Let the dog have his bones

I feel bad that my dog doesn’t have an iPhone. I have an iPhone. All that my dog has is a bunch of dumb bones that I bought at Petco. He’s happy with them for a while, until there’s no more liver-flavored paste in the center. After that they just kind of take up space. I try to keep all of his old bones in one central location, but he much prefers it if they’re scattered across the living room floor. I should just throw the old ones away whenever I buy a new one, but I feel like he’s always looking at me, right as I’m about to toss them in the trash, he’s thinking, “Come on Rob, you have an iPhone, you have the Internet. For me, it’s just these bones, and that’s it. You really want to throw them away?”

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And I make it a point to just do it, because I can’t have these bones everywhere. It’s like, even when I think they’re all accounted for, there is always at least one or two hidden away where I’ll never be able to find them. Sometimes I think they’re so well hidden that even my dog loses track of where they are. And it’s like one day I’ll be looking for the remote or for my phone and I’ll lift up the couch to see if there’s any way that it’s maybe stuck deep between the cushions, and out falls a bone, sometimes right on my foot. I’ll go to throw it away but there he is again, he’s so happy to see this particular bone. Even though there’s no more liver-paste, it’s like he totally forgot about this bone.

It’s kind of like when you’re a little kid and your mom makes an effort to really clean out the downstairs closet. And you see that she’s putting your old Nerf gun into a black trash bag. Of course you haven’t played with it in years, but you also haven’t seen it forever. It’s been buried under all of your Lego sets and wrestling actions figures, you’re like, “Mom! Don’t throw that out, that’s such a cool Nerf gun!” and she’s like, “You never play with this stuff, come on, it’s just taking up space.” But you’re insistent, and you kind of even believe at some level that you’ll use it again, but you’re mistaking this nostalgia for a forgotten item with a feeling of genuine interest in a toy that … well, sure, go ahead, fire off a few rounds.

By tomorrow your mom’s going to be looking at this plastic piece of junk lying in the corner, saying stuff like, “See? I told you we should have thrown it out. Now it’s just another piece of clutter taking up visible space.” And so you pretend to play with it for a little while longer, just until she leaves the room, and then you bury it back under the Sit-n-Spin, somewhere you can’t see it. You don’t want to play with it, but you don’t want to face the idea that you’ll never be able to play with it again either.

And yeah, maybe things would have been different if you were a little kid today. But only if you were a kid and you had an iPhone. Would you have had an iPhone? I don’t know. Your mom wouldn’t buy you a Sega Genesis back then, she probably wouldn’t buy you an iPhone. You can just hear it now, “What does a little kid need an iPhone for?”

My dog doesn’t have an iPhone either, and I’m always wondering whether or not he’s secretly jealous, watching me spend so much time staring at my little screen. Why don’t they make iPhones for dogs? Something a little more durable, so he could chew on it while he’s not surfing the web, watching clips of the Puppy Bowl on YouTube, I’m just kind of throwing out dog-related Internet activities, I’m not sure exactly what he’d use an iPhone for, or if it would have the same user interface as human iPhones do.

But even if they did exist, am I really going to spend that much money on a piece of equipment that I’m not even really sure my dog would even enjoy? No, just let him have his bones. Sure, he’s figuring out how to get at that liver paste faster and faster each time, it’s like I can’t keep up with all of the empty bones lying around everywhere. And just last week, I woke up and came downstairs barefooted in my pajamas, my dog walked up to me, but I didn’t realize that he had a bone in his mouth. This one had to have been his biggest bone, and these things are heavy, sometimes too heavy for him to keep in his jaw. And I don’t know if he was just happy to see me, but he walked over with this thing in his mouth and dropped it right on my foot. It hurt so badly, a sharp pain that shot straight up my leg, like I could feel it in my shoulders.

And I wanted to round up all the bones right there and toss them in the trash. But then my iPhone made a buzz, like I got a message or an email, and my dog went over to the coffee table to investigate the sound. For a minute I thought, is he looking at the phone? Is he interested in text messages? At the very least, I thought he looked curious, and maybe he really does want one, and so I forgot all about my foot. I’ve got my technology, let the dog have his bones. So what if the place is a mess? What right do I have to take them away?

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