Unleashed and Completely Bare Neck-ed


Young pup, Cooper, listens transfixed and deep in imagination as his Papa recounts the ancient days of the First Dogs

“I’ll tell you this, Cooper, my son, third pup among my first mate's second litter. They say that in the days of my great grandmother’s very first litter the dogs used to live without collars around their necks.”

“Can that be true, Papa?”

“Once the oldest and wisest of the gray-furs among us gathered at the dog park to count back as many fur-sheddings as they could collectively remember. They concluded that in those early days of the First Dogs, there were no other creatures in the land.”

“No other creatures? Can that be?”

“That’s what the old, gray sniffers say. They say that in those days of the First Dogs we were alone in the world.”

“There were no cats? Not even a squirrel?”

“Why, not even a field mouse. In those days there was neither foot nor hoof nor claw but only dog paw that made tracks in the mud and sands.”

“What did the dogs do all day if there were no squirrels to hunt or cats to chase?”

“One can only imagine. I suppose that mostly they slept in the sun and lapped at the streams and groomed themselves throughout the day. You know, they had very well-groomed fur in those days before there were flees and ticks.”

“It must have been wonderful to live in a time before flees and ticks!”

“Ah, yes, to live free of flees and ticks. But, Cooper, my pup, it was also a time before there were people.”

“Were there really no people either?”

“If you can believe it was a land un-peopled.”

“So is that why there were no collars?”

“That’s exactly right, Cooper, my little barker! You see it was the First People who gave our ancestors the gift of a collar.”

“What happened when the First People came, Papa?”

“Well, Cooper, my young sniffer, when the First People came at first all was of confusion and there was so very much senseless barking.”

“Then what happened?”

“Despairing of how things were, eventually the dogs and the people held a council.”

“A council of dogs and people?”

“Yes. They called it the First Great Bow-Wow. We dogs agreed to allow people into our packs and the people agreed to provide us all the very best food to eat and plenty of pesky cats to chase and, of course, they gifted us fine collars and tags to wear.”


The First Dogs hold council with the First People at the First Great Bow-Wow

“It sounds like it was a very good agreement.”

“Certainly we gave much to the people in allowing them to join our packs and to play fetch with us. But, yes, we dogs gained much for ourselves also. We got collars and harnesses and even leashes so that we could yank and pull during the walks with our people.”


“Oh, you know I love yanking and pulling during walks!”

“I know you do, Cooper, my young face-licker, and I’m very proud of what a strong yanker and puller you’ve become.”

“Papa, it just seems so strange to think that in the days of Great Great Grandma’s first litter there were no people in our packs and no collars to wear?”

“Hard to believe, I know, but you can’t argue with wise, old gray-furs. They say the First Dogs roamed unleashed and lived completely bare neck-ed.”

“I wonder what it was like.”

“Those were different times but you can still see some who live like those First Dogs without people in their packs and without a collar around their neck. In fact, there used to be some in our neighborhood before a nice woman came and found them new homes.”

“Do they live like First Dogs because they prefer it, Papa?”

“Goodness! Most certainly they don’t! But, you see, when the dogs and people struck their deal at the First Great Bow-Wow, the First Dogs couldn’t know that they would breed more than there are people willing to join in a pack. That is why some unlucky dogs are left out.”

“It must be so sad to be without a person in your pack and without a collar around your neck.”

“Yes. It’s a very sad thing, Cooper, my pupper. We are a couple of very lucky barkers to live in such a fine pack with a good person and to be so well groomed and fed and, of course, to be so handsomely collared!”

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Los Angeles, CA, USA + Panajachel, Guatemala