To: Stacey Marchenkova
Sent: Friday July 6th, 1999 7:20 AM
Subject: RE Stacey here…
Dear Stacey, Oftenbark the Dog here. Sorry it’s been a few days. I don’t check my email that often. Actually this whole email thing is new to me.
Not that I’m blind to email correspondence. I’ve always been a little curious about Dom’s messages; but truth be told, I feel safer to engage with strangers from a distance.
Part of this is due to shyness.
The other part is about self preservation.
See once the men in white coats get a sniff of a literate and tech savvy canine; it’d be only a matter of hours before it’s electrodes on desexed testicles, and a dreadlocked red, blue and green wired science hat that reduces my complex and poetic thought patterns into simple and qualitative wavy lines. Ingrates.
See, I am not a freak, Stacey. And will not put myself out there to public scrutiny.
I will not do interviews.
I will not be experimented on.
I will not be reduced.
I will not be a chapter in a book no one ever reads.
So with this in mind, please keep our correspondence a secret. Besides who will believe you if you confess to having a written relationship with a dog, anyway!?
Now to answer your question about Elsa – ‘do I like her?’
This is a hard question to answer as Dom likes her. I think he likes her a lot. I surmise this because I hear them kissing and talking all the time; not much laughter though – I think that’s odd as Dom is quite funny.
Anyway and besides that, for this reason, I like her too.
There’s always a ‘but’ right. Well—-
But there’s a part of that doesn’t like her at all.
There I’ve said it.
Said it. You know what I mean.
See, part of me thinks that Dom deserves so much better than Elsa.
And it’s not dog envy. It’s true. I mean Elsa goes out all the time. She stays out late, gets drunk, doesn’t let Dom know where she is.
I mean, I know she’s always done this. She is a self proclaimed party-girl. But I sometimes see Dom fret, worry about her, groom me.
See Dom likes to brush me when he worries. It’s his tell and this would suit me fine normally. But when it’s 3:00 in the morning all I can offer is:
“Come on! I’m sleepy!”
Brush, brush, brush—
“Dom, this is pointless!”
Brush, brush, brush—
“Who’s going to see me at this hour?”
And when Elsa does finally arrive home; it’s usually via a lift from some strange guy with a smoky car and a shit mix tape.
Those nights, she also crashes quickly, so any attempt to discuss it is quashed with a speed-of-light nod on the couch, on my rug mind you too.
So sensibly and without any other choice, Dom brings it up the next day.
But again Elsa shuts him down – accusing him of being controlling - which he is – I mean dog collar, sit, beg, paw, stand, etc - but this isn’t controlling. Elsa is wrong, here.
She is deflecting. Cleverly, for it makes Dom feel like it’s his behaviour that needs addressing. Not her stay-out-all-night get-blind-drunk flirt-with-everyone smell-like Aramis-and-tap-beer and attempt to get the world-record-for Friday-night-front-seat-stranger-shagging
And to be honest, I’m a little surprised she’s even getting any attention. See one of the things that really irks me aboiut Elsa is (and I hate to say this) but Elsa is a little plain.
Not in the looks department; as all people seem plain to me. No Elsa seems plain in her (what us dogs call) energy.
I know that sounds intangible to you. But from a dog point of view, energy is one of our most instinctive and prioritised senses.
We just get the essence of people quickly.
Okay maybe I’m being a little cruel. Elsa can be fun. She does play catch and she does scratch my neck.
But sometimes, usually when the day is coming to an end, and she is heading out, I sit in my basket and stare at her; trying to work her out.
I smell her. She smells like paper. I listen to her and she sounds like a slightly out-of-tune hum. And on the odd occasion I lick her, she tastes like unsalted butter.
You on the other hand have a special energy. And not that it’s possible, but in a perfect world, one where dogs can be Kings, I would nudge you in Dom’s direction.
Not that you were asking of course. But in case you’re having a bad day, I thought I’d mention it.
And please don’t tell Dom. I’m certain he’d give me away to the ‘farm in the country’ if he knew.