Me: Thank you for agreeing to meet with me today.

Puppy: I always come when you call because sometimes you have a treat!

Me: Yes, well, not today. I assume you know why I asked you here today.

Puppy (excitedly): Are you going to feed me again?

Me: No.

Puppy (more excitedly): Are we going to the vet? Because I love the vet!! Except when she asks me to do really impossible things, like stand still.

Me: No, this has nothing to do with the vet.

Puppy (so excitedly, she might explode): ARE YOU GOING TO FEED ME AGAIN?

Me: No! Okay, apparently you don’t know why I asked you here. How long have you been a part of the team here at our house?

Puppy: Umm…forever?

Me: Actually 7.5 years.

Puppy: How long is that?

Me: You know when I make you sit before I give you a treat?

Puppy: Oh, my gosh, that is so long.

Me: Yes, well that is approximately 4 seconds. 7.5 years is a lot of 4 seconds. Suffice it to say, you’ve invested a lot of time here. And they’ve been good years. Overall we’ve been quite pleased with your work. You’re always very supportive of your coworkers…

Puppy: What are coworkers?

Me: They’re people who…

Puppy: I LOVE people!!

Me: Exactly. And we’ve seen you put in long hours, weekends and holidays. Your adorability output is consistently over quota. And that time I was sick, you put in a lot of overtime taking care of me.

Puppy: I licked away all your germs!

Me: Well, you certainly tried. Unfortunately there was this incident today. I know, after all these years, you are aware of the cardinal rule of this family.

Puppy: Oh, yes. “Don’t ever wake Veronica up in the morning unless something is about to come out of either end or else she may not be able to love you anymore and may in fact cause the destruction of the entire planet because there is not enough coffee in the world to make her safe to be around early in the morning.”

Me: Well, yes. That is a very important rule. But there is an even more important one. I have not said it often, but that’s because I sort of assumed it went without saying. The number one rule is, “If you find a dead snake, don’t roll on it.”

Puppy: That’s a rule?

Me: Yes.

Puppy: Has it always been a rule?

Me: Yes.

Puppy: Buuut…what if the snake smells really good?

Me: Why would that matter?

Puppy: Don’t you want me to smell really good?

Me: A dead snake does not smell good!

Puppy: How would you know? You refused to smell it. You just got all screamy and were pulling on my leash, which was very rude, by the way.

Me: I hate snakes!

Puppy: But it was dead!

Me: AND YOU ROLLED ON IT!

Puppy: YES! WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE HAPPY FOR ME?

Me: BECAUSE IT’S DISGUSTING!! Look, I don’t want to argue about this! The fact of the matter is I don’t see how we can possibly move forward from this incident. And so I’m going to have to let you go.

Puppy: Let me go to the vet?

Me: No. I’m saying you’re fired.

Puppy: You can’t fire me!

Me: I’m afraid I just did.

Puppy: I have a contract!

Me: You never signed any contract.

Puppy: I’m a dog! I can’t write.

Me: Maybe you should have considered that before deciding to roll on a dead snake.

Puppy: I’m a dog! I can’t use critical thinking skills! I’m not just going to take this lying down or rolling over. I’ll start a union!

Me: We don’t have any other pets for you to unionize with. You can’t start a union with just one dog.

Puppy: Haven’t you been wanting another dog?

Me:

Puppy:

Me:…dang it! Alright, you’ve won this round. But this incident is still going to be a black mark in your permanent record.

Puppy: I chewed up my permanent record yesterday and hid the pieces somewhere you’ll never find them!

Me: In your crate?

Puppy: *GASP* Who told you about my crate?

Me: Would you please just get out of my office!

Puppy: Fine!

(Crawls into my lap)

Me: What are you doing?

Puppy: This is my office. Now would you mind giving me some privacy, by which I mean belly-rubs?

Me: Fine! I just hope I don’t die of a horrible snake-related disease. You know more people die every year from second-hand snake cooties than in karaoke related accidents. And that’s possibly a fact!

Puppy: Well, did you know households with dogs that smell like ferocious snakes are 62% less likely to be attacked when the squirrels make their play for world domination?

Me: I did not know that.

Puppy: You’re welcome.

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