Dogs by Francis

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I have always liked Dogs. Why they are good to have as pets is that they’re like a little kid demanding attention. They live a long time. Enjoy the time you have with your pet or Dog, but there will always be dogs as pets that’s for sure. 


Shelby the Music Critic


The following story actually happened; I am not making anything up about my dog’s behavior during these events.  This is a tale of canine musical taste, and the lengths a Standard Poodle will go to in order to rid herself of a loathed instrument.

In middle school music classes, I was forced to play the recorder.  This is a glorified plastic torture device that is marketed as an “instrument” to public schools.  I put up with it, diligently practicing how to cause auditory torture every day.  See, they tested us on it in class, and failure to play the recorder properly would result in a bad grade.

I was in hell.  My Standard Poodle, Shelby, who was forced to hear the auditory cacophony that is a recorder, was also in hell.  Somehow, she could tell whenever I started playing the alleged instrument, and she needed it to go away from the house.

Shelby, completely ignoring that success in music class was directly dependent on the ability to use and perform on the recorder, started plotting.  When I began to play the recorder, she would start a cacophony of barks and howls that sounded like distilled misery.  This continued for a month after I was obliged to practice the recorder.  When she realized that I wasn’t able to stop playing it, she resorted to more sinister tactics.

She jumped on me when I attempted to coax squawks and shrieks out of the alleged instrument.  My firm grip kept her from knocking the recorder out of my hands, but she did achieve a goal.  Whenever she jumped on me, she did get me to stop playing the tortuous music to shout, “Shelby, no!”

Once she realized this plan was never going to work, she started a sneakier tactic.  Far more underhanded.  When I left the recorder unattended and it was within her reach, she struck.  Shelby snatched the unattended recorder up in her jaws and lay down with it, holding it in her paws.  Shelby then started putting her mouth upon the recorder, gnawing on the musical menace in a valiant effort to destroy it.

She failed.  I was forced to show Shelby’s handiwork–toothwork?–to the music teacher once it was destroyed.  The music teacher gave me a spare recorder, paperwork to sign stating my intent to keep the recorder and not harm it, and a dismayed sigh.

Despite my best efforts, Shelby never ended her tireless quest to destroy the recorder.  She couldn’t help it; the Standard Poodle had declared it her nemesis.

I lost all possible interest I could’ve ever had in playing a musical instrument.  Coaxing out a “melody” on the musical menace known as recorder killed it.  No matter how well I tried, it was still an obligation done only for school.

Abruptly, government-funded musical education stopped in the eighth grade.  No, I don’t know why eighth grade is when the government educational curriculum thinks music and art classes are electives and must be segregated from other forms of education.  I just know that it is.  Recorder Season was finally over.  

With glee, Shelby was able to get her wish.  She knocked the recorder off the table and stuck it in her paws.  Gnawing upon it like she had a special treat.  She didn’t let anyone take the recorder away from her.  No, she had to rid us of the musical menace that had been tormenting Shelby for three years nonstop.  Growls emitted from her mouth.  Snarls and flashing of teeth.

The torture device managed to get itself so completely mangled by Shelby’s teeth that it was thrown in the garbage.  Where I presume it rots to this very day.  The recorder wasn’t made of biodegradable materials.  It was plastic, and not a type that is recyclable.

Finally, Shelby was free.