I Used To Be A Dog

When I was a kid I used to pretend I was a dog. When visitors came over I would pad up to them on all fours, pant at them, ask for pats on the head and lie at their feet. 

I would regularly ask if I could lap my water out of a bowl on the floor. I once barked at and chased a teenage boy out of a supermarket. He ran away crying and screaming. He thought I was possessed. 

This behaviour had my mother very worried, so much so that she banned me from behaving like a dog whenever possible.

One day we went to my mum's friend's house and I told her that my mum wouldn't let me drink water out of a bowl like a dog. My mums friend, being a school teacher and obviously much more exposed to the unhinged minds of children said "Oh well I will pet!" and gave me some water in a bowl on the floor which I promptly lapped up.

A few weeks later we were staying at another friends house and they owned a real dog who I adored. I would sit in her basket and cuddle her.

One morning my mum and her friend came downstairs to find me eating the dogs food out of her bowl.  

The thing is, pretending to be a dog was my way of acting. I loved dogs. Being a dog was fun, it was this world I could escape to where I felt happy because in my head it was like a Disney film: Homeward Bound or The Lady and the Tramp. 

As a dog I could live in my perfect make-believe world. As a dog I didn't have to engage with the boring or difficult sides of life. I think being a dog was my early version of telling stories. Instead of writing it down, I acted it out.

When I write stories and scripts and when I make films, it's because I want to be immersed in a story that's far better than real life here right now. 

Isn't that what storytelling is in the end? A reaching out for something better? A little glimpse of hope that we can aspire to? 

Some girls dress up as princesses, I pretended to be a dog. 

I don't do it anymore of course. 


What was the first way you started telling stories?