Monday, February 1, 2010

Some Things I Say To My Dog

I ran into the neighbor gal coming in the back door the other day and she mentioned that she could sometimes hear me talking to my dog. I'm fully aware that I spend a good deal of time conversing with my dog, but I was nonetheless taken aback.

My neighbor lives above me, and I seldom hear anything from up there but footsteps and the occasional unintelligible conversations.

"How do you know I'm talking to my dog?" I asked.

"Because I can hear you clearly when either I'm in the basement or you're in your kitchen or in the room off the backyard, directly beneath my bedroom," she said. "It's cute."

I sensed, lurking behind the smirk with which she delivered that last business, some mockery.

I make no bones about it. I am a loner. And though I do talk to my dog, it is now such an unconscious habit that I am not entirely sure what sorts of things I say to him. Much of it, I feel sure, must sound to an eavesdropper like complete nonsense. The habit is so ingrained, however, that it is now virtually impossible for me to become self conscious about it.

I was curious, though, so I determined to spend one entire day and evening recording every single thing I said to my dog (a day and an evening, by the way, which was pretty much typical in that the only words that left my mouth were directed to my dog). I didn't bother recording the actual monologues, which are frequent and can go on for quite some time. What follows, then, is a random collection of some examples of these one-sided conversations:

  • It's much too early for this fiendishness. Ad usum: caffeine for me, a ration of brown chunks for you, and then a few hours of quiet time.
  • I'll tell you one thing for sure, if I don't delete those goddamn Christmas songs from my iPod I'm going to snap. How the hell is it that out of 8000 songs, the Canterbury Bells version of "Joy to the World" has now shuffled through on three straight days?
  • Look at this filth and tell me what manner of man I have become.
  • Bring that ape over here and I'll spit some soup on his ass.
  • Hear that? That's an aeroplane. I don't imagine you'll ever have occasion to ride in one of the contraptions.
  • I sometimes wonder if it would improve the quality of your life if I turned on the television now and again. Perhaps tonight we'll watch the awards program.
  • You wanna go for a drive and get some Dr. Pepper?
  • I'm fixin' to fire up the hi-fi. Any requests?
  • Always hold your head up high when we're struttin' out there in the world. We ain't the slickest fielding shortstops in the American League, but we don't have a damn thing to be ashamed of.
  • If I were to read to you from this miserable book, and if you had the sense I credit you with, I do believe I'd pardon you for taking a snap at me.
  • I don't suppose you'd recognize that the continued presence of that Christmas tree has gone well beyond a nostalgic eccentricity and now represents a bright red flag for some sort of serious mental illness.
  • I'll remind you, in the event of an intrusion I'm depending on you to help me fend off the intruders.
  • The old man needs a new pair of slippers. No two ways about it. These are some seriously sorry sons of bitches.
  • I reckon you've got some hare-brained notions about what life's all about, and I've got no one to blame for that but myself.
  • Seems to me it's about time we rustled up some grub. How's that idea sit with you?
  • I wonder if it would be possible to breed fireflies indoors all year long and have them hovering around in the bedroom at night.
  • It's cold as a motherfucker, so don't be getting up in my grill about heading back out there again any time soon.
  • Come over here and let me put you in a grip.
  • I'll be honest with you, that sheep gets on my nerves. Why don't you go fetch Miss New Moo and we'll engage in some roughhousing with her?
  • There are a number of things about this current situation that would likely strike the impartial observer as highly unorthodox.
  • Listen to that sloppy-ass drumming and tell me this isn't the work of a bunch of uppity morons.
  • Hey, guide dog: tell me again that everything will be all right.
  • I offer you this Buddy Biscuit as a symbol of friendship, fellowship, kinship, buddyship, and spiritship. Additionally, the fact that this particular Buddy is missing one leg makes it an appropriate metaphor, for without you I would be like a one-legged man crutching along the icy sidewalks and streets, and I would surely bust my head open and freeze to death.
  • What's the best smell in the whole wide world? You better say me, or you'll go without your evening rations.
  • This Jung book is chock full of crazy shit.
  • Would it be an imposition if I subjected you to another viewing of "Dog Day Afternoon"? I'll remind you that it has absolutely nothing to do with dogs. But it does make me wonder: were we to remake it together, which of us would be Sonny, and which Sal?
  • Do you remember the time I took you to church? You were such a good boy. Fact is, you've been nothing but a good boy. I can't tell you that often enough.
  • Thank your lucky stars you don't have to waste any brain cells thinking about such insufferable peckers as Wolf Blitzer.
  • Are you aware that we live almost entirely surrounded by doulas? That's Kingfield for you.
  • Fuck this noise.
  • It pleases me that you seem to share my preference for sturdy dogs.
  • I am reading the book you gave me for Christmas. Would you like to smell it?
  • Do you miss the woods as much as I do?
  • Perhaps we should take some time to address this creeping disorder.
  • We really need something to break for us here, fella, or I'm gonna have a tough time keeping you in kibble.
  • I'll be damned, all this time I was laboring under the misconception that Taylor Swift was a man.
  • Climb up here on the couch and tuckle with me.
  • I do believe, mister, that you are a jazz fan.
  • Do you have any idea how utterly lost I'd be without you? And how grateful I am every single day that I sprung you from that jailhouse?
  • Look at this map. In two years you've already rambled over more of this country than most Americans will in their lifetimes. Sit down here and we'll count the states....Twenty-nine states and two Canadian Provinces. How 'bout them apples?
  • Come here, my beautiful boy, and let me tell you a story.
  • I wish you'd met my dad. He'd surely get a kick out of you.
  • Don't let me go.
  • You'll be with me as long as I breathe.


  1. I do believe that this is one of my favorite posts of all time.

  2. Seconded! How utterly beautiful. I love that dog now, too, and I don't even know him.

  3. I laughed. I cried.

  4. i do believe that i second mailizhen. or would that be thirding since someone else already seconded? or would it be seconded squared? math never was my strong point.

  5. This made me laugh, then it destroyed me, then it made me laugh some more. Amazing amazing amazing.

  6. You are not alone in your beautiful commentary with your puppers. Let it be known, our conversations with the hounds here aren't as lovely, but like yours, they're heartfelt and sincere.

    Thanks for the smiles you've given me today.

  7. Funny and tender makes my favourite combination of words.

  8. We have Goldie...she has no idea that she's a dog...OHHHHHHH! the stories she could tell. If she comes back as a human some day, I feel sorry for the guy that gets her. She's been our rock. For 12 years she's taken us through the good times and the bad times. She's been our nurse when we needed one, our caretaker - for two adults ages 68 and 69 (us!), our psychiatrist, and our drinking buddy. She's the only dog in the neighborhood that knows the meaning of: "It's 5 o'clock some place!" There will never be another one like her. But you already know that...You're a dog lover...Have a great day!

  9. Thanks everybody. And Elaine, I feel like I know Goldie. They're all good dogs, and they're all guide dogs. Blessings on every one of their heads.

  10. Hallo there to you both,
    I smiled and then nearly wept. This is good.
    Our cattle dog engenders the same feelings in us. I talk to Bryn throughout the day. He says G'day to your hound and if he could read would say that his favourite line of yours is... 'Climb up here on the couch and tuckle with me'. We will now adopt the word 'tuckle'!

  11. Herhimnbryn (Australia) recommended this site to me (UK) - see how you get around. My GSD puts a paw on my leg, cocks his head to one side when he listens to me drivelling at him. A wonderful post for us dog people - thanks a lot.

  12. I'm going to send our dogs over for a higher level of conversation. Just a brief visit, okay? Then we'll take them back and they will have to make do with our squeaking and inanities. But for just that little time, they will have been exposed to a great mind at work.

  13. Again, I thank you all for reading this, and for your kind and encouraging words. Truly, I'm grateful.

  14. With all of those wise words in his ears that luck dog should write a book. He'd call it "Sh*t my Owner Says."

    --Matt Franklin

  15. I am especially partial to your dog conversations. Please keep writing them. I can't get enough of them. Thank you and thank your dog.

  16. I am reading Wendell's mind right now and he loves the conversations and thinks you are awesome, with a bit of genius thrown in for good measure.

  17. Damned adorable. My wife and I empathized and enthused, having both had very similar dialogues with our black and white cat, Emma, our calico, Claudia, and our Maine coon, Henry.

  18. I read this under a pile of dogs and a kitten, and both laughed a cried for your terrible, terrible loss.

    1. That is sweetness, and much appreciated. Love to you and your companions.