An Open Letter to My Dog (The Bad One)
To: My basset hound
DEAR Jasper: I realize that, being a basset hound, it is highly unlikely you will actually read today's
column, but at this point I've run out of ideas for communicating with you and am pretty much willing to try
So, let's consider this an intervention. What I'm trying to say is your recent behaviour has been less than
acceptable, not that your track record is anything to brag about.
Do I need to remind you about that Christmas fiasco? That's right, the time you found a 20-pound sack of
flour in the kitchen, ripped it open, ate about five pounds worth, then gulped down your entire water dish and
rolled in the rest of the flour to ensure you were evenly coated in a thick, white, dripping mass of glue,
which you then tracked throughout the living room while testing out the new leather sofa and every single chair
to see which was the most comfortable.
But that's ancient history. I think we can agree things have been sort of going downhill from there. Just
for fun, why don't we start with what you did in the living room yesterday.
Can you show me in the Official Dog Handbook the part where it says: After eating a bunch of grass and the
remains of a dead squirrel, never throw up outside if there's a perfectly good carpet in the living room.
Hey, there's more to life than food! I'm serious. You can't eat everything. For example, and this will be a
big surprise, Kleenex, paper towels, discarded "hygiene" products, small pieces of wood and plastic bags from
Safeway are not considered edible.
Do you have any idea how many fancy-schmancy, high-tech garbage containers we have bought in a vain
search for one can -- one (very bad word) can -- that you CAN'T tip over or pry open on the off chance it might
be full of yummy coffee grounds, eggshells or mould-coated things from the back of the fridge?
And do you really think we don't know what's been happening to the butter? Oh, yeah, like I really believe
the kids have forgotten how to use knives and have been climbing up on the kitchen counter and using their
tongues to lathe the butter into a disgusting, albeit very smooth, little blob.
Look, none of this would bother me so much if just once -- one (very bad word) time -- you would just look
at me and say: 'Hey, my bad!' Or: 'Sorry, I just sort of lost control!'
But, NO! Whenever we catch you red-handed, you just sit there with that stunned ('Who? Me?')
once-again-I-am-unjustly-accused look on your droopy mug, as if butter wouldn't melt in your mouth (which it
And have you noticed how no one wants to take you for a walk anymore? Why? Because you don't walk. No, using
the same gravitational pull as the space shuttle, you try to yank our skeletons out through our armpits.
("OHMYGAWD! LOOK OVER THERE!! IT'S A SQUIRREL!!!")
What I want to know is why you can't be more like those dogs we see on TV. Not Lassie or Rin Tin Tin. I mean
heroic dogs we see on the news, like that black Lab down in Maine who grabbed his owner by the arm last week
and pulled him out of a burning house.
But you don't have time for stuff like that. You devote all your mental energy to breaking out of the
backyard by ramming through rotten boards in the fence. The neighbours don't like that. They are cat people.
Their cat hates you! That's why he hisses at you all the time.
(Just so you know, that fire that I mentioned a moment ago was caused -- and I do not think The Associated
Press would make this up -- by a cat named Princess who tipped over a kerosene lamp. I'm just saying.)
You appear to have modelled yourself after Pepper, that Lab-shepherd cross in Wisconsin who, according to
AP, got into his owner's purse and wolfed down $750.
On the upside, the family -- and they wisely wore rubber gloves to do this -- was able to recover and wash
off $647 that Pepper kindly "deposited" in their backyard, if you get my general drift.
Maybe I'm being a little harsh here; I don't think I'd be mentioning any of this if it wasn't for that
little incident with the wiener dog on Friday. You need to realize that you are roughly 10 times bigger than
the wiener dog and, under the laws of physics, the two of you cannot occupy the same space at the same
That's why, when the two of you tried to run in the back door together, you managed to bodycheck the wiener
dog off the top step, causing her to cartwheel in mid-air and land in the planter on the patio.
Not that you've asked, but, other than a slight limp, the wiener dog is going to be just fine. The vet bill,
however, cost me $77. And guess who I think should pay for that?
If you're smart, I think you'll contact your buddy Pepper down in Wisconsin. I hear he's still sitting on a
P.S. Would you please stop licking yourself while I'm talking to you!