Lost Dog (don't bother looking)

Submitted into Contest #41 in response to: Write about an animal who changes a person's life (for better or worse).... view prompt



“Mrs. Black?”

“Yes. Mr. Doe, I presume?”

“That’s me.”

“Thank you for meeting with me.”

“I can’t say no to a beautiful woman.”

“Well that’s kind of awkward.”

“So . . . you have a problem that needs to be solved?”



“What? No! No, no, no.”

“Just a guess. Most often it’s the spouse. Who is it then?”

“My husband’s dog.”

“A dog?”

“Yes. And keep your voice down. We’re not the only ones in this park.”

“You want me to take care of a dog?”

“Shhh. People are watching us.”

“No they’re not, you’re nervous. First time you’ve had someone taken care of? Or in your case, something.”

“Yes, of course. Do people do this sort of thing often?”

“Hmm. And you want a dog taken care of?”

“Yes. Again, yes.”

“A dog.”

“Are you planning to kill my nerves or the dog?”

“Take care of. We say 'take care of'.”

“Yes. Sorry. Take care of.”

“What kind of dog?”

“Does it matter?”

“Kind of. I’ll have to be able to identify him somehow. Unless you want me to take care of any dog I come across in your neighborhood?”

“Oh, yes. I suppose there’s that. I have no idea.”

“You don’t know what kind of dog you have?”

I don’t have a dog. My husband, poor besotted, foolish man that he is, has a dog.”

“Alright, what does the dog – wait – what’s his name?”

“Must we?”

“Must we what?”

“Mention the name.”

“It’ll help me catch him.”

“Very well. I’ll write it on a piece of paper.”


“There’s no need to shout it to the stars.”

“What does Jake look like?”

“I’d rather we refer to him as the dog.”

“Fine lady. What does the dog look like?”

“He’s big, has paws the size of dinner plates. And his claws! Oh, you should see what they’ve done to floors in the dining room. They’re a mess. It took me a month to sand and stain that floor. A month! And all for naught because of that stupid dog.”

“What color?”

“Fiery red, and so much fur! He has more fur than Hollywood. And it’s everywhere! I found a dog hair in my bellybutton the other day. My bellybutton! It’s in the vents and on the tables. I dust and I dust but the hair never goes away, it’s always there. It’s like the mangy thing secretes glue with his hair, it just sticks! To everything!”

“So red fur. Long, short?”

“Short and sharp. Like the spines of a cactus. And he like to rub up against you, to drive those little spines right in. He’s ruined so many pairs of leggings!”

“Any distinctive characteristics? I just want to make sure I’m nabbing the right dog.”

“He’ll be in our yard and we’ve only got one dog. How could you nab the wrong dog?”

“I’m the professional here. Weird things happen all the time. Speaking of which, you got kids?”

“Excuse me?”

“Kids? Will they be a factor if I do this?”

“Oh, no. We . . . it wasn’t right for us.”

“That's good.”

“Is it?”

“Ummm, sorry. You we’re saying?”

“He has huge pointed ears, his teeth are abnormally long and sharp. An inch or more.”

“Lady, you’re describing the devil himself.”

“He is! He’s the devil in the guise of a household pet, I just know it! He pretends to be a sweet, loving dog but I’ve witnessed his insidious tactics.”

“Do you have a picture of him?”

“Lord no. Haven’t you listened to a word I’ve said?”

“Hold on. Let me see if Google can help. Any of these look like him?”

“Yes! Yes, that one, bottom left corner.”

“A Vizsla.”

“See! It has an evil ring to it, doesn’t it?”

“Good looking dog.”

“Well that one is, but that’s like judging all woman from a Victoria’s Secret cover.”

“Outside of his apparent excessive fur problem, why do you want him gone?”

“Does that really matter? Are persons for hire so inundated with work that they can be choosey?”

“Curiosity has kept me from making poor decisions more than once in my life.”

“Understood. He’s a nuisance. He’s sooo needy! ‘I need to go outside, I need to go for a walk, I need to be petted.’ It’s me, me, me all the time with him! Never thinks about anyone but himself and he insinuates himself into everything.”

“We’re still talking about Ja – the dog – right?”

“Obviously. We’ve changed so many things to accommodate that stupid dog. The beach we used to go to doesn’t allow dogs, so now we go to a low rent beach that’s farther away.”

“I see.”

“Do you? I don’t think you possibly can. Watching TV at night, Mac, that’s my husband, - is it ok that I tell you that? – will leave me alone on the couch and go sit on the floor with the dog because ‘he looks lonely’.”

“That could be frustrating.”

“And then I have to listen to him cooing, yes, cooing, to the stupid thing! ‘How’s my biggest, bravest boy? Oh yes, you’re the best doggie in the world, yes you are. You are such a good wittle doggie, aren’t you?’ And on and on it goes. Makes me want to throw up!”

“Sounds like you’d be taking away some of your husbands happiness if the dog disappears.”

“After every meal, Mac puts his plate on the ground and lets the stupid dog eat what he didn’t finish. I know he leaves extra on purpose! All the work I go through to make nice meals, just to go down the stupid dog’s gullet.”

“Ok, so you-"

“Do you know, I wanted kids? One or two little bundles of joy to finish our family, but Mac said he and I were all the family we needed. Said he didn’t really have that paternal instinct most men have and I acquiesced because a marriage is a partnership and if both partners aren’t signing off on the Change in Terms, it isn’t going to work.”

“I can see-"

“And now here he is, acting like the doting father to a God damned mangy mutt. It’s intolerable.”

“And that’s why you want the dog taken care of.”

“No! It’s because I am a guest in my own home. See, when the damn dog came home, we let him sleep with us. I thought it was temporary, just until he was trained and familiar with the house. But four years later, he’s still sleeping in the bed, and I’m in guest room.”

“Ah. How did- ”

“I couldn’t stand it! He’s smelly and hairy and loud, he takes up all the room and he snores like a three hundred pound man. The thought alone literally makes my skin crawl. I couldn’t sleep like that – with that – so I started getting up and sleeping in the guest room, though really, there wasn’t any sleep to be had. Instead, I seethed for hours on end. I wasn’t even allowed the mercy of sleep, though I exhausted myself yearning that Mac would understand. That he would see my pain.”


“Exactly. I waited two years. Two bleeding-from-a-million-paper-cut years for him to ask, to wonder. He never did. So, I read all the books on having hard conversations and I finally confronted him, about having that stupid dog in the bed and he said ‘If you’re comfortable in the guest room, that’s fine but the situation with the dog is not going to change’.”

“Wow. That must have stung.”

“The dog must die. Not just kidnapped and given to a new home. He needs to die.”

“I understand.”

“He’s chipped, it’s in the fatty pad on the back of his neck. If you can get that out, that would be great. I don’t want to give Mac the simple comfort of having the dog’s carcass returned.”

“The dog will never be found but I’ll do what I can with the chip.”

“So you’ll do it?”

“I’ll do it. You need help, I’m here to help.”

“Half now, half upon completion?”

“You’re going to pay me the full fair for a dog?”

“Absolutely. I want it done right.”

“Two days from now, same time, same place. Bring the other half.”

“And you’ll snip off the souvenir I spoke of?”

“Consider it done.”

“Say it. I need to hear it.”

“I don’t think-"

“I need to hear it!”

“The dog is dead. Dead and gone.”

“Dead, dead, dead. Thank the blessed stars.”

“Better now?”

“Yes, thank you Doctor. I think this little exercise helped quite a bit. You played your role very well.”

“I’m glad you think that Mrs. Johnson, but I think we should talk about your marriage, we still have time.”

“There’s no need for that, I’m heading over to see an attorney after this.”


May 16, 2020 00:38

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