.

As he lay on the floor in a fetal position, his pants around his knees, the dog poked his head back in. He walked cautiously over to Sandy, and started licking his face. Sandy, whimpering, could do nothing but accept this bath, and he slowly relaxed.

As his mind came to terms with the comfort being offered, Sandy eased himself up to a seated position. He pulled his pants the rest of the way up, and rubbed his dog’s head. “Thanks buddy,” he said.

The next day, as Sandy prepared himself for his daily defecation, he opened the door. The dog trotted in, and Sandy felt at ease. No worries of being eaten, no fears of dinosaurs, prevented him from finishing his daily requirements.