PETS by Travis Flatt

We’ll break into your house and pet the shit out of your dog. Not literally. If your dog shits inside then you’re safe. Housebreak your dog. Have some decency for chrissakes. It’s not our job to clean up its mess. But, we won’t go through your stuff or steal anything. We’re not criminals. You’ll never know we were here. Well, if you wake up and your dog seems a little extra cheerful, like she–we prefer girl dogs, they don’t piddle as much when they’re excited–has gotten lots of attention, then you’ve been paid a visit by PETS.

 Originally, we went by P.W.L.P.D., which stood for People Who Like Petting Dogs, obviously, but that acronym sucked, so we changed it to “PETS” because it sounds cooler, even if it doesn’t stand for anything. It’s not even an acronym. Yet, anyway. We could still make it one. For now, we’re too busy petting dogs. 

Several months ago, we were all smoking a doober around the firepit and hatched the idea. As usual, no one could muster the courage to start the orgy that we kept joking about–okay, that’s enough personal information. I was joking about the orgy. And the doober. And the firepit.

Anyway, we realized that all of us had recently lost a dog–I refuse to use the term “fur baby,” as I never once humanized ***, because I knew that the day would come when she… ahh, you almost got me there, when he or she would die, and it would be almost too much for me to bear. That’s the problem with dogs: they’ve got a relatively short shelf life.

“What if we started a company where people paid us to pet their dogs while they were at work,” someone said. “Like a dog walking service.” None of us were ready to adopt or buy a new dog, to go through all of that again. But the idea of just having one around to pet when you wanted–that sounded pretty goddamn sweet. When we sobered up we realized how ridiculous it sounded, that no one in their right mind would pay strangers to pet their dog. Or let us pay them. I guess.  

Hence PETS.

The breaking and entering and trespassing part is unfortunate, sure, but we’re super-careful. So far, no one’s been hurt. We do lots of research. We don’t hit strangers. We don’t hit gun owners. We’ve got rules. We’re not stupid. Not crazy.

We’re not crazy.

If you notice a friend getting really, like, physical with your dog, if it seems like they’re giving them maybe a few extra scritches behind the ears–well, maybe you should keep an eye on them. If this behavior continues, perhaps consider asking them about PETS. If you’re interested, we’re always recruiting. 

Travis Flatt is a teacher and actor living with his wife and son in Cookeville, Tennessee. He enjoys fluffy dogs and fluffy dog-related activities. His stories appear or are forthcoming in JMWW, Heavy Feather Review, Rejection Letters, Drunk Monkeys, and other places.

Twitter: @WriterLeeFlatt

Instagram: tlflatt42

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