Best of 2023

I’ve Tried So Hard to Be a Responsible Dog Owner and Yet Somehow I’ve Still Raised an Inconsiderate, Hedonistic Pie Thief

Rover, do you not respect me? How could this have happened? We were making so much progress in your training, or at least I thought we were.


When I left that freshly baked blueberry pie on the coffee table, I believed that I could trust you. Now I return from my shower to find that you have eaten not only the entire pie, but also the surrounding parchment paper. I can’t tell you how violating this feels. But this isn’t about me, Rover. It’s about you and your confounding lack of maturity.


You know when I go to the supermarket, they have pies there. Many of them look quite delicious, but I don’t steal them. Obviously, I don’t want to get arrested. Just like you don’t like your kennel, I don’t like prison. But that’s not the only reason I don’t steal the pies, Rover. Those pies don’t belong to me and it’s wrong to take things that don’t belong to you. It’s a matter of integrity. This is a value I thought I had passed on to you, but it seems that you’ve completely missed the point of our training. If you’re still only doing the right thing when someone is watching, we have a lot of work to do.


I see you over there in the corner with your tail between your legs. This is just like last August when you devoured all six tiers of Aunt Christine’s $700 wedding cake. I was kind enough to give you the benefit of the doubt that time. It seemed that you were experiencing true remorse for what I chalked up to a momentary lapse in judgment. But the fact that this keeps happening…I can’t help but be skeptical of your sincerity. You need to ask yourself some hard questions, Rover. Like, am I sad because I violated my moral compass, or do I just not like getting yelled at?


Honestly, this incident has me questioning a lot of things. What about the other day when we were out walking and you picked up that disgusting thing? What was that? I told you to drop it and you did, thank God. But I assumed that you weren’t just obeying my command, that upon tasting what appeared to be some sort of garbage-coated dead rodent carcass, you quickly discovered that it didn’t align with the nutritional standards I have taught you. That’s why I called you a “good boy.” But I realize now that you probably would have swallowed that whole thing, bones and all, if not for my intervention. And that, Rover, is most certainly not the behavior of a good boy.


What makes this even more baffling is the fact that I always buy you the best quality organic non-GMO kibble. By now, your palate should be highly refined, and surely you must realize that you feel better when you eat better. Do you just not care about your health? Do you have no self-respect? No willpower? Seriously, what’s going on? Because I feel like I’ve done everything I can to raise you properly, and I’m just not seeing any growth.


Oh great, you’re throwing up the pie now. And here comes the parchment paper. See this is what I’m talking about. How many times do we have to go through this before you learn your lesson? You know by now that consuming whole desserts is a major stressor to your digestive tract. You really can’t plead ignorance anymore. Look at me, I have a mustard allergy. Would I love to be able to eat a fully dressed hot dog? Of course! But I know that I’ll pay for it later, so I exercise self-control. It’s part of being an adult. Your puppy days are long past, Rover. It’s time to grow up.


And that’s what this is really about. Listen, I’m not expecting some deep level of enlightenment. I just want you to realize that a life lived in subservience to one’s impulses is an ultimately hollow existence. I can continue to guide you in the right direction, as I always have, but it is you who must decide to change. No one else can make that choice for you. You may think of me as your master, but deep down you know that you are your own true master.


I’m going to grab the carpet cleaner now. Please do not eat your vomit.