Every dog has his way.


My humans think I’m a bit stupid. They think we all are. They must do.

Okay – how often do they pretend to throw a ball or a stick or something they want us to chase after and bring back, then laugh as we jump around looking for it? That’s what they think, anyway.  They haven’t worked out that we’re onto their tricks but know that if we play along and act as though we’re searching for whatever it is, we get a fuss – and that’s what it’s all about in the end, isn’t it? That or some food.

They even believe that when they do throw it, we chase after it and bring it back because we enjoy doing that. Pah! We do it for the cuddles, don’t we? That or the food treats. Either will do.

You see – they reckon that our greatest wish is to please the human who they fancy to be our pack leader; that we will do anything, whatever it takes, to stay in favour. I say again, pah!

They’ve never cottoned on that life is about two things: cuddles and food, food and cuddles. Nothing else matters. Nothing. Literally, nothing. Okay, perhaps sleep, too.

So we develop new tricks, new ways of endearing ourselves to them, new ways of giving them what they want in order to get what we want. And what do we want? That’s right, cuddles and food.

Mercenary? What do you mean, mercenary? Is it any more mercenary than the humans going to work every day, doing a job they mostly hate, just to get enough money to feed themselves? I think not.

My human was talking recently about something he called environmental enrichment. Apparently, he was reading a book (written, no doubt, by a human who thought that people would buy it and so give him money to feed his pack) that was saying we dogs get bored easily and that leads to what he called bad behaviour. Hah! Yes, we do get bored sometimes, but how do we deal with it? That’s right, we sleep!

Anyway, this book was telling things like it’s good to hide our food so we have to look for it (as if) so it keeps us interested. Let me ask you? What would humans do if you hid their food instead of laying it out in supermarkets or stacking it in fridges? Would that enrich their lives? I think not – so why would they think that sort of malarkey adds anything to ours?

My human hasn’t gone that far yet, but he has taken to hiding what he thinks is my favourite ball – it’s actually his, but I play along with it for the food and fuss. I’ve found that the more I look for it, the longer it takes me to ‘find’ it (even though I always know exactly where he’s put it), the bigger treat I get or the more fuss. So I play along with him.

Just now, I heard him tell someone that he’d hidden it at the back of the table. “Watch this”, he said to his friend, “Let’s see what he’ll do now – you know dogs don’t know about ladders, don’t you?”

Heh heh heh…

This was written in response to Kreative Kue 245 published on this site.

Kreative Kue 246

Kreative Kue 245 asked for submissions based on this photograph:

John W Howell is the author of the John Cannon trilogy of My GRL, His Revenge, Our Justice and Circumstances of Childhood, co-author of The Contract, and blogs at Fiction Favorites.

Good Boy by John W. Howell © 2020

“Why is he sitting like that?”

“I don’t know. I think he is trying to show me something.”

“Is that it boy. Are you trying to show us something?”

“Ask him if Timmy fell in the well.”

“Don’t be an idiot. There’s no Timmy around here.”

“Worth a try.”

“No, it has to be something else. Did you take him for his walk?”

“Yes, but he wouldn’t let me take off his sweater.”

“Is he running a fever? Did you feel his ears?”

“Yes, I mean, No. I mean, I felt his ears, and he has no fever.”

“Come on, boy. What is the problem?”

“Like he is going to tell you.”

“Wait, he’s pointing at you.”

“He hasn’t moved his paws.”

“I mean with his nose. Do you have something of his?”

“No. Although on walk, he wanted me to run with him.”

“Did you do it?”

“Yes, for as long as I could.”

“Uh-huh. What was that, ten feet?”

“No. I would say a half a mile.”

“Well, if I were to guess, I would say he wants you to sit.”

“How on earth do you know that?”

“Intuition. Sit.”

“Okay, then. There. Happy?”

“Now, he’s looking at me.”

“Maybe, he wants you to sit.”

“No, I think he wants me to praise you. Here let me pat your head. Who’s my good boy? Such a good boy. There’s my good boy.”

“He’s walking away.”

“See, he wants you to behave like a dog.”

“I suppose next he’ll want me to eat out of his dish.”

“No, he’s pretty particular about his dish. Do you feel you bonded with him?”

“I’m not sure about bonding, but could we do that ‘good boy’ thing again?”

This moving tale is from Na’ama Yehuda, who blogs at https://naamayehuda.com :

On Guard! by Na’ama Yehuda

“How long will he be this way?”

“Dunnow,” Plucky shrugged. “But let’s get this done before he loses concentration.”

“I wanna waive something in front of his eyes. He looks so hypnotized!” Shimmer shifted excitedly from foot to foot. This was so thrilling!

“Don’t you dare!” Plucky’s hiss almost made actual sound. He bobbed his head in an effort to contain it. “Let’s get to it! Blue is good but even he can’t keep this up forever.”

Shimmer nodded distractedly.

“Coming or I go it alone?”

“Coming, coming…” Shimmer nodded and sighed in one. She didn’t want to miss anything. She wanted to see everything! She wished she could be in two places at the same time. She tore her eyes off of the dog, whose nose barely twitched and whose eyes never left the cockroach that was held in the blue-gray pigeon’s beak, just out of the canine’s reach. Blue was so courageous!

Plucky was already on the move. Shimmer stepped behind the brown bird’s sparse tail feathers, trembling with suppressed flutter. This was her first heist.

The window was open. The dog had forgotten a biscuit on his cushions. They were going to sneak into the room and steal it.

My effort was

Every dog has his … sausage?

D’you like my training jacket?

No, it isn’t like a training bra or training pants that babies use. I’ve been clean and dry since I was a pup – and that was a while ago, I don’t mind telling you. And before you ask, I ain’t about to grow man-boobs or whatever the equivalent is for fat dogs. I may be a bit of a porker, but I’m not that bad.

No, the idea of this is to make me stronger. There’s about a kilo and a half of weights sewn into the jacket. That’d be ten to fifteen kilos on the average human. There’s a sausage dangling from a string up there. I can see it. I can smell it. If I close my eyes I can practically taste it. Fair makes me drool, it does.

They want me to jump up to try and grab it, but I’m wise to them. They’ll judge how high I can jump and lift the sausage just a little bit higher. That way, they reckon, I’ll jump more and more and get stronger each time.

But I won’t give them that satisfaction. I can sit here looking at it longer than they can sit there looking at me. You know what they’re like with their kids, don’t you? They play a silly game, like hiding behind their hands then opening them and shouting ‘boo’. Cracks the kids up, it does, so they do it again… and again. Eventually, they get tired of it and stop. And the kid screams. Why? Cos the kit ain’t bored of it. It wants more, but they can’t keep it up.

You wait. In a minute, one of them will say that they can’t sit here all day watching me, that I can’t get the sausage without jumping for it and that when they come back, they’ll know if I’ve jumped high enough. So they’ll go away.

Ever heard of telekinesis?

Heh heh heh…

On to this week’s challenge: Using this photo as inspiration, write a short story, flash fiction, scene, poem; anything, really; even just a caption for the photograph. Either put it (or a link to it) in a comment or email it to me at keithchanning@gmail.com before 6pm next Sunday (if you aren’t sure what the time is where I live, this link will tell you). If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to this page would be appreciated, but please do also mention it in a comment here.

Go on. You know you want to. Let your creativity and imagination soar. I shall display the entries next Monday.

Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 14.3

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.

Knight after Knight. Chapter fourteen, part three.

Yes, life was indeed good.

Until, that is, I got up one morning and noticed that Max was still in bed. That struck me as odd, as she had always been up before me. Always. Well, maybe not always, but certainly since we’d been living here in Dar-es-Salaam. I called out her name. Nothing. I went upstairs, gently opened her door and peeked into her room. She looked to be asleep so I thought it best to leave her. As I turned to close her door, though, something made me go in and check on her, in case she was poorly. I put my hand onto her forehead to check for a temperature. It felt cold. I felt for but couldn’t find a pulse on her neck, then I tried on her wrist. No joy. I didn’t worry, as I really had no idea what I was doing anyway. I checked my own neck and wrist to be sure I was looking in the right places and found them without any problem. I put my ear against her nose to feel her breath. Nothing. No pulse, no breath. It suddenly dawned on me that she may have died at some time during the night.

I called one-one-two and described what I had found. An ambulance arrived within probably ten or fifteen minutes; I can’t be sure, my mind wasn’t as clear as I’d have liked it to have been. A paramedic came in, did pretty much the same as I had and reached the same conclusion. He attached a heart monitor, switched it on, ran it for a while and shook his head.

“I’m sorry, Mr Knight,” he said, “there’s nothing I can do. She’s gone. Would you like me to take her to the hospital or call for a doctor to come here? I can’t issue a death certificate.”

“Have the doctor come here,” I said, “I need a few minutes to say goodbye to my oldest friend.”

He called a doctor and left us. I called Lindy. I knew he’d want to know. The doctor came, examined Max and confirmed what the paramedic had told me. He issued a death certificate showing the cause of death as natural causes, heart failure.

Lindy arrived five minutes after the doctor had left. The poor lad fell to pieces as soon as he saw Max’s body. He was a much more emotional soul than I was.

“Where’s Roger now?” I asked.

“At home with the kids,” he blubbered.

“He should probably stay there,” I said, “I need to make funeral arrangements.”

“Does… did Max have any family?”

“No. She was an only child,” I said, “so were both her parents. So no aunts, uncles or cousins. She was the end of her line.”

“We were her family,” he wailed.

I knew how close he and Max had become over the years they worked together, and I did my best to comfort the poor boy. I did try, honestly, but after more than half a century of friendship, I was in pain, too. Unfortunately for him, Lindy didn’t have the years of emotional repression necessary to allow him to deal with this kind of loss without great displays of emotion. Or maybe fortunately for him, Lindy didn’t have the years of emotional repression necessary to make him deal with this kind of loss without any display of emotion. Perhaps it’s just the way we are. Either way, this was my third death in the family – and Max was as close to family as anyone could get whilst not a blood relation.

Losing Papa was, and I’m not proud to admit this, easy. He and I never really got on, and his transition from an active, if physically disabled, man to death took place over a long period and gave us all plenty of time to prepare ourselves.

Sophie had been unwell for a while, even if we didn’t realise just how unwell she was. Even so, her death came as a shock. Had we known the full nature of her condition and had a realistic if unpleasant prognosis, we could have dealt with it better. As it was, she went, in my eyes at least, from healthy to dead in a very few minutes. That was the shock.

But Max. Max. We had said our goodnights the evening before in the way we had every night since we arrived in Dar together: I was seated in my chair, Max said it was bedtime for her. She walked over to me, placed a hand on my shoulder and said “Good-night, Mr Knight,’, I gave her hand a gentle squeeze and replied, “Sleep tight, Ms Matham,” and we went to our separate rooms. She seemed fine, same as ever. I have no words to describe adequately the shock, the horror, the sense of loss I felt when I found her lifeless body. Knowing also that she and I were, within a couple of months, the same age, it made me think seriously about my own mortality. That was something I’d never done before. Oh, we’d talked about the subject, but it was always pretty much at the level of an intellectual exercise. Suddenly it became not only real but current; maybe even urgent.