My soggy cigarette hangs limply in my mouth. I resurrected it from a life of sidewalk neglect this morning and carried it home on my soft palette. Now I wish I hadn’t. It smells like Dirty Dave the plumber who lives on 5th and Main and tastes uncannily like his workplace. Merde. I struggle with my lighter in my dimly lit kennel and find myself looking back on my childhood. This momentary wave of nostalgia leaves me asking the unrelenting question, “Do I have any regrets?”
I only have a few more years left of roaring twenties as I am roughly twenty-eight (if you subscribe to the clumsy 7:1 dog to human year of life ratio). As my thirties steadily approach, Edith Piaf blares in the background of my youth. Gone are the days of my people fashioning twine around my neck and stuffing me inside jackets and vests. Gone are the days of living without haircuts, without brushes and life before my hair turned grey with age. Yes dear reader, it’s true: all things must come to an end.
Four years it’s been since they took me from that dirty, swampy pen of my youth. Four years it’s been since I was rescued from my fellow inmates; the yapping Maltese pup and that cruelly abusive albeit beautifully proportioned Miniature Pinscher we used to call Big Mike. Four years it’s been since I first set foot in this house, the place I now defend as my home. Looking back I realize how lucky I was.
This doesn’t stop me from wondering if I could have had it better, though. If I could have been liberated from the tall metal cages of my youth by humans with a better interior design sense, who carpeted their house with Sharp Cheddar and shelved sheets of milk bones in their lower bookcases. Perhaps even if this had been the case I would have wondered if there was something better still.
No. As my cigarette ashes on the worn pillows of my kennel, I reach a moment of truth: In the words of my dear Edith, “Non, je ne regrette rien.”