Tag Archives: dog

Forward, forward, forward

Some things never change. Those things don’t exist in New York.

I walk down Columbus Avenue with the dog pulling against the leash, racing past drunks and couples and the old man who lives downstairs. We blow through the intersection, the dog frantic now, practically sprinting forward and forward and forward through the city. We get to the pet store, and she tries to go in. It’s one in the morning, I tell her. It’s not open. She wags her tail, an act of naïveté or defiance.

(Three years ago I ran down Avenue A drunk and bewildered and reaching out for everything and anything and waiting for someone to watch me fall. By the time I hit 8th Street, he was there, of course. I was running to him in some sped-up tragicomedic scene playing out in the movie of my head.)

The wind picks up and the dog’s ears blow back slightly. She whines and paws at the pet store. I gently tug at her, and then use a bit more force to try and yank her away.

The kids at the bar smile. They are outside, waving around cigarettes and hunting down cabs. One of them approaches the dog, already on his knees. She ignores him, desperate to go inside the pet store. The guy could be my age, but from the crowd at the bar, I assume he’s younger. His jeans are tight and torn. He pets the dog’s head and scrambles away, his cigarette stuck against his bottom lip, his tail between his legs. The dog looks away.

We begin the slow walk home, across the avenue, to our apartment. She will eventually lie down on the corner of my bed, her head pressed up against my ankles, the same happy-sad expression on her soft, sleeping face.

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One day.

One day I will move to Brooklyn with a bicycle, a dog, and a typewriter.

Dog.

Dog.

BY DEB OLIN UNFERTH

He made it to the United States at last and that was the end of it, except years later he noticed a dog on the street. Come here, dog, he said, and it wouldn’t come. He put out a little food for it, every day he put out a little food, and a little more, and the dog ate it bit by bit. Finally he got the dog into the car. He brought it home to the wife.

Already we got two damn dogs, the wife said. What we need this for?

Need? he said. Who needs? Want.

Already we got, she said. What we want this for?

So he took the dog to the pound and he said, Dog, I’ll come back for you tomorrow.

Who knows why he brought it there. Maybe so he could negotiate with the wife. Or maybe he meant to leave it and then he changed his mind. Whatever the reason, he went to sleep and woke up and went back to the pound.

I’ve come to get my dog, he said.

That’s our dog now, they said.

What, your dog. My dog.

You brought him here, they said, and they went into a long explanation about how now he would have to pay money and fill out forms and watch a video and show proof of residence and wait four days and all this, and he listened and listened and looked at the forms and finally he said, Okay, you got me. I won’t take him back. But can I just see him to say good-bye?

Yes, they said. They took him to the back, where the dogs were.

Hello, dog, he said. Sorry, old dog. He petted it. He petted it again. Good-bye, dog. Then he went to leave. I’ll just go out this back door, he said sadly, and he left.

Then he came back. He sneaked in the back door and took the dog. Stole it. He brought it to a friend’s house and put it in the garage. Then he went back to the pound. I’ve changed my mind, he said. I really do want my dog back. Can you go get him? I’ll pay and sign the papers and watch the video.

Okay, they said, and they went to the back to get him. But of course they couldn’t find the dog and they got quite upset—how could they have lost a dog?

Then they must have thought he was really crazy, because he said, I stole that dog! You robbers. I’ll tell you what I did. I stole that dog right back.

Now this is a man who had been interrogated and tortured. Each of his fingers had been broken one by one. For years he sat in solitary in the dark and for more years he cracked rocks with crooked fingers in prison mines.

They called the police on him. The police went to his house but he wouldn’t let them in. He shouted out the window, You think you take the dog! I take the dog! They got a warrant and the wife let them in, but the dog wasn’t there. The police tried to ask him where the dog was but all he would do is laugh. I’ve got that dog, he said. You thieves. You try to steal the dog!

Eventually the police left.

That dog is dead now.

Pop Quiz

There are different tests of character: dog person or cat person, Elvis person or Beatles person. May I suggest my new favorite: Chipotle person or Burritoville person? Discuss.