I have a bone to pick with my friend Jeff’s dog, Luna.

I was hanging at Jeff’s place last weekend and everything was going great. But, at one point, Jeff left the room and it was just Luna and me. Immediately, the atmosphere shifted into a terse, stony silence. I was like, okay, why did this just get weird?

I know Luna’s been hanging with our friend group for a while now—not even just in dog years—but I still feel like we don’t really know each other at all. And, look, I’m not trying to create any drama within the group. The last thing I’d want to do is dig up any long-buried hatchets—not that Luna has any problem digging up things that have been long-buried (cough, cough, the neighbor's dead Guinea Pig, Coconut)—and cause some issues that would have otherwise been easily avoided.

You know me, I’m all about letting dead rodents lie.

I brought all of this up with only the purest of intentions. I just wanted to make Luna feel like she was a part of the group, not just “Jeff’s dog.”

But, whenever I hang out with Jeff these days, I feel like he has to be the bridge between Luna and me the entire time: telling me about all the friends Luna made at the dog park (tactless, really) and telling Luna about how I’m not a stranger, I’m a friend while she barks bloody murder at me whenever I arrive (a separate issue, but, like, what’s that all about? I don’t scream at her when she comes over to my place).

It’s sad, but I noticed that every time Jeff leaves the room, we find ourselves struggling to find anything to connect on, and I end up just circling back to her. Like, “Who’s the cutest dog in the world?” or “Who wants a little treat?”—it’s exhausting, quite frankly.

All I’m saying is: would it kill her to ask me a question sometimes? Because I certainly know who the good girl is, and I’d be more than happy to inform her, if she’d just bother to ask! Between the two of us, yes, I know she’s the dog, but couldn’t she throw me a bone every once in a while? For god’s sake, I’m dying to sink my teeth into the dried, fibrous rawhide of a genuine conversation! I’m practically foaming at the mouth.

Plus, whenever Luna and I actually have an opportunity to hang out alone—like when Jeff went on vacation last month—it always feels like a chore. Hanging with a friend should be about catching up, grabbing a drink, maybe talking some shit—not picking up their shit with a baggie and making them beg for a Krafts Single.

Sometimes it feels like Luna and I don’t even speak the same language. I mean, sure, there’s “sit” and “stay” and “lay” and perhaps even the occasional “shake” if we’re at a party or something—but how far could that realistically take us? Especially when she really only enthusiastically engages in those types of conversations with Jeff. She only ever half-listens to everyone else; she doesn’t even have the common courtesy to try and hide it.

Even if I do manage to engage her in a “sit”/”stay”/”lay” discourse, it’s always entirely one-sided. Sure, she’ll respond to those commands like she was trained to, but it all just feels so surface-level! And you know I absolutely detest small talk.

Maybe I’m out of line for saying this; we all know Luna is a super chill dog. She clicks so well with the group and I’m not trying to diminish that at all. I don’t want it to come across like I’m whining (another thing Luna doesn’t seem to have a problem doing).

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I get that. You get that. Luna’s great at picnics and outdoor brunches and casual group hangs. We’re like a fun “group with a dog” now. And I love that.

I guess I’m just hurt that she didn’t even give me a chance. I’d given her the benefit of the doubt time and time again, hoping—praying—that she wasn’t just food-driven, that maybe she’d be motivated by a potential uneasy friendship with a loose acquaintance.

Who wouldn’t want that?

I guess I’ll perpetually need to have a fistful of Purina just to get her to spare even a cursory glance in my direction.

Anyways, at least she’s better than Ella’s new cat, Rodrick—he’s a shameless instigator with a diabolical agenda and it’s time we talked about it!