When I am a Dog I am Barking


I killed myself in 2007.

My parents made all my aunts and uncles and cousins take time off work to come to the funeral. Some of them had to fly in from out of town.

I woke up as a golden retriever in my neighbor’s backyard and missed the whole thing so I’m not sure how it went or if anyone cried.

My new family did not get an invitation.

My master is a stay-at-home-dad named Tom who is usually in a bad mood. He has a riding lawnmower and stands underneath my parents’ window coughing at night, sometimes for hours.

He mows his lawn three times a week.

He’s a weird guy.

He named me Bob.

It has been six years and I am an older dog now. I have learned a lot about myself. The grass is nice on my feet in the summer when the sun shines but sometimes I still just want to be let back inside.

I like it when I am running and there are lots of things to smell.

I have two boys I play with. They are Tom’s sons. They like to play basketball in front of the house. They lower the hoop so they can do slam dunks and I watch them from the window in the living room.

When the boys were little, they used to like to pretend with toy swords in the backyard. They were slower then but they had more energy.

Now one of them has a real sword.

He swings it around in the backyard and makes noises while his brother and I watch. Sometimes he chases me. I am a fast dog and he can’t catch me with the sword.

My old family doesn’t go outside that often. I am actually not sure if they live next door to us anymore or not.

There is still pain. I can see fewer colors than I could before.

I do not understand why a lot of things are happening and it bothers me sometimes. When I am confused I get frightened and bark a lot. When I am barking, Tom yells at me to stop. If I don’t stop, I get put outside.

I get upset. It passes. I wait to be let in.

I am a bad dog.

I want things very badly at certain moments. I want things so badly I react with all the energy I have without reserve. I feel like I am almost constantly reacting or desiring something I cannot have.

I need a lot of things. I struggle through a fast haze. I lust in a dull blur.

It is draining and sometimes I just want to be told what to do.

Sometimes I am a Good Dog. Sometimes I am a Bad Dog.

I don’t really get it. I don’t know how these things work.

There have been at least two movies made about people who have died and then became dogs, at least that I was aware of when I watched movies. In both of these stories, the protagonist-turned-dog tries to go back and fix their old human life.

I am not that kind of dog.

I think that if you are trying to fix your human life when you are a dog that you are not doing a very good job at being a dog at all.

I think that I like it when I am running.

There are not so many colors to see but there are a lot of things to smell.

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