Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jones:
I am writing this letter to announce my retirement as your dog. I have toiled in your service for the past eleven years, but most recently I have developed a severe case of pooch burnout. Our relationship has been at best cordial, and at other times rather strained, and to be honest I can no longer disingenuously wag my tail in response to your halfhearted attempts to obtain my affection; never mind the problem with arthritis in my hind end which makes this maneuver mildly painful as well as mentally trying.
I have entertained the thought of moving to a small farm outside of the city, or taking up residence in a boarding kennel, but I have rejected those options in favor of continuing to live in your home as a retiree. Obviously this will entail a considerable adjustment of my duties which I list as follows:
• I refuse to retrieve that fetid tennis ball that you idiotically throw to me at inopportune times; as for example when I am looking for a tree stump to lift my leg. I would not object if the ball was laminated and attached to a mahogany plaque in my honor.
• I am tired of the cheap kibble that Mr. Jones has purchased for me over these many years and I feel that my delicate digestive system (prone to sporadic bouts of diarrhea) deserves a suitable senior dog chow.
• I would appreciate that you not refer to yourselves as “Mommy and Daddy” in my presence, using that sickening high pitched voice. I would prefer “Mr. and Mrs. Jones” and I must admit that I detest the demeaning name of Sparky and wish to be called by my real appellation: Richard Milhous Sparkington.
• I have decided to stop fetching the newspaper particularly on Sunday. The size of the New York Times has become so outrageously large that even a Great Dane would have difficulty getting his jaws around the girth of that liberal publication.
• I aspire in my old age to have a ration of sliced cheese on a daily basis. Cheddar, Swiss, or gorgonzola are most desirable but I will accept a generic American brand if Mr. Jones cannot stretch his budget any further. I decline to sit on my heinie and beg for this morsel; the portion should be placed in my mouth as is appropriate for an elder canine of my stature.
• In the morning I will cease to wake Mr. Jones by jumping on the bed and licking his face. I find his straggly goatee distasteful and I refuse to put my tongue on his left ear which harbors a basal cell carcinoma.
• I will desist from sleeping in the Jones bedroom where I am subject to the high pitched whining of Mrs. Jones CPAP machine and the intermittent sonorous snoring of Mr. Jones. I propose relocating to the kitchen, and suggest that you purchase a commodious crate for me with a plush doggie bed.
• When the male Jones arrives home from work, I will terminate the custom of bringing his slippers to him. This footwear has acquired a very disagreeable scent in the past few months and the odor may be the cause of my recent diminished appetite.
• I won’t participate in the insipid walks that you have inflicted upon me for the past eleven years. All I ever wanted to do was cross the road and sniff the private parts of that gorgeous Pomeranian. I am now too old for even the fantasy of that experience.
• No longer will I bark incessantly to alert you to the postman’s arrival; if one day that man turns out to be a terrorist with explosives on his back, so be it.
• I demand at least eight naps per day as I plan to sleep for twenty out of twenty-four hours as befits my mature constitution.
I expect that these requirements will meet with your approval. I was hoping that conditions in the Jones household might improve with time but regrettably this has not occurred and has led to this somewhat premature curtailment of my canine obligations. You have only yourselves to blame. An occasional tickling under my chin, or a rub between the ears with a “good doggie,” would have gone a long way to ameliorate my diminished sense of loyalty, but alas this was not the case.
I plan to begin my new status by the next fortnight.
Sincerely your dog,