My Life as a Dog

My Life as a Dog


It’s been said that there are dog people and cat people. I’m neither. I’m barely a people person. This is ironic since people occasionally comment upon my natural leadership abilities and become disappointed when I don’t pass the Kool-Aid.

I have been known, however, to share the wine, and if you’re seeking a Jim Jones-esque experience, the diminutive size of my expense account relative to affordable plonk could very well yield a killer hangover. And what’s the point? Two’s company … but not a cult.

To that end, I am not, naturally speaking, a top-dog, alpha-male or über-mensch type anyway—unless I’m alone, which makes me all the above with the added bonus of being a “lone wolf.” Then I’m a total badass until I run into another lone wolf. Inevitably, we discuss joining forces and forming our own pack. But running in a pack of lone wolves is rather like attending the anarchy club—oxymoronic at its best, and embarrassing if one actually shows up.

When other would-be top dogs ask me why they have poor pack retention, I point out it’s because they’re stingy with their knowledge.

They rationalize that smart leaders don’t foment their own competition. They think underdogs created concepts like “mentoring,” which is just a way of learning everything necessary to overthrow the person mentoring you. I nod sagely, then I offer them some well-deserved Kool-Aid.

There are other ways to become a top dog, of course. A pal of mine once fell in with a rough pack of feral canines—wolves, really—and later came down with a nasty case of lycanthropy. Now, he does public service announcements: 

“Remember, there is no cure for lycanthropy, and it may be contagious even if there are no symptoms like excessive body hair or a full moon.”

The only headache worse than having a werewolf friend—they eat guacamole right out of the bowl—is when a dog arrives at my doorstep leashed to a pal of mine, who wants to enter my home. With his dog. Though it’s unpopular to admit, I don’t like animals in my house. It sort of defeats the purpose of living indoors, doesn’t it? I mean, we built houses to live apart from the animals, didn’t we?

“But the dog is part of my family,” my friend protests.

And since I’m a gracious host, I welcome them both inside. Then I explain how genetics work while filling their bowls.

Originally published in the North Bay Bohemian.

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