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July 2018, vol 14 no 2

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Joan Prefontaine

A Certain Look

My dog keeps himself busy trying to prove that he is not a person. I often treat him as a person, it is true, and yes, he has his own special chair and food dishes, even a cookie jar that I bribe him with – the same cookie jar, in fact, that I used to bribe my son with when he was young. But my dog keeps reminding me that comparisons are odious, and that he, unlike a human child, seeks to perfume himself with fish scales or fresh horse manure whenever we are out together. He snacks from the cats’ litter box when I have my back turned, and while generally well-mannered, will occasionally bark for half an hour in the middle of the night at a faint sound only he can hear. He often gives me a disdainful look, as if to say, “See? I am my own dog, and not even related to you!” I realize it is nearly the same look my son gave me when he left the house to go on his first date.

childhood lake
my dog swims
without being taught