A: Jenna, you know that you’re not supposed to be on the bed.
J: That’s when Pete’s here. When you’re here, things are different.
A: No it’s not. Get off the bed.
J: (Yawns and groans). Where did Pete go?
A: To see his family.
J: When will he be back?
A: In a week and two days.
J: Good. So I can sleep at the foot of this bed until then.
A: I’d actually prefer if. . . .
J: Pete’s being away is good. You give me extra food. By the way, the water bowl is empty. And you need to pick up the dog poop on the trail. Pete does this regularly.
A: Yes, Jenna.
J: Are you going to take the horses out this afternoon?
J: I want to go with you. But I think that you should leave that little brown and white one at home.
A: Why’s that?
J: She’s dangerous. Someday she’s going to do a dog in.
A: Why do you think this?
J: She has it out for dogs. She lowers her head and chases us.
A: You don’t think she’d hurt any of you, do you?
J: I don’t know. But I don’t want to be the one who ends up in the North Star Veterinary Clinic. I hate that place. I don’t particularly like the groomer’s place either.
A: Jenna, I have a question for you. Do dogs have souls?
J: Oh yes.
A: And do you think dogs go to heaven when they die?
J: When they die? Dogs die? Like Chickens and goats? Here one day, gone the next?
A: Yeah, dogs die, just like chickens and goats.
J: I thought dogs lived forever. No one has ever told me differently.
A: Not even Rainbow?
J: Rainbow and I don’t talk much about those kinds of things. We talk about dog stuff, like whose butt smells good and whose butt does not smell good.
A: Jenna, I hate to say it, but yes, someday you’ll die. And you’ll go where Peaches, and Henny Penny Palin, and Snooky, and Catchi, and Stubbi, and Henrietta all went.
J: Where’s that?
A: We’ll bury you on the hill and your spirit will go elsewhere.
J: I want to live forever. Life here is pretty dang good. I get two meals of chow a day, floor scraps, fresh water, and exercise. And most days I get to hang out with you. And when Pete’s away I get to hang out on the bed. Not all dogs have it this good.
A: Back to the subject of souls. What does your soul look like?
J: A soul is simply a light that shines within.
A: I see. Do all dogs have souls?
J: Yes, absolutely.
A: Even mean, nasty dogs?
J: Yes, even mean, nasty dogs. However, the souls of their owners are a bit dimmer.
A: Does my soul shine brightly?
J: Yes. Especially when you allow me to sleep on the bed.
A: Well then, does Pete’s soul shine brightly?
J: Pete and I, we really need to have a talk when he gets back. He needs to know that his soul would shine more brightly if he let sleeping dogs, like this one, lie.
Next: 68. 3/9/13: Taking the Easy Way Out