Please Dad, don’t eat the dog

by Regis Boff

My father would buy bargain basement dogs and cars. After stripping them down to their essentials, paws, wheels, engine, etc., he would long weigh our claims for a radio. Fur was considered an elective governed entirely by price and chance. Some of the dogs he brought home nourished our family’s suspicions he had finally not stopped short of stealing one from our neighbors in his thrift.
We treated our dogs like animals. We smacked them with whatever was handy. They were expected to obey all commands from birth. The phrase “good dog” might find a voice if the beast dragged a baby out of a burning house, but such recognition was not compulsory.
Our dogs died with such regularity that it was tempting to check our dinner meat.
Dogs roamed dangerously free back then and came home only for meals, just like us kids. One afternoon after school I found my dad crying at the kitchen table. He said our dog was dead. I asked where he was, and he told me that sometimes when dogs know they are going to die, they go off into the woods and bury themselves.
I remember skipping dinner.