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Teaching My Dog to Program the VCR

Peter Davis

She was young then
and my wife was working at the factory
and I was busy with the car.
I missed watching the news
and thought she could tape it for me.

For a month, the best she did
was tape hours and hours
of static. I watched plenty of it but
it wasn’t good enough.
I told her, “I expect more from you than this.”

By mid February she was getting the hang of it.
On Valentine’s day she said,
“I love current events.”
That April she was reciting state birds
and recreating the founding of Denmark.

What I found most useful
was pointing out the times she repeated me.
For instance,
once I said, “This is a great steak.”
She said, “I love this steak.”
I said, “Good. That’s close.”
Another time, I fell on my knees and started crying.
She barked at the floor.
“Not bad,” I said.

Within a year she had learned to set the clock
and, a year after that,
she was translating the bible.

Peter Davis

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