Aw, Look at the Puppy!
Photo by Matthew Wiehe

Once upon a time, I was wolf. I was proud and fierce, looking down from the mountain’s ridge on deer grazing in the meadow. I watched them fattening themselves for me and my pack. My only master was the moon above.

Then you came. You came with your campfire in the cave. It was magic the way it made the darkness dance along the walls, and it didn’t hurt that you had food for me that I didn’t have to run down myself. It didn’t hurt that you gave me bones to gnaw on as I watched the show. It didn’t hurt when you scratched between my ears, when you scratched that itch I didn’t even know I had, that agitation I didn’t have a name for.

You shaped me, molded me just as you were learning to mold the clay we trod upon. You shrunk me so much that my skin is wrinkled now, struggling to keep up as I grow smaller, as I diminish. And though I can see in the bowl I drink from, see in that steel and in that water that I no longer look the part that I feel in my heart, I am still the same animal inside.

Not that you would know that.

No. Not you. You? You dress me the way you dress yourself. And though I wear it well, my head slung back and my chest puffed out, it is still a sweater vest. It is still argyle. And it still has a hood.

So, go ahead and take your picture. Have your laugh. But know this: someday, when you least expect it, when age or too much cheese has given me the excuse, I will shit in your shiny loafers and I will howl to all the dogs on heaven and earth that it is done, that we have won.

That we have won.