Today's Story by Benjamin Wachs

He knew he would be kicked, but he wouldn’t run away

A Dog’s Love

The man was screaming.  The man was throwing cups.  The dog knew he was going to get kicked.  The dog clenched, but didn’t run.  It had known this man all its life, grown up with the smell of his skin, the taste of his sweat.  That taste was a bond.  The dog was a fighter, not a barker:  he would answer any other dog’s growl with teeth.  But he wouldn’t bare his fangs at the man whose sweat he tasted each morning, whose home he protected out to the very edges of his scent.  No, he knew he would be kicked, and maybe twice, but he wouldn’t run away either.  He would be faithful – faithful to the feeling of the man’s hand running down his back, to the taste of the treats he was given twice a day, to the weight and texture of the Frisbee he was sent to recover on the very best days of all.  These things were too important to run away from, even when he knew that they would never be the same.

The kick knocked him two feet in the air and back into the living room wall.  He coughed and gasped but did not yelp or whine.  He stood up, as quickly as he could, on shaky legs, and looked up at the man, who was hesitating now … understanding that he had crossed some line.

The dog looked at the man, trying to explain that yes, you will still taste the same tomorrow.


Benjamin Wachs has written for Village Voice Media,, and NPR among other venues.  He archives his work at

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