“Here we are, Aussie, at Leeann’s. Isn’t it great to come here after she took an entire week off?”

“What kind of vacation is taking a week off from me? I almost died from grief. Look at how passionately I’m wagging my tail. Let me out!”

“First, it’s Bruno’s turn, they got here before us. Just look at him, Auss. His human opened the door and Bruno rushed all the way to Leeann in the enclosure out back in ten seconds flat! just look at that dog run!”

“Oh, Phooey Bruno. I can outrun him anytime. Okay, my turn, my turn!”

“I’m opening the door, Aussie. Ready? Go!”

Two beats.

“Aussie, what happened? You took two steps and came to a screeching stop under the beebalm.”

“Can’t you see I’m busy sniffing? My heartthrob, Cecilia, is here. Her pee always smells of chicken liver, lucky poodle.”

“I didn’t know you like females, Auss.”

“Only in summer.”

“Okay, but Leeann is waiting for you, Aussie, so hurry up.” Three beats. “Now what? Where are you running off to?”

“Wild turkeys! Give me a moment to check out if there’s a nest nearby.”

“Come back here!”

“You’re no fun.”

“At least I’m focused, Auss. When there’s something I got to do, I do it, I don’t mess around like you.”

“Messing around is the fun part of doing anything. Running straight to Leeann is like doing an Alpo commercial—boring! And look here.”

“Now what? They’re still waiting for you while—”

“If you paused for distractions, you’d know right away that a coyote came by here, probably trying to get one of Leeann’s chickens.”

“Did it get anything?”

“No smell of blood anywhere. Too bad.”

“Not everybody is a serial killer like you, Aussie. You know what else you’re not? You’re not a Zen dog.”

“Of course, I’m a Zen dog!”

“You’re too distracted, Aussie. A Zen dog is like Bruno, focused on where he’s got to go, brimming with concentration.”

“I’m brimming with distraction. You know why? Because life is distractions! Life is having a destination or a plan—”

“Like running over to Leeann!”

“—and then leaving it for the first smell that comes your way. Just have a sniff of Cecilia’s pee—have you ever smelled anything so exquisite in your life?”


“Aussie, what did you pounce on?”

“A rabbit. This is rabbit-killing season, I wait for it all year round. This one I didn’t get.”

“Aussie, how do you ever get anything done giving in to all these distractions?”

“You know what I think? Distractions got a bad rap among you Zenoids. I don’t care how focused you are, if you can’t let yourself get distracted it’s not much of a life!”

“But how do you get anything done, Aussie?”

“I don’t, that’s the beauty of it. It’s summer, the grass calls, the trees, the rabbits, the groundhog I killed yesterday, the fox’s den right outside the backyard fence—and the pond! What’s better than cooling off in a pond?”

“Not much of a purpose-driven life, Auss.”

“Purpose-driven life, phooey. You’re not that important. It’s time to get distracted, Boss!”

“What about when I feed you, Aussie? A tree falls in the back, there’s a bear at the hummingbird feeder, and Henry’s pee smells of roast beef. Can I get distracted then?”

“Okay, I’m getting to Leeann. Just don’t rush me!”

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