My name is Taz, and this is the story of my retirement from active duty to civilian life as a service dog. My hashtag is #tazoteausmc and this Day 49.
I’m so confused. Please send help. And taco.
Mom told us we were going to ride in the car. She didn’t tell me where, or I would have run away. When we got out, the beach was gone, and there were mountains everywhere. And it was cold. The closest Taco Bell was 40 miles away. What was she thinking?
There are more of those feathered things living in cages in the house here. They’re insane and bite the humans, and they scream all day long every day. Nothing makes them shut up except the food dude, but he’s at work all day. It hurts my ears so much. I tried to make friends with them because they throw food at me, but it was a cruel trick to get me close enough to bite me. I still fall for it every time. Because food. And friends. I can’t wait for the day the humans cook them and we eat them. That’s the ONLY reason to keep them. When they’re fat enough, they’ll put them in the oven. Then we’ll have food and quiet.
I don’t have any friends here. The furry terrorists called Ned and Cheeto hate it here, too, and they act like it’s all my fault even though I’m as confused as they are. They wait until it’s dark and I’m sleeping to attack me. Mom says I wake up the whole house when I howl, but what else can I do? Their attacks are relentless and stealthy. I miss my friends at the dog beach so much. Toby and Come Back Here and Stop That probably wonder what happened to me. I want to play with other dogs so badly, but there aren’t any around except the stupid one who can’t hear and doesn’t do anything, and there are no dog parks.
The good news is that I’ve got the humans almost trained. All it took was consistency and focus. Oh, they resisted and yelled and tried to do what they wanted. But I’ve been single-minded. They now feed me whenever I want, let me out when I want, let me in when I want and give me their food when I want it. I’m pretty much in charge of all the things that matter. Given the fact that Mom came up with this escapade, I think that’s best for all of us. Maybe she needs a rest? She says she’s afraid that I’m going to going to throw a food dish at her head if I don’t get what I want. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Human training is an arduous process.
There’s a lot of room for me to run as fast as I want here. I race all the way around the house and through the trees and across the fields, and it feels so good. Not like the beach felt. But good, I guess. And there are lots of huge beasts who smell like dinner and make funny noises in the fields. I try to play with them every day, but the humans yell at me. Mom asked me if I’m trying to commit “suicide by cow.” I don’t know what that is, but if it means I can play chase and run with the dog sized ones who just arrived, I’m all in.
This morning, I took off like the wind, and my boy ran after me, and Mom’s friend ran after us, and then the farm guy came, too. Mom stood on the porch. Mom says she doesn’t doesn’t run unless she’s the one who’s being chased. It was glorious; all of us were running so fast early in the morning, and we were barking and yelling. I finally felt free.
But then I ran into the barn and immediately collided with a big machine. I howled at the top of my lungs to get the murderous thing away from me. Panicked, I backed up into a big pile of rakes and shovels and knocked them over. The noise scared me even more, and I whined and took off out the back to escape the dark death chamber. That’s when I came face to face with the biggest black dinner camel I’ve ever seen.
Mom yelled, “Yo, Taz. Dude. I get it. Want taco?” And I ran to her. Because I love taco, and I love Mom.
Here, they make me wear an ugly orange vest so hunters don’t shoot me because I look like a wolf. Seriously? How stupid are the hunters here? And people are allowed to shoot me if I go near the dinner camels, too. Mom says I have to leave them alone. I’m telling you, she brought me to hell.
My boy is sad all the time now. At first, I think he was trying to get used to things, but it was too hard. He cries almost every day, and he doesn’t even want to play with his computer friends. Mom and I try to make him feel better, but it doesn’t help much. I hear her on the phone telling people how worried she is about him. He has migraines almost every day, and he never feels good anymore. He always feels sick or tired. Mom says it was like this for him before we lived at the beach.
Why did we have to leave the beach? I snuggle with him when I can, and I watch over him. Sometimes we sit together and play, and sometimes he hugs me and falls asleep on me. Mom is so sad, too. She tries to hide it, but I remember her happy smell. It’s gone. I think she left it at the beach. She cries at night after the boy goes to sleep. I hate that they are so sad. I hate this place.
Mom says we’ll be back at the beach soon. I hope that’s the truth. I’m really worried about them, but I think we’ll be okay as long as we have taco.
— Excerpt from the Diary of Taz, a Retired Military Service Dog
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