Eating the family pet
by Regis Boff
I have buried or put to sleep many dogs. My dad did too, maybe more. I am not sure where they go when they turn paws up. I reckon there is a place for minor souls. I hope it is a spot where stealing food and pooping are rewarded.
My father would buy dogs the same way he would buy anything, cheaply. Like Picasso, he would strip “dog” down to its essentials, nose, fur, and maybe a tail. Then he would search out a “deal.” He may have once or twice stolen one from our neighbors in his thrift. We were not sure. Pet animals had no intrinsic beauty in the fifties. They were closer to food than charm.
Our animals were treated like animals. They were smacked with whatever was handy. They were expected to not only obey all commands from birth but often were obliged ( if they knew what was good for them) to be foresighted. The phrase “good dog” might be used if the beast dragged a baby out of a burning house but this was not binding.
Our dogs growing up died with a kind of regularity that would make less trusting families sift through their dinner meat suspiciously. They roamed dangerously free back then and came back only for meals, just like us kids. One afternoon after school I found my father crying in his chair. He said the dog was dead. I asked where he was and he told me dogs know they are going to die sometimes, so they bury themselves.
My dad’s words were a kind of science to me. I still expect there to be some truth in this.