Author’s Note: This is an open letter to Ziggy, one of the office dogs here at BarkPost.
Everyone loves Ziggy. And Ziggy loves everyone. Except me. Day after day, and despite my best efforts, Ziggy repeatedly ignores me. It’s been difficult for me to deal with. After all, Ziggy is a dream dog, a certified Dingus, and a great cuddler — or so I hear. I’ve never gotten to experience any of that. Finally, after months of excruciating and expensive counseling, my therapist, Dr. Wilder*, suggested I write a letter to Ziggy himself.
The letter appears below. While immeasurably painful to write, I hope it provides comfort to others who have suffered from neglect at the paws of a wonderful dog who, for some reason, simply cannot give them the time of day.
*Subject asked that their name be changed.
Why do you ignore me? Every morning, every night, and at each turn in between, I feel your icy indifference.
I’ve known a lot of dogs in my life, and they’ve all been great — my family’s dogs, my friends’ dogs, random ones I’ve met at a dog park and never saw again. But I’ve never met one like you, Ziggy. No dog has ever intrigued me, infuriated me, or completely enraptured me the way you do.
Don’t you know, Ziggy, that I eagerly await your arrival each morning? That I turn my chair to face the front of the office, that I wait with breath that is bated for the sound of the elevator beep, the sweet ding! sound that trumpets your appearance? That when you walk across the office threshold, it’s the most exciting moment of my day?
As you approach, I pray that you’ll say hi to me, just this once. I recite my affirmations silently to myself: “This time will be different, this time will be different, he’s gonna say hi, he’s gonna say hi.” You glide into the office, and I am stunned speechless by the sight of you. Without words to utter, I can only extend my hand towards you, hoping for a friendly sniff, a gentle nuzzle, or — dare I say it? — a tender kiss.
But I get nothing from you. Nothing. Not even a glance. It’s as if you’ll look anywhere but me.
Instead, you turn towards others. Will. Tiffany. Sonia. Jonathan. Ariana Grande. The list goes on. And to each of them you snuggle, kiss, hug, and play. But you walk right by me, as if I am a ghost or some sort of cat lover.
I want to shout at my co-workers, “Go ahead, rub it in, you smelly d-ckbags!” But I don’t. At least, not anymore.
Instead, I retreat further into shattered silence and stare blankly at you. I’ve grown quite accustomed to seeing the back of your head.
I will admit I am not without fault here. I am a lot of woman. I know I came on too strong. I know that on my first day of work, I walked right up to you, squished my face against yours, and cried, “SMOOCHES, ZIGGY! SMOOCHES!” because I’d seen everyone else do that and receive a delicious kiss from you in return.
But there was no kiss. Just that blank look in your cold, dead eyes, a look I’ve come to know all too well.
What is this game you play, Ziggy, this vicious dance you make me a party to? I stumble and fall because I don’t know the steps to this twisted tango of your choosing. You lead, and I follow, and that is how it will always be.
What is it that you want? Treats? A tummy scratch? Do you even know?
Maybe you’re afraid. Afraid to fall, to feel, to hurt. I get that. I’m scared, too, Ziggy. But I can’t fall further than I already have. Because I’m in this. I’m so in this, it’s insane. And if you’re too scared or proud or busy chewing your toys to notice me, then that’s on you.
And you’re missing out. Because I’m one hell of a catch, Ziggy: I give fantastic belly rubs. I’m a pushover with dog treats. And I love fiercely. When I fall for a dog, I’m all in. You get 110% of me, 24/7.
I recognize that you are your own dog, so it’s your right to do what you like with whomever you like. But I am my own woman — albeit a fragile, insecure shell of a woman — so it is also my right to expect unconditional love from all the dogs. Including you.
And what is it about me that is so unappealing? I mean, other than this letter? Is it something small, like the scent of my hair? Or is it something bigger, like my overbearing love for you or the fact that you’re objectively much better-looking than me?
Are you even reading this, Ziggy?
I know I need to move on. Trust me, I’ve tried. But it feels as if I’m the one with a leash around my neck, and you’re the one holding it.
Maybe I can move past this. Hell, maybe one day, years from now, I’ll find a way to pick myself up off the floor and open my heart to another dog.
But he won’t be you. And that’s the point, Ziggy. That’s the whole goddamn point.
It feels like we’re ending something, but in my heart of hearts, I know it’s the beginning — the beginning of the end of a wonderful thing that never even really began actually, because it only ever existed in my mind. You know?
My point is: it’s not that it’s over. It’s that it never even had a chance to be. And that’s on you, Z. (I know I’ve never called you that before, but it’s one of several nicknames I made up for you that I guess we’ll never get to enjoy.) So I guess that’s it, Mr. Zigglepants. (That was another.)
Before we part ways, Ziggy, I just want to thank you. I now realize you taught me so much about life and love and myself. You taught me that love is something that everyone feels differently and on their own time. That my love makes me strong, not weak. That I should never settle.
And that maybe I am someone who needs the love of every dog I meet in order to feel validated, cool, and like I smell halfway decent today.
So, farewell to thee, my sweet, elusive, unknowable Ziggy. I don’t know when I’ll see you next.
Hopefully tomorrow. I’ll probably text your mom and ask if she’s gonna bring you in.
All my love,
Katie, The Girl You Always Ignore
P.S. Your mom just replied that you’re coming in tomorrow! I’m so excited! See you then!
This has been another BarkPost Stink Piece, updated every week!