A Man and His Dog

A short-short story

Posted Mar 09, 2017

Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain
Source: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

Here is the latest of my short-short stories that are composites of real-life events with psychological or practical implications.

Edgar is universally disliked. His co-workers view him as rigid and too judgmental. His friends largely push him away because he’s argumentative and makes them feel less-than. Even his relatives minimize interaction with him.

So an ever larger part of Edgar’s relationships are with his dog. Now 65, Edgar mainly hangs out with his cockapoo, Goliath: He even talks to Goliath---to talk out problems, express his frustrations with the world, speak words of love. One night he said, “Goliath, I love you so much. You’re the best Goliath. I don’t know how I’d cope if you died, so it would be great if we died at the same time.”

Edgar’s daily rituals maximally include Goliath. In the morning, Goliath wakes Edgar by kissing his face. Then, even when the Kansas winter is at its worst, Edgar gives Goliath a thorough walk. Edgar convinced his employer to allow Goliath to come to work with him. Edgar spends most of his lunch hour walking Goliath while eating a sandwich. After work, Edgar walks Goliath again, having trained him to carry the newspapers sitting in front of people’s houses to their front door. When watching TV at night, Goliath lay at Edgar’s feet. And of course, Goliath sleeps in the bed with Edgar—Every night there’s a routine: Edgar pushes Goliath to the far corner of the bed and Goliath creeps over so he can lie against Edgar’s leg. Usually, Goliath wins.

In the middle of one night, Edgar had a heart attack. Sensing something was wrong, Goliath jumped on Edgar’s face and tried to help in the only way he could—he licked Edgar’s face, again and again. Alas, Edgar was too stricken to pick up the phone to dial 911. Suddenly, Edgar was still and Goliath returned to lie next to Edgar’s leg.

In the morning, as usual, Goliath kissed Edgar’s face but he didn’t wake. Goliath kept kissing him to no avail and then started barking and barking. A neighbor heard it and, annoyed, called Edgar’s phone number. No answer, so the neighbor, who had a key to the house, came in and saw the dead Edgar. The neighbor called the police, which took Edgar to the morgue and Goliath to the pound.

The takeaway

Put your pet in your will. Get someone to agree to care of him or her if you die. Ideally, leave some money for your pet's care. Put your will and advance medical directive where it would be likely seen quickly upon your death, for example, in an envelope above your bed's headboard.

HERE is a video of me reading this short-short story.

Dr. Nemko’s nine books, including his just-published Modern Fables: short-short stories with life lessons, are available. You can reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at mnemko@comcast.net