Which is great, because I actually like him better this way.
A dog isn’t likely to run off with your best friend, and come back six months later, panting for forgiveness.
A dog isn’t likely to clean out the checking account which was joint, but mostly me. I can only imagine the treats he bought her to make her stay.
When Bob came back, I rolled up a newspaper and shook it at his nose. He got it. Maybe him running away is a better thing than I thought.
And by the end of that very first week, or maybe the second, Bob was full-on mutt. Floppy ears and wagging tail. Speaking now only in barks.
Trouble is, he wasn’t an old dog, and was able to learn new tricks. Learned to sit up in his armchair, just like when he was human. He learned that watching TV. Same way he got the idea to smoke a pipe, tamp the tobacco into the bowl with his paws. I found it jarring, but comforting, having the parts of Bob I liked without the fuss.
I went out to buy some kibble, which Bob was learning to resist, because he saw people eating juicy steaks and burgers on TV. I realized the TV was giving Bob the dog too many ideas, too many new tricks. But when I tried to turn it off, he howled and tore up the couch.
I could see where this was going. Bob the dog was going to be a big a jerk as Bob the man. And no bigger proof than when I brought home the kibble, he shook his snout at it and bolted out of the house, straight to the pretty young blonde who had moved in next door.
Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, Passages North, and many others. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and (The Theory of Flesh.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ September, 2021. She lives in NYC.