Once upon a time there was a man who had a dog and the dog bored him senseless. Even its unearthly howling, with which it greeted the moon every night, and kept up until sunrise, and which drove his neighbours crackers, bored him. When he took it for walks in the daylight, and threw sticks for it to fetch, it failed to stir his interest. It drooled when chewing on dog biscuits, and as he mopped up the drool from the rug, the man sighed and complained about the unutterable tedium of his dog. Nobody heard his complaints, for he lived alone with the dog, and the dog was deaf.
Eventually the man went to see a dog advice person.
“I have come to see you because I am bored by my dog,” he said.
“Ah,” said the dog advice person, “Have you considered the possibility that you have a boring dog?”
The man admitted this had not occurred to him.
“I have always felt that it is me who is at fault,” he said, “I have been consumed with fierce self-loathing because I am neither amused nor entertained by my dog’s howling and stick-fetching and dog biscuit drooling.”
The dog advice person examined the dog with a scope and a scanner and a probe and other instruments from his dog analysis kit. While this was going on, the man leafed through the magazines on the dog advice person’s coffee table, none of which had any dog-related content whatsoever. There were lots of articles about international shipping protocols and Antarctic weather stations and derelict railway lines and the man became so mentally absorbed in them that the dog advice person had to shout at him repeatedly andÂ kick his shins and slap him on the head to gain his attention when the examination was over.
“I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt and without fear or favour that you have a boring dog,” he said, packing away the instruments in his dog analysis kit and placing it carefully in a cupboard.
“Well, that is a weight off my mind,” said the man.
He took the dog home. On the way, he threw sticks for it to fetch. Back indoors, he gave the dog a dog biscuit to chew on and mopped its drool from the rug without complaint. And at nightfall, the dog began its unearthly howling, and the man went to bed and slept the sleep of the unweighted mind. He slept so deeply that he did not wake up when the neighbours gathered in the moonlight in a ring around his house, waving pitchforks, bent on dog death.