A Poem – “In Defense of my Dog”

My mind and my mouth don’t always agree.  My mind says, “Just walk away,” but my mouth is the only thing that starts moving.  My mind says, “Just let it go,” but my mouth prepares for battle.  You know how the sentence starts, usually by saying something like, “You know, I think it’s really funny how…,” ending in something that you not only don’t find funny, but just plain pisses you off.  My mind and my mouth are not a good match, so let me paint you a picture of my reaction when my niece told me, “Aunt Ashley said she didn’t like your dog.”

I knew I shouldn’t have soaked that information up.  I knew I shouldn’t have said anything out of anger.  I knew I should have just laughed and left and brushed that bullshit off, but I couldn’t.  I tried and I couldn’t.

Sure, there was that one time my dog had chewed up the entire couch, and although I had to work months of overtime to buy a new one, it doesn’t compare to what you’ve destroyed.  His motivation wasn’t malice, he just didn’t know any better, you chew up people and spit them out in premeditated manipulation, rip through their feelings and tear them apart, leave them in broken, irreparable pieces, make them feel like they’re just an unwanted, useless piece of furniture.

Sure, there was that phase where he chewed every heel I had, he must have been under the impression that we share my shoes, that they were public doggy domain, that they were  just a shiny toy to tear up.  My work wardrobe was wrecked, but he grew out of it, matured, which it more than I can say for you, who would see me stumble, purposely push me off my path, knock me down with your negativity, because you’d rather see me suffer than succeed. Family.


Sure, he’s big and his bark sounds ferocious and fatal and makes people flinch, and you tell me repeatedly how you don’t trust him because ark turns to bite, but I will take his lavish loyalty that may leave, his protective presence, his animalistic admiration, his bone-chilling bark, his pointy-tipped teeth that may find my flesh over your heartless humanity, your worthless words, your biting criticism and unfaithful feelings, the scars you leave for no reason other than you can.  I’ll take his potential bite to the bone over your predictable stab in the back.

Subscribe to Weelunk

Sure, he gets excited and licks his grand greeting to people’s faces, but I will take his leaps of love over  your hypocritical hugs, his uncontrollable canine kisses than your loveless, lying lips.  At least he’s clear about his intentions, consistent and unwavering in his ways – I know that the only thing he will ever try to take from me is my food, compared to you who is constantly breeding back door plans to poach my happiness.   All it takes to bring him back to me is a sound, a puckering of my lips or a whistle his way and he bounds back to my side, much different than the threats you so thoroughly use on the people you supposedly love to keep them close.

When I took him home that first cold night, cradled cozy and content in my coat, he didn’t care about my low-income apartment, that we both had to sleep on the couch because I didn’t have a bed.  He didn’t criticize what I was doing with my life, he was happy just to be a part of it, the same as he is now, 60 pounds later, in my king size bed, in the home that I own, still laying elated and exhausted in my lap.

My dog doesn’t care about the gender of the person in my bed, as long as he gets to sleep in the middle. Unconditionally, he has been by my side through it all.  He is the kindest confidant, a level-headed listener, the most loyal lad.  He is my best friend, my family, in all the ways that matter. I told him what you said, and after a sarcastic bark and a lick to my lips, he just looked at me with love, and although we don’t speak the same language, I still know what he was saying.  He was saying, “Piss on her.”  And I hope he does.  At least then you’d have a reason.

Sara Fincham
Sara Fincham is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and she performs at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre with the poetry troupe, “The Prosers.”