That sure does look like a nice couch. I can tell, even though you have those chairs on it, that it would be a really comfortable place for a dog such as myself. I would be very cozy sleeping there. Perhaps if you just moved these chairs? Why are there chairs on the couch, Mom? And remember, Mom, I am the Best Dog. On Friday night I brought you a present. It was the best present ever! I brought you a whole groundhog, Mom. It was a big groundhog, Mom! And it was still alive! We could have had it for breakfast. Where is the groundhog, Mom? Didn’t you like my present? Why were you screaming so much? I guess you were excited and beside yourself with joy. I can understand that. It took me three days of mind control, of staying in the yard, not eating, hardly sleeping, to catch that groundhog, Mom, and when I did I brought it right to you. I didn’t even hardly hurt it at all, so it could be all yours. I would have helped you kill it, Mom, and then we could eat well! But there hasn’t been any groundhog for dinner, huh. Humans are weird. . . I did my part. I gave you the groundhog and went and slept on the comfy chair. So now maybe you could move those chairs? I think this couch and I could really get along. And I deserve a present too.
Perdita gets kind of obsessed with hunting things. Me, whatever, a duck to bring back, like that gosling that time at the park, I know about gifts for humans. I know what they like. They like torn up paper and stuff from those baskets they leave around at dog height; it’s helpful to empty those and spread that stuff around the house nicely. Me, I like a nice combination of mud, torn up paper, socks (socks, who could resist, just so delicious) and feathers – lots of things in the house, like those things on the beds, or chairs, are full of feathers! You’d be amazed at what a little time with tooth and claw can accomplish in the shredded foam and feather category! – to hang out in. It’s comfortable. But I’m not going to spend three days out in the yard hypnotizing a groundhog. Still, Perdie is the boss, I guess, I’ll support her in any way she wants and if she needs my help to drag the groundhog up the stairs and through the dog door and into the computer room for Mom, I’ll help. I’m a good helper! I’m enthusiastic! I bounce! And I like groundhogs; I’ve had some great conversations with groundhogs over the years. So it could be a our new friend! Or breakfast, that would be okay too. I really like breakfast. Is it time for breakfast? You know, I think it might be. I’ll just howl a little to remind Mom of the time. She wouldn’t want breakfast to be late.
When I was young the grass wasn’t so long and annoying. When I was younger things were clearer, too, not all fuzzy like they look now and groundhogs were more polite, and people didn’t just go walking up and down the street by my house like they do now. Back then there weren’t pointy demons on the other side of the dog door and ghosts didn’t wake me up from a sound sleep all the time and LOOK! OH GOD IT’S COMING FOR US ALL! Bark! Bark like you’ve never barked before! Make it go away! OH GOD THE TENTACLES! What groundhog? Oh, that groundhog, yes, young Perdita, she’ll get them. She has the patience for that crap. These young dogs, they don’t get that eternal vigilance is the price of a squirrel free yard. AGH SQUIRRELS THE SQUIRREL ARMY HELP OH NO SQUIRRELS HELP HELP! Oh the groundhog, right. I barked at it. Barked well. Barked thoroughly. That groundhog knew it had been barked at, by god. And I barked at Perdita and at Django and the cat, who I don’t trust, and I barked to let Mom know there was a party going on and then I helped pull that groundhog into the computer room. Then I barked some more! I like barking! It makes me feel . . OH GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? IS THAT – IS THAT THUNDER? I’M BARKING AS HARD AS I CAN! Excuse me I have to go take a nap behind the downstairs toilet. It’s really the only safe place in the house. Could you – could you just make me a tinfoil hat to kind of keep the voices down?
Yeah, that was pretty excellent. I thought it would be a good joke and it exceeded my wildest expectations. Perdita was just going to kill the groundhog like she usually does – I get that, I mean I prefer voles and mice myself and she and i are really good at hunting them, and squirrels, nothing like a nice baby squirrel, together – but then I thought, you know, the time I brought Mom that live mouse to the kitchen, there was a whole lot of excellent chaos and screaming. I am fond of a bit of chaos now and then. Like the way I have Theo convinced that there’s a demon on the other side of the kitchen door, that’s pretty enjoyable. So I told Perdita, look, Mom will appreciate it more if you bring it to her live, so she can kill it herself. Or, we could kill it in front of her, she obviously needs a few lessons. Sometimes I worry about the humans in this house; they eat the most outlandish things. Anyway, we planned it together and when the time was just right and she finally had that groundhog by the back of the neck, we all helped drag it into the computer room. And the screaming! Mom ran and jumped up on the chair and screamed and screamed. And the young one came up from downstairs and he shouted too! And everybody barked and I got so excited I even ran in circles a bit, I confess, I know, it’s not very dignified but it was just so great! Plus I got to taunt the groundhog while it was in the closet and sometimes, that’s just the best part. Heh. You’re going to die, die, die. I said. Die. Ahhh. Then more people came over to appreciate my beauty, which is always nice, but they took the groundhog away. Well. I guess it had served its purpose. The only question now is, what next? What can I plan next?
The groundhog speaks:
Fucking dogs, man. Fucking dogs and that obnoxious fucking cat and humans! Humans! Humans make too much noise. I tell you, I was never in a human house before and it’s fine with me if I never am again. It was all – there was no dirt to dig my way out of. No roots, no grass, no dirt. Fucked up, I tell you, it was totally fucked up, dog brutality, there I was, just minding my own business, and suddenly BOOM that fucking dog, who had been crooning at me for days, you know how they do, and it makes you kind of sleepy and you think about grass and sunshine and, and – then I was being dragged up the stairs by a whole pack of them. Well I thought that was it. Yeah I fought back! Fought back like hell! And they dropped me, so I was victorious, but then it was like fucking Mars, man, let me tell you, it was worse than the island in the middle of the highway. So I was halfway relieved when the human put me in the plastic box and took me away. Fuck that cat. Who got the last laugh now, cat? Show me that cat, I’ll tear it up. I’m tough! Please don’t leave me in the island in the middle of the highway, that’s all I ask.
That’s it, I’m boarding up the dog door and paving the yard and moving to the top of a tall building of a tall city in the desert. There are some things nobody should ever have to experience and having a live groundhog dropped in front of you in your own damn computer room in the quiet of an otherwise uneventful Friday evening is one of them. The hell with nature. OK I grant you that trying to hide in the corner and screaming at the top of my lungs for 15 minutes was possibly not the most adult, rational, calm, reasoned way to react, but get back to me when it happens to you. Which it won’t, I know, because stuff like this only happens to me. Be grateful for that.