I’ve decided I want to be a dog.

As long as I can own me.

How long has it been since I was bathed/massaged in a private bath, dried with two separate towels, and allowed to shake off the excess? And then get rewarded with my favorite peanut-butter-flavored treat? It was long enough ago that I don’t remember it. And therefore too young to have developed the cognitive ability to appreciate the finer things in life.

Who wouldn’t want to spend the entire day doing only what one loves to do? I could while away the hours snoozing, and when I wake up, play fetch with a master who never tires of throwing my favorite rubber ball down a hallway. He doesn’t mind my slobber either, even though it sticks to the ball and attracts dust, hair, and food crumbs like a magnet attracts iron filings.

I’d get the run of a long deck, and my choice of padded furniture on which to perch and watch flying bugs dip and dart in the summer haze. I can scamper back and forth, chasing what my master thinks are probably flies. But what he doesn’t know is I often run back and forth on the deck just for the heck of it, until the wild turkeys show up. I can sit motionless and watch the toms strut, gobble, and spread their feathers, like my master sits motionless and watches Chris Cuomo strut, gobble, and spread his feathers on CNN.

I have two masters, actually, and it’s easy for me to tell which one is truly the boss. Sometimes they go away for what they call a vacation. And when they do, who wouldn’t want to spend long stretches of time at a place they drive me to called Camp Grandma? It’s a five-star doggie resort.

I get the run of the place, and there are always doggie friends to play with. But I often do my own thing, like exploring the dark underworld of Grandma’s backyard deck, and come out a lighter shade of green. And I get to dig lots of holes too, something I never do anywhere else.

I don’t mind riding in the carrier when I take trips in the car. I made it all the way to Arizona and back not long ago. Who wouldn’t want to stop every two or three hours and smell — and then water — amazingly varied types of vegetation?

But what I really love is to sit on my owner’s lap (the one who’s really in charge) and look out the window when we take short trips in the neighborhood.

What I’d really like to do is stick my head out the window, like I’ve seen other dogs do, and let my tongue flap in the breeze. But I’d have to get taller, and my tongue would need to grow longer, for me to do that. Guess a dog can’t have it all.

My dog, Jack Bauer, may not have it all, but what he has is pretty good. He’s got patches of late morning sun to stretch out in. Three square meals a day, plus random bits of chicken and cheese when he’s simply willing to “sit” and “stay.”

Jack is living large, no doubt about it. And if I can’t be a dog, at least I’m at the stage of life that’s as close to dog-like as I can get. It’s called retirement.


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