A Miserable Day With Howard, My Dog.
by Sean Billings
(Ventura, CA, USA)
"Bark!", my dog, Howard, exclaimed to me through a thick layer of canine saliva and sleepiness that nearly deafened my right ear. I turned over to see a very large Belgian Malinois wagging its tail. Morning in the Pacific Northwest have always made me sleepier than anywhere else that I have lived, especially in the Summertime, like it currently is, now.
"Breakfast time, already?", I questioned Howard. I slowly, but surely, got out of bed and went through the usual morning procedures of going downstairs to feed Howard, climbing back upstairs, getting ready for the day, going downstairs, and eating breakfast; usually, I would be getting ready for work at this point, but today is my day off, and I decided that I would take Howard out to the pet shop.
Anyway, Howard will be turning 3, tomorrow, and that still comes as a shock to me. My wife, Alison, and I bought Howard when he was still a puppy, a few years back, and he has stuck around since then. Alison loved him, and would spend all day chasing him around, and calling him, "Loony". Since Alison passed away, I continue calling Howard that silly nickname because somebody has to do it. I can tell that Howard misses her; I miss her so much, too.
Let's skip forward to when I was loading the car. So, Howard has been a little goofy, today, like usual, but, today takes the cake, for sure. Little did I know that today would be the weirdest summer day that I have ever experienced. As I loaded him into the back seat, he started to sing. I am not kidding, and lets get that straight. My dog started howling, and bobbing his head, and I am very sure that he was singing a tune! Trust me, readers, I didn't believe it, either. I laughed, and asked him what he was doing- at which point he abruptly stopped, and tilted his head at me, dumbfounded that I would ask him such a ridiculous question. We started the car, and began the commute to the local pet shop. There are a couple of big, corporate pet shops in town, but I prefer to shop at the local ones. It has nothing to do with the politics involved with small business, I swear. The local petshop, called "Smotchy's", is just so awesome. I was thinking about the toys that I might buy Howard, like, I don't know, chew toys and stuff like that, when all of a sudden, the car in front of me was hit by some guy driving around like an idiot at the intersection. We were all at a small "backroad", and I didn't know when anyone would show up, and I don't even have a cell phone to call 911. I had noticed, a few minutes ago that the car in front of me, a little red thing from the 90s(I'm not good with cars), had a child playing in the back seat. I pulled over, and Howard was shaking with fear. I have never seen such a horrific thing, in all my life, and I know that anybody else who could have seen that would be shivering just like my dog and me. The scene was very quiet, and I didn't even hear a scream.