It was pretty clear that the dog had just been wrong. I figured he’d just made an honest mistake, and I didn’t hold it against him at all. But nonetheless, the man was really easy-going, and not hard to get along with at all.
In fact, one of the first things he did was offer me a snack. I was actually a little hungry, so I took it. He had a few Oreos that he was willing to let go of, and they were delicious. I was happy to take them off his hands. And he didn’t seem remotely upset or resentful.
I had thought he might just be bluffing and being polite. Asking if I wanted some, but assuming that I’d say no, and he’d have all his cookies just like before.
But he wasn’t bluffing, so when I took the cookies, he seemed happy to let them go. That was more surprising than the initial offer had been. I had just assumed that he didn’t really want to let go of them. I’d done that before, taken food from people who really hadn’t wanted to share, and while they didn’t say anything, I remember their looks of disappointment.
But Doug wasn’t like that. That was his name. I suggested that he should maybe call himself Adam or Stephen or something, but he said he really liked “Doug,” so he just kept it. And I got used to it after a while, and now I wouldn’t want him to change his name at all.
So, I asked him about the dog, and apparently the dog had wanted a bit of the guy’s jerky. At the time, he didn’t have much extra, and Doug wasn’t willing to let it go. He tried to be as polite as possible about it, but he could tell that the dog was resentful about it. When he had some more, he went back to the dog and shared some jerky with him, but the damage was done. The dog had a negative opinion of him, and no amount of jerky was going to change that.
I decided that something needed to be done about that. To be clear, neither Doug nor the dog had even mentioned it. Doug just didn’t seem to care at all, and the dog was irritated, but I got the impression that as long as he didn’t see Doug, he really didn’t care either. So, the whole reconciliation was my own issue.
I figured that the dog might relax if Doug built him a house. The dog really needed a house. He spent his days tied up in the yard with no shelter. So, when it rained, he got soaked, and when it was hot, he just had a little patch of shade by the tree to rest. He could really use a house.
I tricked Doug into building it. I told him it was for me. He looked at me a little funny that I would want a house, but I stood my ground, and he went for it. I couldn’t use tools, so I obviously couldn’t do it myself.
Of course, I didn’t really need it at all. I could always find shelter if I wanted, but as far as Doug knew, I needed a house. So, he got to work on it for me.
Really, it was just building a box and then putting a slanted roof on top. It didn’t take him long. He was pretty handy anyway. The last thing he did when it was all finished was the painting. The roof was red, and the walls were yellow.
When it was finished, he took it over to the lot with the dog in it. The dog still wouldn’t say anything to Doug, but the man put the house down under the tree anyway. He looked over at me quizzically as it had become clear who the house was actually for. I could maybe sit on top of it or something, but it was clearly meant for the dog.
It got sniffed for a while before the dog was willing to go inside of it. And even then, he kept turning around and snuffling at the inside of it. Took him about a half hour to just lie down and get comfortable.
But when he finally did, I asked him again what he thought of Doug. The man had left almost as soon as he’d put the house down. I’d been thinking he’d stay for a while, but it was actually fine that he left so quick. It meant the dog was off the hook and could just enjoy the new house.
And while the dog still seemed a little surly about it, he had to admit that Doug was a pretty decent guy.