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Now I wanna be your dog

Mar. 21st, 2008 | 08:09 pm

So messed up I want you here
In my room I want you here
Now were gonna be face-to-face
And Ill lay right down in my favorite place

And now I wanna be your dog
Now I wanna be your dog
Now I wanna be your dog
Well cmon

Now Im ready to close my eyes
And now Im ready to close my mind
And now Im ready to feel your hand
And lose my heart on the burning sands

And now I wanna be your dog
And now I wenna be your dog
Now I wanna be your dog
Well cmon

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With any luck, I would be with Willy soon.

Mar. 17th, 2008 | 07:04 pm

I set out to prove that I was a champion among dogs. I waited for a break in the traffic. Then I began to run. I felt stronger and happier than I had felt in months. I ran toward the noise, toward the light, toward the glare and the roar that were rushing in on me from all directions. 

With any luck, I would be with Willy soon.

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The moment you lost, you won.

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 11:44 am

It was called dodge-the-car, and it was a time-honored sport. It allowed every old-timer to recapture the glories of his youth. It was fun, it was invigorating. It was a challenge to every dog's athletic skills. Just run across the road and see if you could avoid being hit. The more times you were able to do it, the greater the champion you were. Sooner or later, of course, the odds were bound to catch up with you, and few dogs had ever played dodge-the-car without losing on their last turn. But that was the beauty of this particular game. The moment you lost, you won.

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I understood that salvation was at hand.

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 11:42 am

I didn't have to wait for the time to come; the time was upon me now. All I had to do was step into the road, and I would be in Timbuktu. I would be in the land of words and transparent toasters, in the country of bicycle wheels and burning deserts where dogs talked as equals with men. 

Willy would disapprove at first, but that was only because I would think that I had gotten there by taking my own life. But I wasn't proposing anything as vulgar as suicide. I was merely going to play a game, the kind of game that any sick and crazy old dog would play. And that's what I was now, wasn't it? A sick and crazy old dog.

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The road was somewhere, and I had to find it.

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 11:37 am

Once I began to feel the cold, I became aware of an equally intense heat. Something was burning inside me. The cold was outside, and the heat was inside; my body was covered with snow, and inside my body the fever was back. I took a stab at trying to stand up to shake the snow off my fur. Maybe later, I told myself. I remembered what Willy had told me about going back to Dog Haven. That was good advice, and if my body had been up to the task, I would have followed it. But it wasn't. For want of anything else to do, I ate some snow and tried to remember the dream. 

I began to hear the sounds of cars and trucks and I could detect all manner of vehicles rushing down the wet highway, an unbroken parade of big cars and small cars, trucks and vans, long-distance buses.
The road was immense, and the road was dazzling: a six-lane superhighway with cars and trucks speeding past in both directions.

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The devil Willy had been a trick.

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 11:18 am

It was the only way to test the permanence of my affections. Even though I had been scared half to death, I hadn't hesitated to forgive Willy. In this way, without even knowing that I was being judged, I had passed the test. The reward was another dream.

This time we were sitting on the beach in California, a place we had visited on our first trip together, before I was fully grown. The sun was shining brightly, a small breeze was stirring, and I was lying with my head on Willy's lap, savoring the feel of my master's fingertips as they moved back and forth across my skull. It seemed to begin in silence, silence in the sense of no words. Suddenly I was aware of my ability to speak, to form words as clearly and smoothly as any two-leg yapping in his mother tongue.  

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The only thing that mattered was to get where I was going.

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 10:58 am

I was counting on my nose to point me in the right direction. Never mind that the Family was gone and wouldn't lip returning for another two weeks. Never mind that my food was locked up in the garage and I had no way of getting at it. I was only a dog, and I wasn't capable of thinking that far ahead. For now, the only thing that mattered was to get where I was going. Once I did, the rest would take care of itself. Or so I thought. But the sad truth was that I thought wrong. My body wasn't up to the demands I was making on it. I went as far as my legs could carry me, and then, between one step and the next, I sank to the ground and fell asleep.

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"I wish to hell people wouldn't dump their sick dogs on us. All we need is for this one to croak."

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 10:51 am

I slept through the morning and deep into the afternoon, and when I woke up I sensed that the worst of it was behind me. It wasn't that I was in top form, but at least I was half alive now, and with my temperature down by a couple of degrees, I could move my muscles without feeling that my body was made of bricks.
I was able to work out a plan. And without a plan, I never would have been able to do what I did. It made no difference to me whether I was sick or well, whether I was going to live or going to die. I would only have a few seconds to pull it off, and the whole thing had to be shining in my head before it happened - so I would know exactly what to do and exactly when to do it.
I jumped out of the car. I hit the ground running, and before the woman could grab hold of my tail or step on my leash, I was gone. I heard the woman calling out for me to come back; I was far into the woods by then, and I knew they would never find me.

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In spite of what had happened in the dream last night, I still wanted to live.

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 10:44 am

My stomach had been turned into a battleground of warring microbes. Every time I moved, stirred even an inch or two from where I was lying, another attack would begin. It felt as if depth charges were being detonated inside my bowels, as if poison gases were eating away at my inner organs. A great racket was swirling around me by then, but I was too ill to take notice. The best I could do was lie there in my torpor, contemplating the bollix my body had made of things. I knew that I was sick, but exactly how sick, and exactly where this sickness was taking me, I had no idea. A dog could die from a thing like this, I told himself, but a dog could also recover and be good as new in a couple of days. Given the choice, I would have preferred not to die. 

Willy's unprecedented cruelty had stunned me, had made me feel miserable and unspeakably alone, but that didn't mean that I wasn't ready to forgive my master for what he had done. You didn't turn your back on a person for letting you down just once-not after a lifetime of friendship, you didn't, and especially not if there were extenuating circumstances. Willy was dead, and who knew if dead people didn't grow bitter and nasty after they had been dead for awhile? Then again, maybe it hadn't been Willy at all. The man in the dream could have been an impostor, a demon dressed in Willy's form who had been sent from Timbuktu to trick me and turn me against my master. Even if it had been Willy, I was honest enough to admit that his remarks contained a germ of truth. I had spent too much time feeling sorry for myself lately, had frittered away too many precious hours pouting over infinitesimal slights and injustices, and that kind of behavior was unseemly in a dog of my stature. There was much to be thankful for, and much life still to be lived.

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"You've turned yourself into a joke, a tired and disgusting joke."

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 10:34 am

I was dreaming about Willy again, but this dream was nothing like the ones that had come before it. I was given a full taste of my master's wrath. Perhaps it was the fever burning inside me, or perhaps something had happened to Willy in Timbuktu. The man who came to me that night was not the Willy I had known in life and death for the past seven and three quarters years. This was a vengeful and sarcastic Willy, a devil Willy, a Willy bereft of all compassion and kindness. I was so terrified of this person that I lost control of my bladder and peed on myself for the first time since I was a pup.

The false Willy was identical in appearance to the true Willy, he was wearing the same tattered Santa Claus gear that I had seen him in for the past seven Christmases. The dream was set in the present, in the very cage where I was spending the night. 

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