Now on my deathbed, I’ve had ample time to think back on all the things I could’ve or should’ve done differently. And while most people’s list of regrets include things like “take more risks” and “tell so and so I love them,” I don’t regret any of that. For me, the only thing I truly regret, the one thing that keeps me awake at night besides my swollen bladder, is not petting more dogs.
Way more dogs. Like, a wider variety of dogs too.
And I wouldn’t limit myself to just the popular breeds like Golden Retrievers and Siberian Huskies either. I would pet all the good boys and girls, no matter what kind. I would look beyond my own social circles to find strangers who own dogs I’ve never even seen before. I would join book clubs, adult softball leagues, pyramid schemes, religious organizations, and even 12 Step Programs, all for the sole purpose of meeting their dogs.
I would pet little dogs, big dogs, toy dogs, and dogs that don’t even look like dogs. Boring dogs. Cool dogs. Hot dogs. All the dogs. I would drive everywhere in my little Toyota Camry, diligently on the prowl for stray dogs on the side of the road, just so I could pull over and pet their mangy little heads.
You know how sometimes you’re at a stoplight and notice the car beside you has a dog in it? Well, I used to be one of those people who would just wave or at most go, “awww.” Not anymore. If I had the chance to redo my life, every single time there was a dog at the stoplight, I’d get out of my car, knock on their window, and ask to pet their dog.
I don’t care if the light turns green. Fuck the light. I’m here to pet dogs.
If the driver gets weirded out and refuses to roll down their window, that’s okay. Because I’ll have my crowbar with me. No amount of window is getting in between me and that dog’s furry little skull. And if they drive off before I’m able to pet that good boy, that’s okay too. Because I’ll just follow them home. In fact, that’ll be my second strategy: breaking and entering homes for the sole purpose of petting the dogs within.
So what if it’s a crime? You know what else is a crime? Lying on your deathbed full of regret, wishing you had pet more dogs. The police? Fuck the police. They can come after me if they want, but first, they’ll have to catch me. And I wholeheartedly welcome that challenge, because you know who they’ll have with them? The police dog. And I’d be a fool not to pet a dog in uniform.
Once I’ve finished petting all the dogs in my town, I’ll move on to the next. And then the next. Like the inevitable passage of time, I’ll just keep going and going until I’ve pet every dog in the state, the country, and eventually the whole world. I’ll join cultural exchange programs and house swap apps in order to switch lives with total strangers just so I can zero in on that one very specific aspect of their life: petting their foreign dog as if I were them. I’ll even pursue job opportunities abroad and seek asylum in other countries citing dog-petting persecution in my own country.
Of course, after I’ve pet all the dogs in that country, I’ll turn around and say the same thing to the next country. Then, once I’ve run out of all the dogs in the entire world, I’ll get my Jon Krakauer on and go into the wild.
That’s right. I’m gonna pet some motherfuckin' wolves.
After all, wolves are just dogs that have been deprived of man’s touch. Otherwise they would’ve been sitting and fetching a long time ago. Poor things. On second thought, forget everything I said about petting dogs. If I were given a second chance at life, I’d make it my mission to convert as many wolves into dogs as possible—by petting them. Petting all of them. Lone wolves, packs of wolves, dances with wolves, it doesn’t matter what kind. I’ll convert so many wolves that I’ll come to be known as the Brigham Young of the wolf world.
In lands near and far, I’ll convert wild wolves en masse into good boys and good girls through the power of touch. New dogs will be sprouting up all over the place. It’ll be like the legend of Johnny Appleseed except with dogs instead of trees. Just imagine how many more dogs there’ll be after an entire lifetime. So many dogs. “Johnny Appledogs,” they’ll call me!
Then when I’m finally on my deathbed, for real this time, I’ll finally be able to die in peace, free of any regrets. And when I pass over, I’ll be able to confidently approach those pearly white gates, knowing that I lived a good life, a life dedicated to helping good boys and good girls.
And the bouncer angel will be like, “Oh shit, you’re that guy that pet all those dogs!”
And I’ll be like, “Yeah dawg, it’s me.”
And then he’ll usher me into heaven, which will be absolutely fucking amazing because…
ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN.