Interviewer: Dog. Wake up. I want to interview you.
Dog: Where? What? What’s happening!
Interviewer: I wanted to speak with you.
Dog: Is that a treat?
Interviewer: This? No. This is a digi-recorder. I’m recording this interview.
Dog: Is it tasty?
Interviewer: Um no. I don’t think so. Do you mind if we get started?
Dog: Ear rub.
Interviewer: Fine. How are you?
Dog: What do you mean? A little lower.
Interviewer: How are you feeling?
Dog: A little higher. That’s it. Yes! Mmmmrrrmmm. I’m excellent. Why do you ask?
Interviewer: I’ve just noticed you’re sleeping really a lot, you seem stiff and sore. You wake up in the night for no reason and whine in a loud voice, then go outside where you just stumble around in the dark, not necessarily peeing. You’re stone deaf. And these lumps and bumps — should I be worried?
Dog: Do I bug you about your lumps and bumps? Your weird hairless paws? No. No I don’t. Where is this line of questioning headed?
Interviewer: I have a springer spaniel book and it says springer spaniels live 10-14 years. You are 12 and a half. So I worry.
Dog: What about?
Interviewer: Well, for starters, how do you feel about the calculation humans use to estimate dog years?
Dog: Dog what?
Interviewer: The math. Your age times seven minus two years each year after the age of 10.
Dog: Ug, math.
Interviewer: I suppose I just want to know that you are happy, that you are enjoying your life, that you’re just content to be there, sleeping, etc.
Dog: As opposed to what?
Interviewer: Let’s change the topic. What do you think about us getting this new dog. Joey. The little black and white guy.
Dog: THAT GUY IS STAYING!?! Good lord.
Interviewer: You don’t like him?
Dog: He licks my eye boogers and I can’t stop him.
Interviewer: I’m so sorry, I’ve seen him do that, I’ve told him not to.
Dog: He does it when you are out.
Interviewer: Jesus, Dog, I’m sorry. I don’t know what to say.
Dog: Are we done here? I’m tired. And you’re in my sunbeam.
Interviewer: Sorry, sorry. Just tell me: have you had a good life?
Dog: I’m not totally comfortable with your verb tense here. Yes, I’ve had a good life, I’m having a good life. You’re confusing me.
Interviewer: What’s made it good?
Dog: I’ve run around mountains, I’ve swum in the sea. I’ve had delicious and ever-changing dishes cooked for me and rolled into little kibble shapes, by hand, every single day. I’ve loved large. I’ve smelled the most extraordinary things. I’ve been unstinting and honest in all my emotions. What more could I want?
Interviewer: More. You could want more. More of the same.
Dog: Well, I do. Of course. Are you going to eat that?
Interviewer: Eat what?
Dog: That thing in your hand.
Interviewer: I told you, it’s my recorder, it’s not a treat.
Dog: So you say. Let’s give it a try.
(Epilogue: Once upon a time)