The letter request:
My neighbour is off on a roadtrip around Australia and I want him to leave me his dog, Harvey. My own dog, Shyla, and I have become quite attached to him. The dogs are always going under the fence to see each other. Also, Harvey teaches Shyla a lot and he is making her into a more confident dog. I’m willing to give visitation rights and I’m happy to send photo updates as well but ultimately I think his dog will be better off staying with me.
Do you ever feel like life is too banal? Like we respond to things in a way that is just so foreseeable that life has lost all meaning? That our existence has no sense of surprise?
When someone has a birthday we bake them a cake. When someone gets dumped we get them drunk. When someone gets a haircut we tell them that they look fabulous. When someone is going away we throw them a party.
At the risk of sounding like an anarchist I’m keen to shake things up. Next time someone celebrates a birthday I will flash them my boobs. Next time someone gets dumped I will write and perform them a song about how they were batting well above their average and they should aim lower next time. Next time someone is going away I will steal their dog.
So, Guy, these travel plan you’ve got a’cookin’? This road trip you’re going on? No streamer-and-balloon-filled-room from me this time. No sir, nothing so conventional. Instead, I will steal your dog.
It wont just be for kicks. I have a deep feeling that Harvey belongs with me. I’ve always wanted two dogs and Shyla and he are pretty much going steady. So often when we get back from a walk he’s waiting in the yard like a cute ol’ suitor/stalker. And he’s ALWAYS trying to hump her. If it were any other dog I’d object to his insistence but on the whole he’s such a positive role model, he’s taught her so much. If it weren’t for Harvey she wouldn’t know how to swim, chew bones properly, play fight, chase birds and kids. He’s pretty much taught her how to be a dog. It would be cruel of us to separate them. And it would be cruel of you to take Harvey from me.
When you go away the others will still throw you a party and I can tell you unequivocally it will be BIG. We’ll all get so drunk we taste the lining of our stomachs, throw shit on the neighour’s roof, swap underwear for jokes and struggle to look each other in the eye for a day or two after.
But 70 years down the track when you’re lying on your deathbed remembering the significant things that have happened in your life, leaving Fitzroy Crossing will cross your mind. You’ll remember a place you loved and called home. You’ll have vague recollections of swimming in the river and watching people make beautiful art.
You won’t remember some shitty party. You won’t remember names or faces or goodbye speeches. But by God, will you remember that bitch who stole your dog.