struggle to control my emotions over Spooner's aging and eventual
death leads me to recommend that dog owners never allow themselves
to be seduced by affection for a dog. Next time, I will always refer
to the dog as "the dog" to keep our relationship from becoming too
personal. When it comes to having a dog at all, I will remember
that I have taken this dog in a noble effort to save someone else
from the heartbreak that could have come from loving it.
I will not mistreat the dog but will
treat it coarsely--avoid training it so I am not inclined to
allow it to please me, feed and water it and keep it reasonably
comfortable but confined. If possible, I will cultivate unpredictable
and even violent behavior in the dog so that I will have an easier
time despising it. Sometimes, perhaps, the dog should be allowed
into the house where it can damage furniture and rugs and show itself
to be an ungrateful cur. I will avoid speaking to the dog in any
other tone than one of irritation, since peevishness leads to anger
and anger can lead to an abiding sense of disgust for the animal.
By no means should I look too long into the eyes of the dog. Dogs
know the power of eye contact and can manipulate human emotions
in that way. Better to steal a glance now and then to reassure myself
that the creature is watching my every move and will do me harm
if I allow it, which is welcome on occasions when I feel myself
caring for the dog. Basic veterinary care should be extended to
the dog in order to avoid feeling guilt for its physical maladies.
Guilt will only give rise to other emotions and the only emotion
I can afford is contempt.
Should a female puppy play upon my
heart strings I will keep it unspayed and allow it to consort with
whatever randy male comes around, since scattering a litter of mongrels
will only make me loathe it more. After more than a decade of embedded
disdain, I will be ready for it to die. I will not wish for it to
die, because its death will leave a void, one that I have filled
by hating it. Regardless of how I prepare then, that void will draw
me into grief. But, instead of feeling the tenderness and gratitude
I am bound to feel when Spooner passes, I will cry out in anger
and resentment at a God who treats me like a dog.