by Tom H. Brooks 3
Once upon a time, in a beautiful land of sunshine, rainbows, and rolling fields of green, there lived a handsome young dog named Fido. His breed was of golden retriever ancestry and his fur was indeed, a shining gold, like fields of wheat blooming with vibrant life. His story started as a happy life of anonymous bliss, very much like that of his neighbors and fellow dogs. Fido was very strong. He was a dog with great pride and conviction and a deep sense of duty to those around him. He became a great leader among dogs- outspoken, courageous and bold. All the dogs looked up to Fido, admired and believed in him, felt respect, jealousy and awe in his presence. He was confident in all matters of self except for his all-too-common name. So many other Fidos! But none like him-or were there? But Fido figured that he had to live with the label he was given. His were surely the ways of virtue and righteousness and he felt that it was his duty to forge a path for other dogs to follow. He believed in many things; he was taught the old ways, tradition, and the canine code of behavior. When he was a young student, he was told things and he accepted them without question. He assumed that this was simply the way things were done. He believed in loyalty to his master above all things, even if his master beat him. When Fido was beaten, he was convinced it was for his own good. Surely, his master was always right. Fido believed in bringing happiness to everyone around him, dogs and humans alike. Tongue kisses, tail wagging and lovable WOOFS were common in his daily behavior. He was a funny dog. Everybody said so. Even when he was sad, Fido would conceal it with a mask of good humor. Most of the time, Fido seemed nothing less than a dazzling sphere of positive energy, electrifying all those around him.
At a certain point in time, for reasons unknown, Fido began to doubt himself. He wondered why he was a leader when he was no different from the others. He followed the same path that millions had taken before him. His thoughts were not his own, but rather the result of constant external stimuli and stern teachings drilled into his dog head. He suddenly felt so very ordinary. Beneath Fido’s facade of canine laughter, there lurked a deep and sincere dissatisfaction, buried like the rawhide wishbone under the apricot tree in his backyard. This outwardly happy dog concealed confusion and a sense of void within. His perception of the world around him began to change. He realized that he did NOT believe everything that he’d been taught, that it was not all valid and honest, and that all dogs were not good dogs. He began to fear the intentions of other dogs, becoming paranoid, scared of shadows, even his own. He began to think that even his master was wrong. Perhaps it was all a sinister conspiracy to destroy him. He began to withdraw into memories of his canine past, a feeble attempt to draw insight from within.
His puppyhood was of 24 karat gold, a road paved with kibbles and bits and doggy treats and porterhouse steak bones. He was born into a rich human family of dog breeders so he was never separated from his parents. His father taught him masculinity, what it meant to be a male dog, a stud. Dad taught him his versions of courage and authority. His mother taught him compassion and sensitivity and feeling. She taught him to get in touch with his inner self. Fido did not always listen well. Fido was handed everything he wanted, for he was a pure-bred, prize golden retriever. He was fed well, taught well and beaten well- nice and trained. He was pampered, loved and educated….spoiled to the point of absurdity.
He won many awards, all of which brought him fame, recognition and confidence, but little true enlightenment. He needed more, life was monotonous and dull. We arrive at the present day, at the precise moment in time when Fido is thinking of all these things with distant eyes.
Fido had pondered as deeply as he was capable on his past. His way was indeed the righteous one, of course. What could possibly be wrong with all this constant success and always doing as he was told? His fears lingered, but he boldly cast them aside. He had lived fairly well thus far by adhering to his high standards, so why change a thing? Why would anyone want to harm such a leader as him? What reason had he to doubt his education, his good name? None- none at all, he was sure. His fears were, at last, dispelled, as was his speculation on the matter. His confidence returned, full-force-victorious. He saw no need to think for himself anymore when there was already so much thought out for him. He was still rooted, as wheat in the field, until the final scythe comes.
In time, he met a gorgeous bitch, pure-bred and full of life. He was very happy to find love at last. They did it doggystyle day and night until they could do it no more. And then they did it again. His life was now complete with knowledge, security, and love- of all this, he was ever so sure. He turned his back on doubt. He saw no reason to change a thing in his perfect life so he lived it, a brick in the wall, content, blissful and ignorant. His way was straight and clear and Fido was a truly happy dog….HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY….so happy that it might make some dogs sick. But nothing mattered because Fido and his bitch were filled with joy and ignorance and they ran together through grassy fields beneath rainbows and sunbeams. The gates of Heaven were before them, open wide and waiting to receive the blessed dogs in all their glory….