After finishing up his undergrad at the University of California Santa Barbara, Devin Smith decided it was time to make a big change in his life. You see, Devin was a dreamer, “a doer!” he proclaimed to his sixty year old parents upon moving back home (also in Santa Barbara). Shortly thereafter this statement, he realized he needed to be this doer that he called himself. So, Devin moved to Los Angeles. But this isn’t one of those, follow-your-dreams-to-the-city-of-dreams anecdotes. This is a boy-meets-dog story. You thought you knew where this was going? Try me.
Devin moved to a tiny suburb in Los Angeles called Silver Lake. He was not stylish nor was he musically inclined nor was he personable. But boy did Devin try to be (personable). He met Melanie, the local barista at the local coffee joint. Melanie had dyed-black hair with short bangs (“Spock bangs,” Devin thought) and a hoop ring straight through the center of her nose, (“like a bull,” Devin thought). He was very attracted to her though. The two became friendly. The type of friendly one has with their barista:
Melanie: Hi there! Iced latte with an extra shot?
Devin: Yeah Melanie, thanks. How are you?
Melanie: Good. You?
Melanie: Great. Your latte will be at the end of the counter. Have a good day!
Devin: You too!
One day, Devin overheard Melanie talking to another barista, Rem, about a small party she was having at her small apartment so Devin timidly asked if he could come and Melanie shrugged and said yes so Devin went to the party but when he got there Melanie ignored him so Devin assumed she hated him and he left and now he doesn’t go to that coffee joint.
Fast forward a few years and Devin, still friendless in Los Angeles, is on the phone with his mother Anne. He works as a Project Manager for an up-and-coming web browser, like Bing, but better.
“Dev, I know it’s tough. Have you thought about getting a dog?” Anne said. And then, thoughts began percolating in Devin’s project managing brain. “Lots of people with dogs make friends because people love dogs.” She continued, “why don’t you go to the shelter and get a dog? Corgis are all the rage right now. See if they have a corgi. You know,” she paused and giggled while Devin pictured her on her maroon recliner flipping through a crossword, “you remind me of a corgi.” She concluded.
After that phone call, Devin went to the local animal shelter. The man who worked there was very nice, Devin thought about inviting him over to watch the Dodgers game, but then decided he should stick with the dog plan. He walked past many kennels of many dogs; some with lots of hair and some with very little hair, big dogs and small dogs, wise dogs and dumb dogs, political dogs and hippie dogs, nice dogs and bitchy dogs. At the very end of all the kennels, sat one dog all uniquely its own: a French bulldog. The man said he was surprised to see one of its breed at a shelter considering they’re the most desired dogs on the market. And to that, Devin said, “I’ll take her.” “It’s a he.” The man replied, “and his name is Augustus.” That night, Devin took Augustus to the pet store, got him a nice cozy bed, tasty chicken and rice dog kibble and a ripe dog bone. “This is the start of a great thing.” He said as he looked over to Augustus sitting in the passenger side of his Mini Cooper while they rode off into the sunset of traffic and smog.
Several days went by of dog park visits and Augustus seemed to be having a great time. Devin even took him back to the coffee joint Melanie worked at, to show off the cutest dog in the entire world. Melanie smiled and waved to Augustus, then told Devin to grab his coffee at the end of the counter. “Bonus points.” Devin thought as he pet Augustus’ stubby body.
But it was that night when Devin noticed something strange happen. After Devin tucked Augustus in his dog bed, located on the floor next to the foot of Devin’s own bed, Devin also tucked himself into bed. Devin began drifting off into a deep sleep, dreams surely on their way, but he was woken up when he heard his bedroom door open up, followed by tiny foot steps clicking against the linoleum flooring. Devin creepily sat up, nervous of what it could be. He slowly lowered his feet onto the floor and began walking towards the door, but before he left, he noticed Augustus was no longer in his dog bed. He opened his door and saw Augustus walking his tiny body down the short hallway and to the front door, to which Augustus stood on his hind legs and opened. And once again, it was just Devin, friendless in Los Angeles.
Devin followed Augustus out of his apartment building and to his surprise, he saw Augustus with a group of dogs and their owners in the courtyard of the building. There were balloons and streamers and people playing beer pong and dogs skateboarding. “There’s gotta be at least twenty five of them,” Devin thought, “and I’ve seen these people at the dog park.” Devin stood alone at the foot of the stairs of his apartment building in his boxers. He watched Augustus party with the partygoers.
Devin stood at the stairs for about an hour an a half, according to his Apple Watch, before Augustus walked back at approximately two o’clock in the morning. He took Augustus inside and scolded him for leaving.
The next night, Devin went to bed and followed the same routine as the nights prior. He tucked Augustus in bed and then himself. But again, Augustus left to go hang out with the other dogs and their owners. Devin secretly followed him again, but this time Devin saw Melanie, the barista, at the party. Brokenhearted, Devin walked back to his apartment distraught that his dog was throwing parties and wouldn’t even invite him. “I’m done with this city and its lame ass parties,” Devin concluded and then decided that it was time to move back home to Santa Barbara: a place he had so missed, for so long. Him and Augustus now write letters to one another occasionally.