The letter request:
I would like a letter written from my dog, Jadah, to my husband, Ross. We are having a baby in March and with that means our dog has to move onto another home – I don’t trust a highly strung German Shepherd with a newborn. Ross is absolutely in love with the dog and whilst she causes him stress and frustration he is going to miss her so much when she goes. We took this dog on when she was a five-year-old runt. She is now going on 10, however she often gets mistaken for a puppy as she is immature, has plenty of energy and no road sense. She is afraid of bikes, trains and trams and does not have very good social skills with other dogs. Ross had so much faith that he could change her behaviour but Jadah is much more stubborn than your average dog. She truly rules our household but we are going to miss her so much.
I’ll be upfront: I never wanted a man.
The idea that every dog should have one has always given me cause to raise an eyebrow (or the spot where an eyebrow would be if I had them). They say that dog is to man what Robin is to Batman or Goose is to Maverick and that this is somehow desirable. They call it being best friends when, in reality, the dog is a mere sidekick. A wingman. The one who sleeps outside in winter while your best friend snuggles on the couch with his wife.
As a strong-willed dog I knew that to hand that role over to anyone would be against my libertarian beliefs. I’m no psychoanalyst but I assume one would hypothesise that my failure to form lasting relationships may have something to do with losing Nick so early in my life. As a believer of nature versus nurture I prefer to think that, even before Nick took me home with the fictitious promise of lifelong care, I was already showing anarchistic tendencies. As a pup I took great pleasure in mocking the common traits of German Shepherds. I delighted in reinterpreting ‘Exceedingly eager to work and learn’ as ‘Please shit on the couch’.
When I met you it certainly didn’t stir up any longing to change. You were nice enough, cruising through the McArdle house in your Dunlop kicks, but I was happy as things were. Sure, at times I felt a little misunderstood (like when people implied my natural inclination towards doing my own thing was the work of the devil and threatened lethal injections) but, on the whole, I liked my independence.
When I came to your place for a ‘visit’ I had to rely on you a little more and you proved yourself quite an impressive hunter-gatherer. Sometimes you let me in the house. Sometimes you sang to me.
I started to enjoy our daily physiotherapy sessions down by Merri Creek. Our time together in the garden. The occasional indoor moments. As I started to care about your wellbeing I tried to teach you about the harsher side of life. Cars = Evil. Trains and trams = Evil. Other dogs (that fuckin’ Winston) = Evil. But noooooo. Good ol’ Pollyanna (that’s what I call you sometimes) didn’t want to see the truth.
The other evil I tried to warn you away from was children. They are quite possibly the most evil there is but I couldn’t dissuade you from wanting one in your life. You look evil in the eye and stare hard for the good.
Now I’m not going to say you’re my best friend. If that’s all I had, I would have simply bought you a Hallmark card. What I will say is that you’re my man. I don’t need you but I like you and I appreciate the times we’ve spent together.
I can’t stop you from bringing evil into your house but I can choose to take myself away from a difficult situation. I just can’t live with a child. I can think of nothing worse.
I really hope you’ll be okay. I know for sure I will be. I hope we can catch up occasionally and I hope (for your sake) that you look as hard for the good in your baby as you looked for the good in me. It won’t be easy but if anyone can find it, it will be you.