The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

A Remembrance of Tom by his Longtime Companion, an English Bulldog named Wally
by Jon Sindell

Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I have been induced to follow a trail of crunchy bacon bits to the podium that I might share some thoughts about my recently departed “master” (odious epithet, that), a male human named Tom.

The patently human presumption is that I thought about Tom. I thought about Tom a bit, of course, “a bit” being considerably less than humans typically believe their dogs to think about them.

Excuse me while I lick.


Now then. Impelled by the necessity of starting somewhere, I begin with the observation that Tom was fond of wearing a particular t-shirt. This faded and frayed garment was adorned with an amateurish cartoon depiction of a canine of some indeterminate and distinctly inferior breed. The image was situated above the prayer, “May I be the man my dog believes me to be.”

This sentiment was ever a puzzle to me. To the limited extent that I thought of Tom, I thought of him as a provider of shelter, exercise, warmth, and sustenance, a role he discharged in such a satisfactory manner that I rarely experienced the urge to tear his throat out as he slept. I should like to add that in the matter of the provision of warmth, Tom proved a most excellent companion. His billowing belly, grown to admirable magnitude and optimal softness by his incessant consumption of fried chicken, sausage pizza, and beer, warmed my flanks on many a winter’s night. The warmth was at its best when Tom would sling a heavy arm around me following his latest rejection by a female of his species, pathetically moaning, “Why oh why, Carmen?” Or, “Why oh why, Jennifer” or “Why oh why, Kat” (O, odious name!) The agreeable effect produced by the rhythmic repetition of these sonorous phrases would improve my dozing no end. Tom would then ask the unseen female, “What did I do? What’s wrong with me? Why do you reject me? Why? Why? Why?” these unavailing queries quickly devolving into the percussive exclamation, “Wah! Wah! Wah!” Squeezing me tighter, Tom would assure a companion in no need whatsoever of reassurance, “At least I have you, Wally.” Dear Dog! How I detested the condescending contraction of my noble name, “Sir Wallace The Scourge Of Flea-Bitten Cats!”

And while I freely confess to experiencing a titillating tingle when Tom squeezed me tight, in consequence of which I would contemplate the pleasure to be afforded by, ahem, physical congress with Tom’s soft, warm, ample leg, the reduction in natural urges that I noticed years ago upon release from my boyhood imprisonment by the human monster known as “The Vet” ensured that I might rest peacefully in Tom’s warm embrace without overheating, if you catch my drift. Free of the distracting influence of carnal lust, I would partake of the more refined pleasure of sniffing the aforementioned t-shirt of Tom, which at times such as these would not have been washed for at least two weeks, just as Tom’s body would not been washed, giving the garment and the body alike the delightful fragrance of stinking cheese.

In remembering Tom, I must also commend his inquisitive mind.

“Who’s a good dog?” he would often inquire. When I would respond with the dignified silence that such an inane query deserves, he would repeat with greater intensity, “Who’s a good dog, then? Who’s a good dog!” Failing to perceive that my dignity forbade a response, he would proffer the absurd interrogative yet again—for which reason I identify persistence as another of Tom’s chief attributes. To persistence I would add helpfulness, for Tom would invariably conclude these exhausting interviews with the grand exclamation, “You are! You’re a good dog!” The reward for my Job-like patience would be a bacon bit, while the punishment would consist of a pat on the head. This last, of course, is why we canines charge humans with putting the “pat” in “patronizing.”

Further recounting Tom’s virtues, I would note that on occasion Tom displayed surprising wit for one so dim, as when he would remark to passersby in the park that he and I well illustrated the axiom that dog and owner soon begin to resemble each other. I always assumed, with charitable self-delusion, perhaps, that Tom meant this as an absurd joke, for the alternative interpretation, that Tom really believed I looked like him, is too ghastly to consider.

So there you have it. I have dutifully identified as Tom’s chief virtues responsibility, inquisitiveness, persistence, helpfulness, and humor, along with a delightful disinclination to bathe or do laundry. Take him all in all, he was a man—a claim, I must add, that I assert with no intention of being cruel. 

Farewell, Tommy Boy! I shall not sniff your like again.