Humor writer and essayist Riane Konc took to the internet to bring the joy of living dogs back to classic novels. Thanks to her, it is now safe to read Old Yeller, Marley & Me, and many others without crumbling into bits and pieces after the dog dies.
It came clear to me that Mama was right. And from everything I had heard, I knew that there was very little chance of Old Yeller’s escaping the sickness. It was going to kill something inside me to do it, but I knew then I had to shoot my big yeller dog.
“Come on out back behind the barn,” I said to him, a little too harshly, the words barely squeaking past the lump in my throat.
Old Yeller followed me back behind the barn. And that’s when I did it. That’s when I shot my yeller dog.
I don’t know if that’s the term: I think maybe I shoulda said “gave a shot to my yeller dog” instead of “shot my yeller dog,” but it don’t matter. It was still the hardest thing I ever did, because I’m dead afraid of needles, and I never dreamed I’d have to give a rabies shot to my own dog, but it was the right thing to do. Right away, Old Yeller seemed back to his old self: jumpin’ around and lickin’ me, and lappin’ up big bowls of water. He didn’t even complain too much about the shot. His rabies was gone.
Konc fixed books we didn’t even know needed fixing including The Odyssey, even going so far as to add a modern twist to a much happier, dog-filled ending.
The dog Argos lay there, covered in ticks,
But as soon as he became aware of Odysseus,
He leapt to his feet
And put his paws upon Odysseus’ shoulders and it was
Almost as though they were hugging.
The dog’s paws wrapped around the man’s shoulders
As they shook and shook.
It was as though no time had passed
Between man and dog.
“Who is this dog?” Odysseus asked at last, smiling through tears
As though he did not know his own pup.
“Who is this good boy?
Who is this good boy?
Who is this good boy?”
And the swineherd, though he still did not realize
The identity of Odysseus
Was filming the whole encounter
Because he knew good content when he saw it
And later, without Odysseus’ knowledge,
He uploaded the video on YouTube
Where it was titled “Dog Greets Soldier Coming Home”
And it received well over 3 million views.
Thank you, Riane Konc, for saving my soul from crumbling with every passing literary dog and by giving happy endings to every good boy.
Featured Image Via Rover.