NO DOG’S LAND

“How come you’re moving around so much, Boss?”

“Because you’re pushing against my shoulder, Harry. My left shoulder, the one that aches. Can’t you just curl up peacefully without pushing so hard?”

“If I don’t push against you I don’t feel you, Boss.”

“You’re one tough little dog, Harry.”

“How come you can’t sleep? Usually you sleep pretty good. I can push against you all I want and you don’t stir.”

“I’m thinking a lot.”

“What’s that?”

“Voices talk in my head saying all kinds of things, and I connect them with a story.”

“I see.”

“You do, Harry?”

“If I had voices talking in my head I wouldn’t be able to sleep, either, Boss. They must be talking loud!”

“They are tonight, Harry. When they talk much softer it’s no problem, I’m used to having these conversations my entire life and usually they can go on without me. Tonight they’re loud.”

“What are they saying, Boss?”

“They’re saying I don’t have enough money.”

“What’s that, Boss?”

“Money is how I pay for your house and food, Harry.”

“You don’t hunt?”

“I don’t usually worry about it too much, but it’s hit me tonight. In fact, I think I’m having an anxiety attack about it.”

“Your anxiety attack is keeping me up, Boss.”

“How can it be keeping you up when you’re snoring against my ear, Harry?”

“Is an anxiety attack different from thinking?”

“It’s thinking speeded up, Harry.”

“I love speeding up when Awesome chases me!”

“This feels different, Harry. The thoughts come one after another faster and faster and get more intense till you feel that you can’t control anything.”

“Can’t you just stop, Boss?”

“Most of the time I can, but not this time. That’s when things get out of hand.”

“I know just what you mean, Boss. Aussie chases me hard and we run and run in circle, in and out of the house, but we stop when things get out of hand.”

“How do you do that, Harry? I’d like to stop my thoughts when things get out of hand, too.”

“I know it’s time to stop when Aussie starts snarling. You know how she is, Boss, she gets carried away and starts growling. Instead of chasing me in and out of the house she waits in ambush by the back door—“

“There’s no way she can catch you when you run your fastest, Harry—“

“–and she jumps out when I run past her and bangs me up good, and I’m such a delicate creature—“

“Your body’s as tough as a Pit Bull’s, Harry—“

“And when she does it again and starts snarling, I finally stop, and so does she. There’s a place we don’t go to.”

“What place is that, Harry?”

“No Dog’s Land. Dogs never go into No Dog’s Land, they leave it empty. We’re afraid of what can happen there, so we don’t go there. You should do the same, Boss.”

“What will happen to you if you go to No Dog’s Land, Harry?”

“Nobody knows. Nobody ever came back from No Dog’s Land, so we don’t know.”

“What happens if you end up there anyway, Harry?”

“If Awesome and I know how to stop, why don’t you, Boss?”

“Good question.”

“That’s why I push against you, Boss. As long as I feel you and you feel me, you’re not in No Dog’s Land.”

“But you’re hurting my shoulder, Harry!”

“That’s better than ending up in No Dog’s Land.”

“There’s got to be another way, Harry.”

“Just remember, if you stay away from No Dog’s Land, you’ll sleep better.  So will I.”