My Dog




            I have learned to trust you, resulting in an extraordinary friendship. You have given me many special moments. You have opened my eyes to the value of acceptance without judgment. You have taught me lessons on how to coexist with my neighbors and how to share without expectations. You have given me comfort without words and love with your stares. You greet me as if I am a surprise, every time; no matter how long I am away from you. I feel secure with you. You are my dog and friend.

            Therefore, it is with love I say the following: We all have idiosyncrasies; some are incredibly noticeable, and some are not. Some are annoying and, of course, some are not.

            It seems to me that we are not on the same sheet of music; you are consistently violating the rules. When I decided to have you come and stay with me, I spoke to you about unacceptable behaviors. I honestly believed you understood, apparently not.

Let me finish; this is not the time to bark back.

            On the issue of food, I provide you with the best food money can buy, yet, when we are having dinner you stare at my plate, especially when I am having T-bone steak; it is as if you are starving. Do you ever see my cat? I mean your cousin Mime salivating at my plate. Stop! Show some dignity.

            My plants— every single day, I water them. Why do you feel you have to water them too? Also, you pay particular attention to the ones in the corners and along the fence. Are you trying to kill them? I do not care if it is instinct; stay away from them! While we are on the subject of watering, what is the fascination you have with fire hydrants? They are public property and not to use as a restroom.

            You smell everything in your path. Do you not have any self-control? The way you smell the other dogs, it is embarrassing. Have you no home training?

            When we go walking, you always walk in front of me. Why every five seconds do you have to look back? I find it annoying; I feel as if you are watching me for some unknown reason.

            Last week I decided to take a bath instead of a shower. I filled the tub with water and went to make myself a drink. I returned to the bathroom, and you were in the bathtub playing with my rubber duck! You crossed the line!

             Do you have a clock in your head? Every day at the same time, you find a reason to go to the gate. The mail carrier provides a valuable service; do not harass him. If you are not satisfied living with me, explain. Do not say, “Rough, rough!” I will not have this conversation with you again.


Hartley Barnes is a veteran who has served in three wars, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom. Retired from the Army in 2006, and went to worked in Iraq, and Afghanistan as a civilian contractor for six years. He is now home and writing. His focuses are creative and playwriting.  He can be reached