New Puppy Weaponizes Owner’s Dysfunctional Polycule

I’m a firm believer that we choose our owners more than they choose us.

My siblings? Absolutely jazzed about the whole farmhouse thing. I mean, it’s pretty chic, but in more of a protagonist-pre-call-to-action kinda way. I always saw myself becoming a Brooklyn icon, passed between artsy dilettantes till I died, 21 years old, drinking a Vogue model’s laced kombucha.

Jonty and Clementine showed up in my 11th hour, barely beating out the tow truck driver who liked my “lil’ floppy ears.” Forget New York, New York: with that guy, I’d be lucky to see Gary, Indiana (and from a passenger seat reeking of Axe body spray and cigarettes, no less.)

To establish myself as the main character in Jonty and Clementine’s bohemian fairy tale, I made sure to chew up the former’s David Lynch T-Shirt.

“The feral vibes here are simply perfect,” Clementine had said, my ally since I assented to wearing the scratchy sweater she’d crocheted to look like a Wes Anderson costume B-side.

Jonty was mad at me until Clem went to work and his friend Thicc Non-Binary Stella came over. They scratched my ears while he continuously misgendered them during a one-sided conversation about postmodern queer theory. To their face, Jonty just called them Stella. Their full, legal title seemed only to exist in his iPhone contacts.

“This little guy changed my life,” Jonty said, “I feel, like, primal. Have you read Sex At Dawn? I just, wow, you know, really know that love is best when shared.”

Before they locked me out of the room and started grunting and hooting and blasting Tame Impala, he couldn’t shut up about the commune they’d start, where “artists could just be.” Newsflash, Jonty-boy: people at the farmhouse get up about 5 hours before your 11:30 wakeup. Try romancing a socialite paramour in the horse shed; you’ll realize this is overrated.

Clem was finally convinced to open their relationship up about a month later. When Jonty brought TN-B Stella to dinner the week after, he told Clem that they’d met just that week at a coffee shop. He was shooting me daggers all night. I should’ve alerted Clem, who was actually nice to me, but I’m weak. The Beggin’ Strips sultrily poking out of his pocket were too strong a temptation.

Clem’s work life got super busy, so most nights Jonty took me out alone. Everyone loved me, as they should, including, and I’m not bragging here, Paris Hilton’s dog Lucky’s  third cousin. I am truly the luckiest puppy to ever be used as a prop in a bar.

One night Jonty and I returned to find Clem snuggled up to a man named Switchblade. The absolute drama that ensued when I ran to Switchblade all sweet and lolling, really playing up the whole dogs-as-best-judges-of-character thing.

Jonty slept on the couch that night. After breakfast, Switchblade left to go in early for a shift at his non-profit. Clem comforted a pouting Jonty. After she buttered him up with copious praise about his beatnik haikus, he asked how she’d feel about a “womxn-centered polyamory.”

“This would be a great opportunity for you to explore your sexuality,” he said.

“So I’d only sleep with other women, and you’d only sleep with other men?”

“No, honey, I am tragically heterosexual.”

The crux of his argument centered around gorillas and their harems, and on how unlike him, most straight men don’t belong in “queer spaces.”

I was rabidly excited when Clem asked how a questionably defined open relationship was, in any way, a queer space. Unfortunately, Jonty was saved when his phone beeped to remind him to feed their sourdough starter.

Switchblade brought his chihuahua over for a playdate, a few days later. That saucy minx regaled me with tales of wild sex parties, dog park art shows; in short, everything I’ve dreamed of. I started to think wow, okay, once J & C iron out the kinks (namely, voyeurism), this’ll be my ticket to dog starletship. Perhaps they’ll make me a TikTok account.

I was sloshed on a bit of spilled beer, so I didn’t notice I was being made fun of until it was too late.

“Sweetheart, Jonty’s what we call ‘training wheels.’ Clem’ll dump him around the third time he gets mad about Switchblade. You better hope she takes you in the divorce.”

Without drastic action, I knew that, to the dogeratti, I’d always be some starry-eyed farm hound that almost made it.

For the sake of my career, I destroyed every band shirt, hid every ring, and de-laced every pair of Doc Martens that Jonty owned. If this doesn’t work, I’ll be forced into DefCon 1: making a chew toy of his pedestaled copy of Infinite Jest.

Jonty must go the way of the truck driver who tried to adopt me, abandoned alongside the sweater that Clem had forgotten about, anyway, after getting a moderately successful Instagram post out of it.

I won’t be two forever.

Barking Dog Nocturnal

The coyotes didn’t show themselves, no matter how hard I searched. Some nights my mom came into my room and stroked my hair before I left to search them out.