"A Dog Is Just a Human with More Hair Anyway and We Didn't

Feel Like Walking All the Way to the Gas Station" by David S. Atkinson

We had a dog at the foster home that was a bit too food focused. A pug, he weighed 36 but was supposed to only be 18 max. He'd forget and run full tilt with the other dogs, but then sit and wheeze, barrel chest pounding, like he was going to have a heart attack. He'd sit back on his butt with his front paws on the ground in front of him, resembling a fat little old man. Name was Chewie.


If he saw us eat something, anything, he'd look piteously at us to beg. We didn't even have to actually eat it, just put it in our mouths. It was all the same. Nick was kind of a dick and offered him a pickled jalapeno one time. The dog snapped it right up, but then sat there and drooled on the floor a while. Didn't seem to hurt the little guy, but it was still something only Nick would do.


Some days later, we were sitting on the couches in the living room for the hour of homework required by house rules and I went to light a cigarette. Chewie sat next to me and I saw the begging look. Since I hadn't lit the cigarette yet, I offered it to him. His mouth clamped right down on the filter and it dangled exactly like it should. His face was puzzled though, and he looked back and forth at each of us as we laughed. He knew instantly it wasn't food. The cigarette didn't drop though.


The foster lady walked through the room right then and jumped like we'd electrocuted her. "Oh God," she said with sudden relief a second later, "I thought you kids were teaching the dog to smoke."