The Truth about Joel
He's Gone More or Less to the Dogs
I am not a talking dog, but I am a writing dog. Off the page I communicate by a series of woofs, barks, growls and gestures. For example, when I need to use the (outdoor) facilities, I stand by the door and paw it, if necessary, to get somebody's attention. If a deer dares to darken our property, I growl. And if a fisherman or other stranger so much as steps on our land I zoom out to attack the offender, although the electric fence prevents me from even getting close to the creek.
Learning to write on a computer was not difficult. This is not my first venture into the field. I have written columns for various newspapers and online before. Joel trained me when I was still a little puppy. "Don't emulate my style," he said. "Avoid obscure words and references, and write short declarative sentences." Typing is a bit of a pain in that my paws are too large for the keyboard. Accordingly, there are a lot of tgfs (stet) and poks (stet) in my copy. You don't usually see them because our editor, Josh Popi Chuck, is so diligent. Josh and I have a really close relationship. He occasionally dog-sits for me when Joel and Susan are away. And he is very friendly and loveable.
Not that I don't love Joel. I do. But these days Joel has gone more or less to the (forgive me) dogs. He sits around most of the day in his leather chair in the kitchen, reading. I have to lay in what Joel calls my "chair," although it is perfectly evident that it is a doggie bed. (There used to be a nice comfy chair there, but Joel--that son of a bitch (forgive me again)--took it out.) Moreover, half the time he falls asleep. Joel may be the laziest man in the neighborhood.
Some mornings he goes downstairs to his office, he says, to work. "Work," it turns out, is visiting various news websites, playing chess online, and playing hearts on Yahoo. Oh, yes, every now and then he tries to write a column or finish one of the 20 writing projects stuck in the computer, but trying consists of mainly staring at the screen. Interestingly, Joel and Susan put in a circular stairway down to Joel's office. The result is that it is too dangerous for me to try to walk down it, although I have no trouble walking up.
All of this has diminished the time Joel and I spend playing fetch with a Frisbee or a ball. He never had much of an arm. Now it is even worse. He can barely throw the ball. Not much exercise in fetching a ball that is only 25 yards away. To make up for that, after I fetch the ball, many times I run around the property before coming back to drop the ball at his feet. Often Joel claims that it is too cold or he is too tired and the game ends prematurely. I would go nuts but for A Furry Tail Come True.
Once a week Joel takes me to Furry Tail, a canine daycare center on Main Street close to McDonald's, and I get to hang out with my doggie friends. It is just great. We dogs get along very well. There is, of course, a great deal of barking and yelping. One of the really big dogs, a Great Dane named Wotan, is my special friend. Oh, and I should mention Betsey, the Pomeranian. Wotan could eat Betsey in one gulp. He doesn't, because he is really a shy dog. I haven't asked him but I doubt he even chases cats. Between Wotan, Betsey and the rest of the gang, there is not an inch of Furry Tail's huge yard that we haven't explored and pee-ed on.
Usually, around 4 o'clock, Joel starts missing me and drives over to pick me up. I'm happy to see him and very tired. For the rest of the afternoon I don't even miss playtime while he sips his afternoon scotch. He claims it is necessary for his bad back. Yeah, sure, and I am a chimpanzee.