“What’s the matter, Aussie? You’ve been glum, chum. Is the hot weather bothering you?”


“Lack of rain? Just look at the grass!”

“You know I hate thunderstorms.”

“So, what is it, Auss?”

“How come I’m not getting an invite to testify before the January 6 committee?”

“For one thing, Aussie, you weren’t anywhere near Washington on January 6, what could you possibly have to say?”

“They’ve had Oath keepers, they’ve had Proud Boys, they’ve had Republicans. Why not dogs?”

“That’s the second thing, Aussie, you’re a dog. Why would they invite a dog to testify?”

“To gain credibility. People on all sides of the aisle trust dogs. We dogs are incapable of lying. They’re missing a great opportunity to boost their ratings.”

“Sorry, Aussie, you’re not a stakeholder here.”

“I hold steaks as well as anybody.”

“Aussie, you’re getting too disgruntled and pissed off. That’s no way to live. Which brings me to my main point.”

“Oh, oh.”

“When I was sick, everybody was terrific. People brought me food, flowers, good wishes, laughter. They sent cards and picked me up from the hospital. Even Henry was jubilant when I came home. And you? What did you do? Nothing.”

“What do you mean, nothing? I gave you better care than anybody.”

“Really? How?”

“I let you love me.”

“You let me love you, Aussie?”

“That’s the best care in the world, and it’s work work work all the time. Do you know how labor-intensive it is, to be loved?”

“Aussie, when I stroke you, that’s hard work for you?”

“I’m developing a goddamn bald spot from all that stroking!”

“And when I brush you, which you seem to thoroughly enjoy, especially in the summer when you’re shedding a lot of hair, that’s hard work for you?”

“Who wants a haircut every day?”

“Aussie, what’s hard about being loved?”

“For one thing, I’m too busy! I’m busy protecting private property from those varmint rabbits, growling half the night at the fox on the other side of the fence, and making sure Enrique doesn’t dig up all my marrow bones, the grave robber.”

“Too busy for love, eh, Aussie?”

“It’s hard to be loved. I have to shut my eyes, listen to silly love talk, feel fingers gently probing inside my fur, making contact with my skin. Ugggh!”

“Why is it ugghh?”

“Because nothing happens.”

“Nothing, Auss?”

“No drama, no fun, no excitement. Can’t throw Enrique into the river, can’t jump on your bed with my muddy paws, can’t do all the things I love to do. Just have to lie there, do nothing, and get love. It’s BORING! It’s much more fun to be mad at the world.”

“What will happen, Aussie, if you just stop doing all those things and take in all that love?”

“I might get addicted, that’s what! I may want it day after day without stop, and then what will become of me?”

“You’ll be loved, Aussie. You may even become a lover.”

“I’ll become a wuss, is what’ll happen. No way, Jose. I’m tough, I’m strong, leader of the Proud Pooches. Don’t have a soft bone in my body.”

“You’re all those things, Aussie—and you’re loved!”

“No, no, no! Admired—sure. Worshipped—even better. Loved—too much hard work.”

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