The North Forty

This week there was a development out of nowhere.

Ever since I’ve been here I’ve had a little area of my own in the back yard where I could hang, chill, veg, poop and peep. The guys called it the Pen, although I have no idea why unless it’s because it was surrounded with a metal wire fence and two or three times a day like clockwork I was stuck inside and expected to perform.

It was 64 square feet of real estate that was mine, all mine, and for the most part I enjoyed sitting in there and watching the world go by. Last summer I spent many a pleasant hour curled up in the corner under the tree, watching the big, black birds fly over, swoop down, eye me hungrily and move on.

Then this week it all changed. Jay was talking some stuff and nonsense about discomfort and me growing up and getting bigger and such, and the next thing I knew he and Em were rearranging everything. Suddenly, my little pen was gone. Suddenly my world had changed. Suddenly it was all different.

They took the wire fence of my old pen and stretched it out across the driveway. Here’s how it looks now:


Suddenly, they weren’t carrying me out to the pen anymore. Nor were they picking me up to carry me back in. In the blink of an eye I was responsible for my own transportation. In a heartbeat I went from puppy to doggy, and I didn’t even see it happen.

The first time I went out by myself I was scared. I sat down and looked at the house, and at the yard which now suddenly seemed so much larger than it had. I looked at my old fence, now a cold conspirator in the war against my peace of mind. I looked at Jay who was watching me closely from the kitchen door, and suddenly I felt – old.

I was irreducibly struck with the knowledge that I am not a little puppy anymore.


About James McDonall

I believe in laughing, especially at yourself, and as often possible. I believe in "live and let live". I believe that communication is the foundation of all our solutions. I believe that listening is more important than speaking, and that speaking should always serve the cause of listening. View all posts by James McDonall

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