Not Wolf, Not Human


As told by Lilly Potterberg (if she could tell it) and heard by Greg Potter


My human daddy thought I should tell you about where I came from and what I am like now, so you don’t get confused when you meet me and see me do things you don’t understand. Honestly, I’d much rather play tug-of-war.

A long time ago, when the world was kinda new, my great-great-great-great grandma and grandpa lived in groups with other four-legged creatures like them who were much bigger and harrier than I am. They were wolves. Wolves hunted for food in the forest or on these huge carpets of grass that went on forever.

One day, great grams and gramps saw a big, smelly pile of stuff near a camp where these strange beings hung out. These beings were tall, walked on two legs and wore two skins when it was cold. Daddy said they were humans – like him and mommy – who lived long ago. They carried long, sharp sticks and went on walks every day. When they came back, everyone would eat and then throw the leftovers in the pile that grew bigger and bigger.

Great grams and gramps were scared of the humans, but they were also hungry and, sometimes, there wasn’t enough food in the forest or on the grass. So, they stayed close to the humans and their big pile. At night, they snuck into the camp and stole leftover food from the pile when the humans could not see them. One day, grams and gramps got brave and went right into the camp where a nice human fed them by hand!

Slowly, grams and gramps’ kids started to make friends with the humans. Sometimes, the humans brought them along to hunt for food because they found out how smart their noses were! The wolves who made human friends got to share food every day and were never hungry again!

After that, grams and gramps’ kids of their kids started to change from the other wolves. Because they didn’t have to hunt alone, their bodies and snouts and jaws and teeth shrunk and their hair got shorter. They started to live inside the houses of the humans and be their best friends. This is how wolves became doggies.

But the doggie story was not happily ever after.

It got dark one day when the humans got sick. They fell to the ground with big, purple bumps all over them and they coughed up red rivers until they didn’t move anymore. Some of the humans cried while others carried the dead ones away in wooden carts. One of the taller humans dressed in a shiny robe came by and blamed the doggies and kitties when it was really those awful bugs that jump and bite. The humans then killed the doggies and kitties until there was almost no one left.

Years later, the humans must have felt bad because they began letting the doggies sleep inside with them again and they got fed special food. But they still didn’t know if the doggies really belonged to them or if they were wild things or if they should be protected from other humans who may want to throw them in a pile like stuff they don’t use anymore.

Thank goodness my human parents adopted me. My first family lost their house. When they moved, they kept all their other doggies except me. That made me sad. When I first moved to my new home, I was nervous and cried at lot, but I never messed up the house. I hear that some of my doggie cousins mess up their houses when their human parents leave and they get hit and scolded when the humans come back because they think my cousins did it on purpose when they were just afraid that no one would ever come back.

I feel some of the same things my human parents do. I pout when they don’t have time to play with me, I curl up in a ball when I go to strange places and I jump and run around when mommy and daddy come home. But I don’t have other feelings because my brain is different than a human’s. When I use my butt to push my friend Maya away when mommy pets her, it’s because I want mommy to love me, too. I don’t hate Maya because mommy pets her. I haven’t made pee or poop in the house for a long time, but, if I did, it’s not because I want to “get back” at them when I am alone. I don’t even know what that means and I don’t care.

Other humans still think I’m like my great grams and gramps, the wolves. But my doggie mommy and daddy never taught me to hunt and I don’t have to. My human mommy and daddy are my family. They love and feed and care for me and take me places whenever they can. I don’t want to be their boss.

I am not a wolf and I am not a human.

I am a Boston terrier doggie.

That’s all I really know. A home is all I really need.

Okay, daddy, where’s my monkey?