In the children’s book are illustrations of dogs doing human things. On one page, tiny purple dogs climb up a snowcapped mountain. On another, large yellow dogs parachute down onto an empty field. Here, well-dressed dogs celebrate two other dogs joined in holy matrimony. There, a loner dog watches TV in a city apartment. I try reading the book to my son but he’d much rather play make believe – he is, right now, a puppy. He sits, begs, rolls over, kisses my face, plays dead, fetches the plastic ball, and I reward him with invisible treats. When I announce bedtime my son, the puppy, growls at me and bares his baby incisors and canines. He has a history of biting other kids at his daycare, so I tell him: we never, ever bite our friends. But immediately after I have said this I am reminded how we all have history, some biters, others bitten. I tell him: but if a stranger comes and touches you where you should not be touched, then you bite that stranger, hard, until the color red pours out. Bite and don’t let go. I ask my son if he understands. He sticks out his tongue, pants twice, and barks.
Charles Lennox lives and loves in Orange, CA.
(Next story: A Few Goats by Julia Strayer)
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Image by Rollan Budi