When Feldman Got Hands

By Dawn Corrigan

We removed the front paws of Feldman, our Boston terrier, and attached hands instead.

They were the hands of a small toddler involved in a DUI.

Terrible story, that. But we tried to make lemonade from the lemons.

My husband in particular felt bad for Feldman, that he had no hands.

He seemed like such a good soul, he said. He seemed like he deserved thumbs.

As soon as he learned how to use them, though, he latched onto the refrigerator door and wouldn’t let go.

We had to padlock the fridge and the kitchen cabinets.

Then he disappeared into the spare bedroom for weeks.

We barely saw him. He only came out once a day to eat.

Finally after several weeks he emerged into the living room. He sat on his haunches, raised his little hands, and began making rapid gestures at us.

“What’s he doing?” I asked.

“I have no idea,” my husband said. “What is it, Boy?”

Feldman snorted. Snorting is common in Bostons, with their brachycephalic faces, but I would have sworn this was a snort of disgust.

He settled back down on four legs and walked over to the end table closest to my husband. He rose again on his hind legs, picked up the remote, aimed it at the TV, and began pushing buttons.

This wasn’t easy, as his toddler fingers were so small. He had a hard time finding the program he wanted.

Eventually, though, he found what he was looking for, which we realized when he set the remote back down and barked.

Now things were getting really weird. Feldman never barked.

My husband and I looked at the TV. It was a public access program from the local community college.

It was a language class. American Sign Language.

“I’m too old to learn another language,” I said. But when Feldman barked again, I set my knitting down and turned my attention to the screen.


Dawn Corrigan has fiction due out soon at Dogzplot and Unlikely Stories and poems at Chiron Review. Her nonfiction appears regularly at The Nervous Breakdown.

Published on March 29, 2008 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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