I like dogs, but sometimes they remind me of prisoners. Take the dog cage for example. There’s nothing more similar to a jail cell, which makes the surrounding house the prison. The children are the correction officers, and the head of the household is the warden. He sets the rules, and any infraction can result in a loss of privileges, like less doggie treats, or snacks from the commissary.

But just like there are different types of wardens, there are different types of facilities. For instance, if you’re in a building, it’s like being in a city jail. And if you’re living in some frat house, it’s kind of like doing a 4 to 5 in state prison. But, if you’re in a nice place, with nice green grass, a comfortable bed, and food from Martha Stewart… you’ve hit the jackpot. You’re in Club Fed.

Regardless of the location though, when there is more than one dog, there is always a pecking order. Just like in real jails, when the guards let the convicts into the yard, the first thing they do is mark their territory. They declare which sections you’re allowed in, just like when canines wet the grass. When you take Fighto for a walk, notice how he sniffs all around. He’s checking to see who’s been there, because after all, a little Schnauzer doesn’t want to get into a beef with a Rottweiler over a fire hydrant.

All I know is, if I was doing hard time, I wouldn’t want to be a Chihuahua, especially if the person sleeping next to me was a Doberman. Whatever the case, I’d hope to be in minimum security. But, if the Parole Board, the Borough of Prisons, or the ASPCA didn’t feel I was right for a transfer, I’d have to try different options to make my life better.

First, I’d wear a puppy face, trying to get sent to the kitchen. But if that didn’t work, I’d aim for the bathroom, because at least there I’d have a fresh supply of drinking water. And if I was granted a furlough to the dog park, I’d make sure not to bite anyone. Because after all, I’d want to play with my friends, wouldn’t I?

Now, if the food is your problem, you can always try a hunger strike. Just like prisoners, neglected dogs will sit there for hours and won’t go near the same soggy can of chicken and rice that’s always put out for them. And you know what? I don’t blame them. But the downside to the hunger strike is that you might actually get sick.

Then, they take you to the infirmary. You know, The Vet. This, is where you’ve got to be careful, because if you start barking, they’ve got an endless supply of muzzles. And if the staff feels threatened, they might just drug you.

Now, you can make a run for it, but who wants to live life on the lam? If you’re in Club Fed, they’re not threatening to neuter you, and you get conjugal visits… a.k.a., some doggy style… you might as well just stay put.

But what if you’re someplace like San Quentin, or Attica, a gladiator school? I know officers stage fights between the prisoners. Look at Michael Vick. I bet the canines going to his compound in the country thought their time would be easy. Then he ends up running a racket for dog fighting. And the Pit-bulls that didn’t perform well? They got whacked.

I’ll just tell you this. If you know you’re getting euthanized, you’ve got to escape. Bounty hunters are going to look for you, and the warden’s going to post pictures of you everywhere, but it doesn’t matter, because it wasn’t your fault nobody walked you and you couldn’t hold it in. And on your way out, if a government agent gets in the way– like, The Postman. Always remember, being in the street’s better than being put to sleep.


**No canines were harmed in the writing of this essay.

Click here for THE DOG HOUSE Part 2: Canine Convicts


1 thought on “THE DOG HOUSE”

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