Illustrations by Sharon Lam
Illustrations by Sharon Lam

SocietyNovember 28, 2021

A letter to my future dog

Illustrations by Sharon Lam
Illustrations by Sharon Lam

Sharon Lam corresponds with the canine love of her life.

Dear Gub Gub/Mozzarella/Poseidon/fitting and flattering name that will pop into my head upon seeing you for the first time,

It is so good to meet you. I don’t want to come on too strong, but I have dreamt of this day for a long time and believe that you are the love of my life. At the time of writing, I have no plans, no property, no gods. I am an unmoored half-wit floating from city to city, never staying long enough to grow close to dog nor deli. I have been living in apartments and rooms where you aren’t allowed. I have spent my days working jobs that could not afford me the time to walk you nor the income to feed and care for the both of us, and in the formless nights I try to quiet the soul with Ribena vodkas, library books, and iPhone games. But now you are here, the soul is silent. I have all my love to give to you, my rock, an anchor at last, and as you will hear me crooning to you often, a reeeaaason for aaaall that I doooo and the reason is youuuuuuuuuuu.

In many ways, even though we haven’t yet met, you already are Hoobastank_The Reason.mp3 for all that I do. In doing all my flitting about now, I am hoping to jog all restlessness out while I am just on my own two feet (I know that long haul flights are not your favourite). I am also partaking in the capitalist workforce in hopes to “further my career” to have the time and resources to afford our lifestyle together. It is the vision of us on a sofa, me scratching behind your ears as we rewatch Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains that gets me through all these job applications and interviews. Interviews where they ask me why I want the job and I say, “to watch outdated TV with my dog one day”, and they look at me quizzically, and I do not get the job. But now that you’re here, I must have done it! We have achieved the wild goal of affording to live somewhere that has landlord permission (let us be real – even in my letters of fantasy I cannot be a property owner) and physical space for you to strive, and I have the flexibility and time to be with you and walk you.

As you can see, this letter may take a while to reach your paws. Despite taking over the planet, humans have set up a lot of barriers within our own way of life, and living with our so-called best friend isn’t so straightforward. Our bipedalism and opposable thumbs have been making systems of oppression and destruction instead of making living things healthy and happy. Among all the unnecessary trouble we have made, it is dreams that keep us wading through, and for me, you are that dream. Other humans dream of making more humans, building a house, playing beautiful music, owning very many old bottles of wine, climbing ever steepening mountains (both literally and metaphorically), etc. Think of it as: barking at a cat, chasing a stick, eating wet food. It is acting and moving in a way that we each find most resembles the shape of happiness.

Why do I believe that being your friend and caregiver is what will form my happiness and, I hope, yours? Other than being with the cutest, most beautiful, smartest, funniest, loveliest dog there is? Perhaps because beneath happiness is peace. And peace for me is only possible when I am alone or in the company of animals. Every human I interact with bounces off me in a unique way, each resulting in a facet different to the next. Who I am with my mother is different to who I am with a driving instructor is different to who I am with a fourth date is different to who I am when I am talking to someone two decades older than me. At the end of the day they all feel fake. When I am alone, there is finally no human to reflect off and I can remain unfaceted, unpressured to perform. Even though it is always true, alone I remember there is nothing else to do other than to live gently with Earth and time.

Animals know this. To bounce off an animal is an interaction between life and life, free of synthetic human nonsense. It can be lonely, to look into non-human eyes and realise that all the animal kingdom have more in common with each other than humans have with humans. Yet to look into the eyes of a dog is to believe that perhaps we are not that lonely after all. Your presence will remind me each day that we can think of life in simpler and lighter terms, and in turn I will do everything I can to give you a life of love and frolic. We will walk and jog (at a moderate pace) together, see beaches, see mountains. With you by my side the sea will be a yet unseen shade of blue and with each tree you piss on we will hear the forest spirits sing.

There is one final thing I need to address. There is a phrase in Cantonese that my family has spent a lifetime rebutting me with: “new toilet, smells nice for three days”. But you are not the Nintendo Wii that I begged for in year eight and played for one month! You are a living, breathing creature of beauty and wonder. You will not grow dusty atop a DVD player. In the world of human affairs it is true, my attention span is short and my approach to commitment absent. My discipline is that of an overgrown child on school holiday – the only thing I try hard at is to not get out of bed until 2pm. But in my stints of dog stewardship, I have transformed. I spring out of bed no matter the hour – it is in my blood – I know that you want to go outside, that you are hungry, need more water, or that there is shit somewhere to be picked up. I become a creature of responsibility and ritual, a smooth-running dog-caring machine. If you still don’t believe me, please contact Bongo, Comino or Luke for a reference.

And so, I already love you and I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

Yours always (also isn’t it cool that you are the first dog who will live forever?),
Sharon

Mad Chapman, Editor
The Spinoff has covered the news that matters in 2021, most recently the delta outbreak. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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