Well ... if you've read Anton Chekhov's "The Lady With the Pet Dog," you stand half a chance of understanding this. English assignment while I was at NMSU. I fell short of the page requirement, but the professor liked it enough to give me an A anyway. I don't like it much.

Let's get one thing out of the way from the very first. I love my owner dearly, with every beat of my small, canine heart, but the cynic in me just had to speak up about this. I mean, it's really not fair!

She takes me out of town with her when she goes because she thinks I'm going to be lonely or some rotted nonsense like that. Lonely! Damn, lady, the man feeds me and lets me out when I need to be let out, and occasionally he pats me on the head and tells me what a nice puppy I am. (I'm not, but I let them think so.) That's all I really need, isn't it? No, lady, you took me along because YOU were lonely.

I'm not stupid.

And we go out walking every day, every day. Not like I mind or anything. My four legs get a little bored wandering around a rented room all day, and believe me, the temptation to make a naughty, as she so eloquently puts it, is enough to make me squeal. So we go out walking. Over the bridge, out by the water, where all the birds are -- and how I love the birds. They set my teeth to itching, I'll tell you that right now.

Dog food is nice and all, but what can beat a raw pigeon on a quiet autumn morning? Not much, and you better believe it.

Right, right, the walking. I don't mind the walking, but she's so melodramatic while she's at it. I mean, geez, lady! The people can tell you're unhappy just by looking at your pretty face. You don't have to sigh and moan and stare hopelessly out at the water. (Makes me want to take a leak on her nice shoes, honest it does.)

Every step, every movement screams out, "I'm so lonesome. Someone notice me. Someone comfort me. Someone --" Never mind, I don't guess I'll go there. They've even got a name for her in some circles now -- 'the lady with the pet dog'. Hey, that's me! Guess they stuck me in the description 'cause there's nothing else interesting about her.

But they don't do much about it. They watch her, and she pretends not to watch them. At least I'm honest when I want someone's attention. I'll run up and scrabble at their legs and lick their hands or whatever it takes -- especially if they have food. I'll be your best friend forever if you feed me.

Well, so one day we're out on the walk, just like always, and some guy actually notices her. Wow, lady, it actually worked. Re-markable. So he walks over and smiles and asks about her dog. (Oh yeah, that's me. A great conversation opener.)

I know when I'm being used.

She smiles, but she's real careful not to let her "I'm miserable" play-acting bit slip. She waves a hand toward me and tells him my name and what a wonderful puppy I am, and gee, I think he likes you. Like him, hell! I wanted to bite his hand off. (I may not be a nice puppy, but I can act the part.)

He knew it, too, the fart. But he pats my head in that smug, "You'd better not touch me" sort of way and goes about the business of seducing my owner. (Not that she needs much seducing.)

Hey, I said she was lonely. I didn't say she was lonely for ME.

So they walk and talk and walk and talk for a while, and then they go get some food -- that part I actually liked, even though it took a good fifteen minutes of hard begging to get any of it out of them. Geez, have a heart, I don't get treats very often!

With my belly comfortably full of people-food, as she puts it, eloquently as ever, I was pretty much ready for anything else they could throw at me. They, however, had apparently decided that this was enough for one day, and she takes me back to the room where we're staying.

I guess you don't do the nasty in front of the dog.

Once we're there, it's like she's on cloud nine, humming and sashaying and forgetting to take my leash off until I get it tangled around her ankles and she nearly falls on her ass. (Hey, it gets the point across.) And she takes herself a nice long shower, happy as I've ever seen her, and forgets to feed me once she's out. It took me five minutes before she figured out what I was yapping about and put some food down.


The next day, I'm sitting at the door when she finally wakes up, leash in my jaws because I really gotta go, and she gets dressed and leaves without even looking at me. No food, no walk, no nothing! I piss on the bed and let it go at that.

She scolds me something rotten when she gets home, but she doesn't forget my food anymore, and she takes me for a turn around the park every morning before she goes off with Prince Charming. That's all I wanted.

After a couple weeks of this, though, it gets to be a real drag. Talk about boring! How would you like to be locked up in a room all day with nothing to do but tear up the curtains? Uncool -- extremely uncool. So I'm thinking about it and thinking about it and wondering if there's not an answer to this that'll make me and her and the hotel owners happy, and it strikes me right between the eyes. I don't think she'll miss me anyway.

The next morning, while we're out on our potty run, I wait 'til she's involved with staring at the water for a while, then I slip my collar and run off, fast as these four feet can carry me. I'm halfway across the park before she even notices I'm gone and starts calling for me. "Come back, come back! I've got a treat!" The hell you do, lady.

She doesn't spend a lot of time looking for me, either. Ten minutes, tops. It's okay, I guess. I served her purpose pretty darn well, already. So I start looking around and thinking about it, and hey, maybe there's a hot chick out there for me today. I'm not picky.

She'll probably get in trouble a little bit when she gets home, but I think losing the dog is less trouble than what she'd get into for her extracurricular activities. Hey, I'm doing a good deed. I'm a regular saint in a dog suit.

Yeah, right.

So I set my nose to the wind and go looking for a friend.

I'll bet I have more fun than she does.