My name is Sebastian
I am Sebastian the Dachshund. I am chocolate in colour and sweet in nature. I am long in body and short in fur. I am kind and caring to those that love me and fierce towards those that do not. I enjoy feasting upon roast dinners and I love mashed potato and steamed rice covered in gravy. I am one of the smartest dogs you’ll ever meet. I am all these things and more.
Yet, despite all of these truths, the human seems to see me in a completely different light. This is what she sees. She is not sure how to spell or say Dachshund properly, and so she calls me a sausage dog. She has no imagination whatsoever and has therefore named me Sausage. She says I’m brown in colour and cute to look at. She says I bark too much and lick too often. She eats all the good parts of her chicken and steak and throws me the dry bones to chew on. She puts me in weird clothing and funny hats and takes pictures of me. She tells people that I love dressing up. I am none of these things.
It’s a tough life indeed. But what is a dog to do?
I live two separate lives. In the one I am a private dog investigator. I go by the name of Private Sebastian the Great. I have a nose that can smell things from great lengths and dogs come from far so that I can help solve crimes. I have been doing this job for two years and I have solved about one hundred mysteries. Most of the time the culprits have been neighbourhood cats who think they can outsmart me. But they can’t. That’s why they call me the Great. I am well-liked by everyone and even the biggest dogs bow down when they see me. I speak slowly and I have the answers to all the questions.
In my other life I am a pet to a human. I do not speak, but simply bark. My voice is called loud and squeaky and I’m often asked to keep quiet. I have a nose that is always wet and the only thing they think I can sniff is a bone. They think that I have no job because according to them dogs do not work. They think I spend all day lounging around and sleeping. They think that I am scared of cats and mistake my fierce growls for fear. They pick me up when a big dog is near because they are worried I am too small to stick up for myself. They think I’m cute but they do not think I am smart.
My one life is true. My other life is simply how the humans see me. It’s how they see all dogs. They look at dogs and think that they can control them. They whistle and shout orders and expect the dogs to listen to everything they say. Most dogs have just accepted this is as life and even though they get annoyed by humans they have decided not to do anything about it. But I am not just any dog. I am Sebastian the Dachshund and Sebastian the Great! For the last few months I have been teaching myself how to speak human and tonight I am going to finally speak up and tell her how I feel.
Last week I took myself for a walk while the human was at work and I shouted HELLO as soon as I walked past a young couple holding hands. I stood and watched to see what they would do. They looked at me in shocked silence, their eyes blinking in disbelief. The one, who I shall name Stupid the First, looked at the other one, who I shall name Stupid the Second and said “Uh, did that dog just say hello?” Then they both burst out laughing, mumbling something about too much wine and walked away. But I had seen all that I needed to see. The humans could understand me.
Tonight was the night. I could feel it in my doggy bones. I waited until the human had eaten her dinner because I knew how grumpy she got when she didn’t eat. I must admit, it was the one thing I think we had in common. I waited also until she was sitting comfortably on the couch, because we all know how much the humans like to be comfortable. I sat and watched her for a while. She really was a strange creature this one. Firstly, she was odd looking, just as all of her type were. Odd, odd, odd! I mean, they walked on only two of their feet and they had no fur to keep them warm, unless you count that weird mop on top of their head as fur. My human liked to tie hers up and when she walked it bounced from left to right, left to right. But the other human that comes over, the one they call ‘A man’, has the fur on top of his head all cut short, and he even has some on his face. So strange indeed.
I must’ve have been staring for quite some time because she suddenly looked at me and said, “Are you alright Sausage?”
I couldn’t help it. The time had come.
“My name, human, is Sebastian”.
At that moment she had been taking a sip of her drink and when I spoke she spat it all out. The dark red mess was all over her clothes and all over the couch but she didn’t even seem to care. She was staring at me. Just staring. Her eyes had gone all big and she wasn’t even blinking.
“My name is Sebastian”, I said again.
Her eyes got bigger. Oh dear, this was going to be harder than I thought.
I started to edge closer and I noticed her sit back further in her seat. She looked as if she wanted the entire couch to swallow her up. The closer I got the more she started to tremble.
“Now listen human, there is no need to be scared. Just because we could never talk before doesn’t mean I couldn’t understand you. I’ve simply mastered the art of human speech. Stop shaking. Control yourself now.” I raised my voice to show that I was in charge but it seemed to scare her even more. I decided to try a different approach.
I walked up to her and stuck my wet nose on her arm. “Human, I am still the same dog you have always loved and known, but the only difference is now you will be able to understand me. There are so many things you have gotten wrong about me. So many many things. I cannot wait to tell you about all the things that I love and all the things that I simply despise. But for now I simply want to tell you one thing. My name, you see, is Sebastian. Not Sausage. It’s Sebastian.”
She stayed silent and her shaking didn’t stop. I sighed deeply and kept going.
“You can talk now”, I said, my voice a bit softer and gentler then before. I guess a talking dog was something she never thought she’d ever experience in her life. I had to understand where this silly human was coming from.
“Uh. Am I dreaming?”, she said, her voice coming out in a whisper.
“DREAMING?”, I shouted, “No, you’re not dreaming. You’ve just eaten dinner. You’re sitting on the couch. You were watching TV. You are not sleeping, and therefore you are not dreaming”. Oh boy, she really wasn’t all that clever.
“Okay, okay”, she said, her voice still soft.
“Good”, I said, nodding at her. “Then let’s start over. It’s nice to finally talk to you human. We have so many things to look forward to. We’ll deal with that tomorrow. Now, what did you do with that left over mashed potato?”
I walked off to the kitchen, aware that she was staring at me. I smiled to myself. Finally, I thought, I am no longer a pet. I am no longer JUST a dog. I am no longer Sausage. I am Sebastian. Sebastian the Great.