My Dog Ate My Money

But I’m not even mad.

My Dog Ate My Money

My dog is locked in my room all day.

It’s a boring life for her. She lays on the couch, idly watching the same dresser, the same bed, the same locked door. Every day is the same. Not even the window is cracked on account of security measures. She stays in that room, suffocating in her own scent and loneliness.

Once I get home from school at 4:30, I let her out into the yard and feed her. For a brief thirty minutes, she enjoys freedom. In her joy, she barks. Her bark is her downfall — and for that, she’s locked back up.

Barking is for bad girls.

She goes back into the room. But this time she has company. I accompany her in the room and open the windows, allowing sunlight to stream in. She jumps back onto the couch and stares at the new scenery. But once it gets dark, the windows are closed once again and I’m too busy with homework to be of any good company. And so she stares at me as I work through the night. Around eleven, the lights are turned off and she goes to sleep. The morning will renew the cycle.

For the past two years, she has lived this life of isolation.

Being a good girl can only last so long.

Her boredom gets the best of her at times.

One day, I came home from school to find books strewn across the floor. Pages ripped from their bindings and haphazardously placed randomly in unidentifiable order. She does this thrice more before I start to cover the book cases with a blanket.

The book destroying stops.

And this little entertainment seems to fulfill her for a while. But once again her boredom overwhelms her.

But the books are covered; where does she go next?

I figured that out by opening my door after a long day of school. Walking to the side of my bed not facing the door, I’m prepared to flop down and take a break from the taxing stress of  high school. But before I can reach my destination, I see scraps of paper. Small rips of green paper with a face mauled in half or fourths or just an eye. On some of the papers there’s a number: twenty, one, five.

The rips of paper are money.

It’s the money I had received from Christmas and  my birthday. I had hardly spent any of it. Two hundred dollars worth were barely hanging onto existence, a sloppy wet mess on the floor. And next to the ruined paper is my wallet, shredded out of use.

My mind goes blank. The money had been in my wallet, my wallet in my purse and my purse on my bed. She went through all these obstacles instead of the magazine laying innocently on my pillow? Was this her way of rebelling? I look to her, sitting on the couch, ears perked and head titled slightly to the side, tail wagging playfully behind her.

I explode.

“Bad Girl! That is NOT a good girl.”

And with the meanest look I could conjure up, I pointed at her accusingly.

Her ears droop, the tail falls and head lowers. And that pitiful look stops me from reprimanding her further. As much as I wanted to be mad, I couldn’t. Knowing in the past two years she’s gained a white belly and a rounder stomach from lack of exercise, lack of freedom; I felt my punishment was not nearly as bad as her life.

When my mom got home, I quietly confided in the deeds of the dog. We kept it secret from the rest of the family, Dad especially. If he knew, our status as a dog owner could possibly be ended. Mom went to the bank and they gave us a hundred dollars back. The rest was undistinguishable and would have to be mailed in to be inspected with specialized tools.

So I’m not mad. I got my money back.

But my dog won’t ever get these years of isolation back.