Hi! It’s me! Your dog!
Did you just see that squirrel?! He was giving me a look but I barked him away to protect you because I love you!
Master, it’s come to my attention that there’s a lot about life that you can’t quite put your paw on. There’s some things you haven’t learned. But lucky for you I have and I’m going to teach you all the things you need to know. I won’t be around forever so pay attention and take notes because you’ve got thumbs and should write this down. This is way more important than butt scratches!
Now that I have your attention, listen up because I am only going to bark this once.
Put down that glowing rectangle thing you always have in your hand. What’s so great about it? You can’t eat it. You can’t fetch it. You can’t give it tummy rubs. You’re always looking at the rectangle and not at what matters. Put down the rectangle and pick up a ball. Then throw it. I’ll bring it back and then you throw it again. Spend more time throwing the ball, less time holding the rectangle.
Start wagging your tail. I know you don’t really have a tail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wag it! I wag my tail to tell you I’m happy and that I love you and that I am so excited to see you. Wagging your tail is how you know someone is happy. It’s up to you to find your tail and to wag it to the world! Let them know you’re happy and excited to see them. Always wag your tail so everyone knows you love them.
And don’t only wag your tail, chase it! One day I was chewing on my bone then out of nowhere this wiggly thing appeared in the corner of my eye. I stopped everything and knew what I had to do. I had to catch the wiggly thing that was taunting me! You remember seeing me spin and spin and spin, right Master? I chased that wiggly thing until I finally caught it. I never gave up! And guess what? It was my own tail! I was so proud that I finally caught my fluffy tail. Your tail is out there. Some might call it a dream. I call it a tail. Chase it until you catch it in your mouth!
Bark more. Sometimes things are scary and you just got to bark to chase off the scary. Sometimes your paw gets stepped on and you bark to let Master know you’re hurt then Master makes it all better. Sometimes there’s a cat on your porch and you have to let Master know THERE IS A CODE GRAY ON THE PORCH! CODE GRAY! CODE GRAY! Okay, the cat has gone. But you see what I mean? When something is important to you, you have to bark. You can always bark softly and carry a big stick. A big stick that I would love to fetch. (Please throw the stick!)
Look, take it from an expert on the color gray, life isn’t just black and white. It’s all shades of gray like that book I tore up. (I remember you said it was a bad book so I have no regrets chewing it up. It was tasty.) I see the world and it’s all gray. And lucky for you, Master, you get to see all sorts of colors and I bet it’s more than just black and white! See the world in shades, Master. It’s a lot more fun when you do. It’d be a really sad world if it was only two colors all the time.
Don’t be afraid to get out there and sniff some butts! Every time we go out on walkies I never see you sniff any butts! You tilt your head at other Masters but you never bark, you never wag your butt, you never sniff theirs...how are you going to meet your friends if you don’t get to sniffing?! You don’t even let others come sniff your butt! Open up your butt, the one that’s in your chest. I can always tell a good boy and a good girl from their butt smell. Meet your own good boys and good girls by sniffing their chest butts. You know, that thing that goes “boom boom boom” real fast when you run? What’s that word, Master?
I’d like to think I’ve got life figured out. I’ve got a family who loves me and takes care of me. My water bowl is always clean and my belly always full. I get pets and treats and kisses and hugs. I snuggle up next to you, Master, on your nice, warm bed. I have everything I’ve ever wanted and all I’ve ever needed...your love. And really, that’s all that matters.
And Master, one more thing.
When it’s time to say goodbye, remember what I’ve taught you about life. You’ve given me the best life ever and when I go to Rainbow Bridge, please do not cry in sorrow. My paws won’t be there to wipe your tears. Instead, I want you to celebrate my life. Tell my stories. Put down the glowing rectangle, and pick up the ball. And throw it once again.
Jessica Brown is the education and features reporter for the Dawson County News.