Funny Friendship Fiction

The Dog Shrink

I am so ashamed. I am only writing this because the beagle next store said it would be good for me to bare my soul, something about the “cathartic” effect of sharing my feelings. I don’t even know what “cathartic” means, but he’s a really smart dog (He once opened his family’s refrigerator to get at some hot dogs.), so I thought I’d try it. I’ve been burdened with recurring feelings of guilt over an ugly episode in my life, so I hope this works.

You need some background. I live out in the country. It’s a beautiful place, four acres, lots of trees, and a small stream runs along the back lot line. I had the best life you could imagine, and then it all collapsed. You see, I was my little girl’s birthday present one year. We were inseparable. We played in the yard, went for long walks, looked for frogs and turtles in the stream, everything. I even got to sleep in her bed! It was the best of times.

As she got older, she spent more and more time with her friends, but things were still pretty good. And then the worst thing there ever was happened- college. I couldn’t believe it. My little girl up and left me. I’m still pretty ticked off about it. I don’t know what college is, but I can’t understand why she didn’t take me with her. I bet I could have done good at college.

The Mom and Dad both work, so the days got pretty lonely… and boring. I have the run of the yard so I can wander all over the place. I would go down to the stream some days and look for frogs and turtles, but that only made me miss my little girl even more. Just lying around all day long by myself was driving me up the wall.

So…that’s what brought me to an awful place. The Dad is a pretty good guy, but he can do some dumb things. Dumb things #1 was one day he brought a chicken home, a baby bantam. Ok, he was cute and all, and my little girl liked him. But then the darn thing grew up, my little girl left, and I was left with empty days and a stupid rooster.

Have you ever had a rooster? If you never had one, here’s some advice. Don’t get one. Every morning about a half hour before sunrise, the stupid thing would start crowing his brains out, and for such a little guy, he was loud! I don’t know how the Mom and Dad could stand it. I’m not a good morning dog to begin with, and it was every freaking day!

Considering my hostile feelings toward the rooster, this may be hard to understand, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I was so bored and lonely I tried to make friends with the stupid chicken. (Oh, the shame of it all. You’ll have to give me a moment.)

Ok, I’m alright. I’ll continue. So, I looked around to make sure no one was watching, especially my beagle buddy, and I walked over to the stupid chicken.

Me: “Hey, wazzup?”

Stupid chicken: “Huh?”

Me: “What’s up, you know, what’s happening, What’s going down?”

Stupid chicken: “Nothing. I’m just sitting here.”

Me: “Yeah, I can see that. In fact, you’ve been sitting there all day. I thought maybe you’d want to do something.”

Stupid chicken: “Like what?”

Me: “Oh. I don’t know, I thought maybe we could play fetch.”

Stupid chicken: “Huh? What’s fetch?”

Me: “I throw a ball, or kick it, or whatever, and you go get it. Then you throw the ball, or whatever you can do to get it moving, and I go get it. My little girl and I did it all the time. It’s a blast.”

Stupid chicken: “What’s the point of that?”

Me: “It’s just for kicks. We run around, chase the ball, bring it back. It’ll be fun.”

Stupid chicken: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “Well, how about this. What say we go chase some squirrels or chipmunks?”

Stupid chicken: “Huh?”

Me: “Come on, you’ll love it. It doesn’t take much to scare the bejesus out of them.”

Stupid chicken: “Did you ever see the teeth on a squirrel?”

Me: “Hey, one bark and they take off. They’ll be up a tree before you can say Jackie…whatever that guy’s name was. What do you say?”

Stupid chicken: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “Well, I know you’ll like this. We go down to the stream and look for frogs and turtles.”

Stupid chicken: “What stream?”

Me: “Oh, my God. You don’t know there’s a stream at the back of the property?!”

Stupid chicken: “Never been there.”

I about couldn’t take it. That stupid chicken had been around for almost two years, and he had never even been down to the stream. He was worthless. No, he was worse than worthless. His only purpose in life was to wake me up way too early every morning. I was losing patience, close to giving up. I had one more “trick” up my sleeve, that is if I had sleeves.

Me: “How about this? Would you like me to teach you some tricks?”

Stupid chicken: “Why would I want to learn any tricks?”

Me: “Look at it like it’s continuing education. It’s good to know how to do stuff. And like they say, we’re never too old to learn. What do you say?”

Stupid chicken: “Like what kind of tricks?”

Me: “Here, let’s start with ‘shake’.

Stupid chicken: “What’s wrong with your paw?”

Me: “Nothing, I’m just showing you how we would shake hands.”

Stupid chicken: “Why should we shake? I’ve known you my whole life.”

Me: “I know that. It’s just a trick.”

Stupid chicken: “Dumb. What else have you got?”

My patience was wearing thinner by the moment.

Me: “Ok, let’s try this. Sit.”

It was a hollow victory. Just as I was beginning to feel some progress was being made, I realized the stupid chicken was already sitting. In fact, he had been sitting there for at least the last few hours. Similar short lived satisfaction was derived from the ‘stay’ command.

I was getting more and more frustrated. The stupid chicken had no interest in anything. In fact, he had no interest in me! Do you know what it’s like to be dissed by a chicken? It was so humiliating. Thank God the beagle didn't see it.

This went on for awhile longer. I tried roll over, beg, bow, and catch a ball. I not only got no cooperation, but he was actually scoffing at my efforts. Insult to injury and beyond. I was pretty angry before I got to my last attempt.

Me: “Play dead.”

Stupid chicken: “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. Go play dead yourself. If you’ll excuse me, it’s nap time.”

Play dead, as in dead, no longer alive. The word burned deep into my brain. I was overtaken by an uncomfortable feeling that I had never experienced before. I had wanted to get rid of that chicken every morning for the last two years. I had just confirmed the darn thing is useless. And now he insults me. The word took me to a very dark place. All these problems would disappear if the stupid chicken would only be…I can’t even say the word…d-e-a-d.

I was scaring myself. Terrible thoughts were building in my mind. The stupid chicken was sitting there right in front of me, asleep. The Mom and Dad weren’t around. No one was around. It would be so easy. No one would ever know. I couldn’t get the word out of my mind…d-e-a-d. If only the stupid chicken were…d-e-a-d!

I took a couple steps toward the stupid chicken, and then an image flashed before my eyes- my little girl holding the stupid chicken when it was a cute little chick. I realized it would be an act of monumental betrayal. I had to get out of there. I ran. I ran straight to the creek and stuck my head under the cold water hoping the shock would drive the evil thoughts out of my head.

I looked for frogs, turtles, anything to keep my mind off the terrible temptations that had found a place in my brain. I stayed there until I saw the Mom’s car come up the driveway, and I took a roundabout way to avoid seeing the stupid chicken on my way to the house. 

Once inside, I went right to my padded rug in the TV room and tried to put it all out of my mind. I was battling the monster within when the Dad came home.

Dad: “Honey, I’m home! I stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken and got two of the extra crispy chicken dinners!”.

Oh, my God. Are you freaking kidding me? Chicken dinners? My head raised to the alluring aroma of fried chicken. I covered my nose with my paws and begged it to stop, but the sweet, irresistible smell of fried chicken just kept on coming and enflamed the horrible urges.

The Mom and Dad sat at the dining room table eating their chicken dinners. I was hoping and praying that the Dad wouldn’t offer me a piece of his meal as he sometimes did. Please, please, do not let me taste chicken while the demons are stirring.

Dad: “ Come here, Shadow, I’ve got a little piece of chicken for you!”

Oh, no. I should go hide somewhere. They would think that odd, but… I’ve never had chicken before. It smelled so good. I wonder what it tastes like. Surely one little piece wouldn’t hurt.

Dad: “Here you go Shadow, a nice piece of chicken for you.”

Oh, no. It was the best thing I had ever tasted. At that moment I wished I could survive on chicken dinners for the rest of my life. What would I do tomorrow? I was a shark and there was a drop of blood in the water out there. It was Jekyll struggling to keep Hyde from taking control. I felt like one of those guys who knows he will turn into a werewolf when the full moon rises so he wants to be locked in a room all night. I tried everything I could think of, but the Mom and Dad never understood the message I was desperately trying to convey. I looked out the window and shook my head vigorously. I pressed my body hard up against the door. I tore the Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket into little pieces. Nothing, nothing, nothing. The Dad practically dragged me out of the house the next morning, and the Mom and Dad both went to work. I was alone with my demons…and the stupid chicken.

I will never know what would have happened that morning if the beagle from next door had not stopped by for a visit, but I like to think my better angels would have prevailed. He was older, wiser, and a dog to be trusted. I told him everything. The second dose of fate was he had recently caught an episode of “The Dog Whisperer” in which a similar problem had been presented and solved. It involved a dog and a cat living in the same house who fought all the time. The “Whisperer” put them through sort of couples therapy sessions, and the beagle thought he remembered enough of the show to help me.

Wise old beagle: “I say we give it a try.”

Me: “You’re the teacher.”

The wise old beagle had the stupid chicken’s full attention. It was probably the reference to him coming within a whisker of being ripped to shreds and eaten.

Stupid chicken: “What?! Are you freaking kidding me? You #%*#@$! You were going to eat me?! What the hell is wrong with you, you sick #%*#@$!”

Me: “Oh, yeah? Who wakes up the entire neighborhood every morning before the sun comes up, you inconsiderate #@*&%!? And then you sit around all day like the worthless blob you are!”

Wise old beagle: “Fellas! Stop! This will get us nowhere. Both of you calm down. Ok, stupid chicken, how did it make you feel when you heard that he was thinking of tearing you to shreds and then eating you?”

Stupid chicken: “Excuse me, but it might help if you didn’t call me ‘stupid chicken’. It’s a bit demeaning.”

Me: “Yeah, why don’t you just call him stupid?”

Wise old beagle: “Shadow! Enough of that!”

Me: “Sorry.”

Wise old beagle: “Ok, now....stupid, I mean Mr. Chicken, knowing that Shadow was thinking about tearing you shreds and then eating you, how did that make you feel?”

Stupid chicken: “Well, scared of course. And I guess I felt bad. Everyone wants to be liked. Knowing he wanted to tear me apart and eat me really hurt my feelings.”

Wise old beagle: “Shadow, how do you feel about what Mr. Chicken just said?”

Me: “I don’t know. I guess I feel bad about it. That really wasn’t like me. I just got so frustrated with that stu…, I mean, with Mr. Chicken.”

Wise old beagle: “And what were you frustrated about, Shadow?”

Me: “Well, for starters, the morning crowing. I like to stay up late sometimes, like if we’re watching a movie or something, and I just need my sleep.”

Wise old beagle: “I see. And have you ever shared those feelings with Mr. Chicken?”

Me: “No, I guess I probably should have.”

Wise old beagle: “And Mr. Chicken, can you understand why that could be bothersome for someone like Shadow?”

Stupid chicken: “I guess.”

Wise old beagle: “What else troubles you, Shadow?”

Me: “Well, it drives me nuts to see him just sitting around all day. I get pretty bored, and sometimes I just wish he’d do stuff with me.”

Wise old beagle: “Well now, Shadow says he would like to do things with you, Mr. Chicken. How does that make you feel?”

Stupid chicken: “I guess a little better. It’s nice to know that someone wants me for something besides supper.”

Wise old beagle: “And Mr. Chicken, could you tell Shadow what he might be doing that bothers you?”

Stupid chicken: “You mean besides wanting to rip me to shreds and eat me?”

Wise old beagle: “Yes, besides that.”

Stupid chicken: “That’s kind of a big one, you know.”

Wise old beagle: “I understand. But is there anything else?”

Stupid chicken: “Well, his barking. He barks at squirrels, birds, even the mailman. It’s the same mailman everyday, and he barks at him. I’m trying to sleep, and it’s bark, bark, bark, all day long.”

Wise old beagle: “Well now, Shadow, did you ever think you could be bothering Mr. Chicken with your barking?”

Me: “Not really. Sorry, Mr. Chicken.”

Stupid chicken: “It’s ok. I’m sorry too.”

Wise old beagle: “Well, I think I can see the beginnings of a compromise here. How about this? Mr. Chicken, let’s say you don’t start crowing until an hour after sunrise, and Shadow, you only bark at people you don’t know, and at squirrels only in the afternoon?”

Stupid chicken: “That’s ok by me.”

Me: “I can live with that.” 

Wise old beagle: “And, what do you think if the two of you did something together for half the day, like chasing a ball or doing tricks, and the other half of the day you just kicked backed and relaxed together?”

Me: “I’m down with that. What do you say, Mr. Chicken?”

Stupid Chicken: “Sounds alright to me.”

We shook on it and gave each other a nice bro hug. We both thanked the wise old beagle who said his bill would be in the mail. ( I hope he was kidding.)

So, it’s all good now with me and the stupid, oops, Mr. Chicken, but I still sometimes feel the sting of guilt for having once harbored those dark feelings. To keep the monster at bay, I have a counseling session with the wise old beagle once a week to make sure I stay strong, sort of like AA.

I eliminated the danger of the Dad feeding me chicken and awakening the sleeping demons. The wise old beagle gave me the tip. After the Dad gave me a piece of chicken one night, I went into their bedroom and threw up all over their bed. This time they got the message.

 I hate to say this, but I kind of like hanging out with Mr. Chicken. He still can’t do much, but he’s coming around. And it is so much fun to check out the people in their cars as they slow down in front of our house to get a better look at me and Mr. Chicken rolling a ball down a hill and then chasing after it. I even heard some guy posted a video of it that went viral.

I didn’t think I could feel any worse for the horrible thoughts that were once floating around in my mind, but then today for my birthday, Mr. Chicken handed me a piece of tree bark. I flipped it over and read the inscription he had scratched into it with his little talon- “Shadow and Mr. Chicken- BFFs”. I tear up just thinking about it.

April 24, 2022 13:41

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Michał Przywara
20:48 May 02, 2022

Heheh, this was a funny story! I think the dialogue really shined, particularly when the dog first approached the chicken. There were a couple lines that made me laugh out loud, like: "Ok, stupid chicken, how did it make you feel when you heard that he was thinking of tearing you to shreds and then eating you?" Demeaning indeed :)


Murray Burns
23:19 May 05, 2022

Thanks. I appreciate the comments. I had actually had 2 dogs, a (stupid) cat, and a rooster that would sit in a sunny spot together. I could tell my dogs were humiliated.


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Zelda C. Thorne
09:32 Apr 28, 2022

Hi Murray, this was very funny and entertaining. I'm grinning as I type. Stupid chicken, the beagle, all of it. The banter, the therapy session, him deliberately throwing up on the bed. I really thought he was going to eat the chicken, so that underlying tension was there the whole time and made it funnier, I think. Nice one!


Murray Burns
04:00 Apr 29, 2022

The inspiration for the story- I'd come home from work some nights and see my 2 dogs, a stupid chicken and a (stupid) cat sitting together in a sunny spot between the house and the garage. I could just tell my dogs were annoyed and humiliated...I "sensed" it...like Bode and the Dodo.


Zelda C. Thorne
08:46 Apr 29, 2022

I would have thought a cat would attack a chicken, but I don't have chickens or cats. Clearly, it's not an issue! Lol


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16:05 May 03, 2022

LOL! So much fun reading your story, Murray. A dog and a chicken. Who would have thought? ;D The dialogues were hysterical - my favorite part. And loved the ending as well. Couldn't have ended it better than that. A great, satisfying read.


Murray Burns
23:22 May 05, 2022

Thanks. I appreciate the comments. I had 2 dogs, a cat, and a rooster that "hung out" together. I still don't get it. Thanks.


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