A DOG’S LIFE, A DIFFERENT VIEW

By John W. Burgeson

I am a dog. I am a proud member of the canine tribe; beloved by my three family members, Master, Mistress and Son. I am a mixed breed, Golden Tan in color (whatever that means) and weigh about 20 pounds. I have sometimes observed myself in a quiet pond and, all in all, I am pleased with how I look. I live in a beautiful land, with streams and lakes, hills and plains, in which I romp with my family. It has always been this way. Always. But something is about to change; I am uneasy.

Master has come to me and said he is going away! I have observed other people (and dogs) disappearing from time to time, but still I am surprised. The family is very happy and so I am happy too. But I will miss him; he says he will see me later. I hope he is right.

Sometime later, Mistress tells me the same story. When she leaves, there is just me and Son in the family. Son is part of another family too; we hang out a lot. I wonder if I will ever see Master and Mistress again. There seems to be something temporary about this place.

It is a quiet day in the field when an angel (they dance around us from time to time) approaches me – it is my time. The angel assures me I will be rejoining Master and Mistress; I am overjoyed, of course. I bark goodbye to Son.

Chapter 1 Birth

I am barely conscious; I can feel the hands of my beloved owners stroking me. I am very weak and can hardly open my eyes; when I do everything is a blur. I am lying on a table; there is a lady in a white coat standing near. “Fifteen,” she says, and sighs. “Soon.” My owners are crying, softly. I feel a mild prick in my side, nothing much. I sleep.

I awake – I am being carried by Master to a shabby car where I lie on the back seat. I am still very weak; I sleep.

Now Master is carrying me into a house – how strong he is! He lays me gently on a bed; again, I sleep. I think I have come home. But I don’t understand what has happened. My memories of the land I used to live in are fading away.

Chapter 2. Sooner.

It is now several days earlier. At first I was lethargic – now I am beginning to feel strong again. I investigate the house and become acquainted with Master, Mistress and Son. I have a faint memory of seeing them later. Or maybe sooner? The house is a large one, with a enormous backyard where I play. Master, Mistress and Son speak to me often, but I usually cannot understand them. I know, though, that they love me.

Chapter 3. The Dog Park.

I am very wet; we go out to the car and I tail into the back seat; we drive to my favorite place, the DOG PARK. We exit the car, my mistress takes a wet ball and we walk (I run) to the lake. She places the ball on the shore – I pick it up, swim out to the middle of the lake and leave it there. When I return to Mistress the ball suddenly flies up and she catches it. This goes on for a while; she never misses. After six catches, I am dry. We exit the park; I back into the car and we tail home.

I notice that the car has lost some of its scratches and now looks pretty nice. The dent in the rear fender has disappeared.

Chapter 4. The Accident

Recently I have felt pain in my right leg; I am limping. As the days recede, my leg becomes very sore. Master takes me to the vet who puts a dirty rag on it. I remember her; she was present at my birth.

At home, the leg hurts more; the rag has become white and clean. We go to the vet again; this time she encases my leg in a cast.

The leg now hurts a lot. Again we go to the vet who removes the cast; my leg is bleeding. Master drives me home and takes me out to the road. I lay there next to a car with a broken headlight. I rise up and careen into the headlight and suddenly I am healed. I tail to the house with Master calling me. The car backs off swiftly down the street.

Chapter 5. Rosie the Cat

A cat, Rosie, has joined our little family, given to us by a neighbor.

My owners are sneezing a lot.

Rosie and I get along OK.

My owners quit sneezing. Rosie is growing smaller. One day my owners take her to a field and leave her there.

Chapter 6 The Squirrel

I wander into the woods with Mistress calling after me. I can no longer hear her. I don’t know where I am! Suddenly a squirrel appears and chases me a long way until I back in to my own yard. What an adventure!

Chapter 7. A Typical Day.

I arise, as always, promptly at sunset, ready for a new day. I deposit a cup of dog food which Mistress puts into a large sack. In a few days she will sell it to the store. The family takes some dishes from the dish dirtier and put them on the table. They all sit down and manufacture dinner. When it is complete, they return part of it to the cold box and more to the hot box, where it cools. They go to the den where they are just in time to see the end of the news. Then Master is off to his place of employment, an unmanufacturing factory. Mistress goes to the back yard where she tears up some plants and dries the ground. Son goes off to school to unlearn the day’s lessons.

Chapter 8. The Car

My owners’ car really looks nice now. But today they take it to an automobile lot and exchange it in for a very dilapidated model. The salesman gives my owners a lot of money for it. Master needs the cash to pay his employer every week.

Chapter 9. The Swing Set

Master builds a swing set from rubbish. It is not very sturdy looking. Son is not interested in it. But as time reverses, he youngs and begins to play with it a lot.

Son has become a child. The swing set, now in perfect condition, is torn down; put in boxes; taken to a store where the cashier gives Master money for it.

Chapter 10. Son

Son is getting very small. He still plays with me but it is not as before when we chased each other in the yard. He can’t do as much as before.

Son disappears! Mistress is very fat. There is excitement in the house, as baby furniture is dismantled and returned to the stores. Son’s room is now a home office.

Mistress is getting thin again.

Chapter 11. The Apartment

We have moved from the big house to a small apartment. There is room for me, but not as much as before. There is no backyard. It is OK, though for we are still a family.

Chapter 12. The Separation

I am shrinking. I am getting fat and cuddly. Sadness comes over me for I sense a separation coming. I get held a lot by Master and Mistress these days.

My owners are leaving messes in the house. Once in a while – then almost every day. Patiently, I clean them up.

We drive to a place where there are many small dogs. My owner gently places me in a cage with several other puppies about my size. They seem oddly familiar. I stand at the door of the cage as Master and Mistress back away. I bark a greeting.

There is a big dog in the cage. She licks me. It feels good. I love her. She, too, is familiar.

Chapter 13. Exiting

I’ve been here several days – I spend much of the time sleeping, curled up with the others, as we nurse big dog.

My eyes are closed. I cannot see – but it’s OK because big dog is still here.

I sleep a lot now. The day comes when I feel big dog embracing me as I enter a warm tunnel to join my siblings in a comfortable place.

My last thoughts are to recall memories of my forever family. They are pleasant thoughts, but now unfocussed.

Oblivion.

Chapter 14. Awakening

I awaken. I am back in the land I left! My family, Master, Mistress and Son, are here! “This is Heaven,” says Master. I can understand him! I can see colors; the hills are green with beautiful flowers! “I love you,” I say. I can speak! Oh joy! Master, Mistress and Son all embrace me. An eternity of bliss awaits.

The End


The above is a fictional short story. I also wrote a true story of a time when God worked with us outside of time.

The link is A true story


I also wrote a history of the automobile which is available in two forms, the first is over 1,000 pages and suitable for viewing only on a PC monitor. The second is a condensed version, 80 pages suitable for printing.

The link is The History of the automobile, 0001 to 2100


I wrote a piece on the adoption of Daniel Burgeson from Korea. It is short.

The link is at DANIEL


Finally, I wrote a short piece called MASKS, THE HUMAN CONDITION. It is centered on my daughter Anna.

The link is at MASKS


More of my writings, primarily book reviews for PERSPECTIVES, the quarterly journal of the American Scientific Association, are on page 2 of my webite.
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