I Put the Fear of God into My Dog

Article by Mike Bellinger

Betty is a small, fat, hairy dog that lives in the same house as me. There’s your backstory.

Betty might walk into the kitchen, tail wagging, ears pricked, and I will greet her with enthusiasm, a smile, and that patronizing, high-pitched voice that people speak to dogs with. After I have greeted the hound, I then look away and pretend to concentrate on other things. Maybe I’m polishing a plate for some reason… it doesn’t matter. It’s all a ruse, with Betty now believing she is safe.

I like to imagine that this hairy little midget of a dog has built up an empire of lies and deceit, and remains constantly on edge. Without warning I then snap my gaze back to her at a hundred miles an hour. The dog immediately realizes the gravity of the situation and her ears flatten down on her head like two armies simultaneously retreating. The tail has long since stopped wagging. This is because my gaze does not feature the previous smile. This is a look which stuns her, freezing her to the spot.

I don’t just look at Betty with fury, because that would be cliché; rather, I tend to give her a sad, betrayed look, with a hint of intense bloody vengeance. The kind of look a movie hero gives to the villain, if said villain killed his father twenty years ago, when he finally tracks him down at the end of the film. The wind would billow through my gorgeous long hair (I’m the hero), and the rain would bucket down onto my body, and flashes of lightning in the night sky would illuminate the moisture, accentuating my rippling physique. I would be shot in slow motion, and I would also be backlit, because it makes you look good. We would be situated on the edge of a mountain, just us, everyone else dead, as epic music plays in the background, and I would roar as I raise the sword over my…

Hero raises sword in epic battle scene of 300 movie

Sorry. I got a little carried away.

After giving Betty "the look," I begin issuing the verbal threats. This is one bullied mutt. The verbal threats generally consist of the same few stock phrases:

  • "This is it, Bet!"
  • "It’s all over for you now, Bet!"
  • "It’s all come crashing down, Bet!"
  • "You’ve been found out, Bet!"

All delivered in a comically exaggerated style.

I like to imagine that this hairy little midget of a dog has built up an empire of lies and deceit and, like a deceptive movie villain (who almost got away with it), remains constantly on edge. This explains her stopping dead in her tracks, with a guilty look, as soon as I give her "the look," leaving me as the hero—the man who reveals her lies to the world. Maybe she wasn’t really a dog all along, maybe she secretly planned to kill and eat the cat, that kind of thing.

I’m not sure if this makes me a bad person. After giving her "the look," I always give her a treat and send her on her happy way. I’m sure she’s a little suspicious of me. But that comes with the territory, I guess.

The fact is that there are people out there who do exactly the same with their dogs, so don’t judge me. You do it too. You may not have the same routine with your dog, but you almost certainly have a routine. Maybe you don’t give your dog "the look"; maybe you like to make your dog wear a burger bap on its head all day. It’s just your routine, and I don’t judge you for it. Maybe you don’t have a dog; maybe you play "the look" game with your overweight mother with a heart condition instead. In which case, I’d advise you to stop doing that.

What is the point of this article?

Well, people like to think they’re unique.

  • "I’m not like other girls."
  • "OMG I’m so random and weird."
  • "I’m different."

Those are phrases you might hear quite commonly.

But you’re not different. And I’m not either. For every weird thing you think only you do, there are anywhere from 12 to 1,000,000,000 people doing the same thing. And yes, there are other people who play stupid games with their pets. In fact, I guarantee you there are at least 86,000,000 people around the world who do this too. They may not say the exact lines I say to my dog, but they’re going to be pretty darn close. They may sing soothing lullabies or reveal dark secrets to their pet every time (they think) they’re alone in the house with their four-legged friend.

Who knows. People are weird, and most people are remarkably similar.

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