Open Letter

To the Snake Ripping Off My Dog's Talent Show Tricks

I’ll have you know that I take no pleasure in writing this letter.

May 23, 2016 Published in the June 2016 issue of Seattle Met

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Image: James Boyle

It is beneath men of our stature to quarrel so publicly, and the exercise is distracting me from matters of much greater import—namely reviewing film of Mr. Snuffles’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” piano rehearsal. But your brazen, unconscionable efforts to steal elements of the ’80s hair metal–themed routine we’ve been practicing for the Seattle Pet Expo talent contest June 4 and 5 at the Washington State Convention Center leave me no choice but to respond. 

At first, when Mr. Snuffle T. Snuffster and I saw you and that dirty little dish rag you call a Pomeranian practicing at the Magnuson Park off-leash area, I thought, “Oh, so that’s what a second-place finisher looks like.” But the longer I watched, I began to realize that the jumps followed the 4/4 time signature of “The Final Countdown.” And don’t think that I didn’t notice the way you punctuated each leap by pantomiming explosions with your hands, clearly a placeholder for the pyrotechnic display that you’re no doubt planning for the real show.

I’ll allow that one such example could be chalked up to a coincidence. But when rumors began circulating within the Puget Sound Chapter of Nose-in-the-Air, Not-in-the-Butt Show Dogs that you’d renamed your dog Tommy Lee Bones, begun training him to howl in the key of “Runnin’ with the Devil,” and bought every available case of dog-friendly hair spray in Seattle, well, I could ignore the facts no longer. 

While my tone may suggest that I’m taking your thievery as a personal attack, the truth is, I’m eminently more concerned about the emotional toll it has taken on poor Mr. Snuffleupagus. Of course, I’ve done my level best to shield him from the truth, that the tricks he’s sacrificed so much belly-rubbing time to perfect have been stolen out from beneath him, but one needn’t be a dog psychologist to see that he’s losing the will to go on. To wit: In more carefree days, a spirited session of chasing his own tail was a sign that H. R. Pufnsnuf was happy, if not a little confused. Lately, though, it’s become an exercise in existential dread, as evidenced by the doleful looks he give me that say, “Where do I end and the next dog begins?”

Now, sir, I am a reasonable man. And that is why, rather than sully both of our names with a messy public confrontation, I first chose to engage in an anonymous smear campaign by spreading the vicious lie that for the last decade you have run a combination meth lab–puppy mill from your home. But still that did not deter you from your present course, so here I am, forced to take the unprecedented and unbecoming step of threatening physical violence: I implore you to cease and desist all Vince Neil and/or Bret Michaels–inspired trick planning. Because if upon arriving at the show I so much as see a bandanna wrapped around your dog’s head, so help me, Mr. Snuffle-stiltskin and I will have no choice but to bite you both.

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