Not Actually My Dog

- by Michael!

I love dogs.

I am unabashed in this. I love’em. I love their goofiness, their loyalty, their joyful abandon in expressing affection, their gleeful disruption of what you consider to be sanitary – all of it. They’re fun. And someday Joanie and I will have a dog. (Or two, or three, with probably a cat in there too, because I do like cats, as well – it’s not a binary thing, y’all.)

But due to our very tight living quarters and somewhat exceedingly erratic schedules, we’ve decided to forego having any pets for now – just wouldn’t be fair to the animal, plus we’re on a tight budget, they’ll eat my homework, etc.

That’s OK, though, because we have a surrogate:

Say hello to SadDog!.

SadDog! lives across the alley from us, and often leans his majestic head out the window, cranes his neck eastward, rests on his paws, and sighs – at which point SadDog! will remain in this position for hours, if the opportunity arises.

I’m not sure what SadDog! is looking for, if this is “Human is gone and I’m looking for her/him”, or “Human is watching TV, so I’ll watch DogV, which only has one channel but smells better,” or something else. But on a regular basis, between March and roughly November, there’s SadDog! keeping vigil.

After I noticed SadDog!, I decided it was time to cheer up this sorrowful looking creature. Which I proceeded to do by opening the window, leaning out of it with an utterly stupid grin on my face, and yelling, “Hey SadDog! Hey! Hey SadDog!”

Seriously. This is how I started our relationship, and this is largely the extent of it today. There’s a reason I don’t have many friends.

SadDog! has never evinced any sort of excitement or happiness at my intrusion into his musings. He is either deeply stoic or just a bit confused at what this weird human is shouting about from twenty yards away. But he does look up and stare back at me as I continue my idiot call of “Hey SadDog! Hey! HEY!”

Joanie does it, too, of course. We’ll call out of different windows and crow when he pays more attention to one of us than the other.

A few months ago I heard a sharp yelp echo through the alley, and my first thought was of SadDog! – I hoped fervently that he was OK. Lo and behold, he reappeared – but newly decorated with the Cone of Shame.

SadDog! doesn’t appear to be lastingly hurt, although the Cone has made a couple of reappearances. He just stares out the window, nose to the East and the bustle of the 1 Train, until such occasion as I notice him and start calling out the window, begging for even a tiny sliver of canine attention.

In a week, I’ll be leaving town for the summer. When I get back, we will most likely be in a different apartment (same building, just bigger space!). So there’s a very good chance that I won’t see SadDog! very many more times. It’s OK. I’ll get by. And SadDog! probably won’t remember me at all. But still, it’s been nice to have at least this much contact with him, and I wish him and his Humans all the best.

Bye, SadDog!. Stay outta the cone, man.