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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

I what a dog

The+cover+of+my+dads+I+What+a+Dog+book+
The cover of my dad’s I What a Dog book

I What a Dog by Kevin Yoder

~ Bursley School   ~ 1978

~ Mrs. McKellar  ~ 1st Grade

“I’d like a dog,” said Tim.

“No,” said mom. 

Dad came home.

“What’s wrong Tim?”

“I what a dog,” said Tim.

Mom came into the kitchen. “What’s wrong Tim?” Said mom.

“I what a dog.”

“No,” said mom. 

Tim went to his room. Tim went to bed. Mom came into his room. 

“You can have a dog.”

Tim was glad he had a dog. 

“Why are you so happy, Tim?”

“I got a dog,” said Tim. 

The end. 

My dad crafted this laconic picture book in his elementary years for a writing contest that his teacher was having the students participate in. Originally written in the late 90s, my dad personified his deep, childhood desires for a little puppy in the form of a fictional character, Tim. A variety of images span throughout the pages, adding details of pink, crayon-colored carpet, meticulous stick figure drawers, and bolded, black scrawl that slants across the top to tell the story.

Before the book, he had never received any sort of prize: nothing for academics, no participation trophies, and no pretty ribbons or plastic medals. 

Fast forward forty years later, my dad’s book I What a Dog has been read in my elementary school classrooms for guest reading sessions and shared as a childhood bedtime story as if it is a renowned classic. 

Although he never got a dog in his childhood, the book—and the pretty third-place prize that is plastered across the cover—was an emblem of accomplishment for him. Before the book, he had never received any sort of prize: nothing for academics, no participation trophies, and no pretty ribbons or plastic medals. 

During quarantine in 2020, my family decided that we were finally ready to get our first family dog. In all honesty, my mom was the only person who was blatantly against the idea: she hated dog hair, despised the thought of having to pick up after it, and detested that we would have to rise in the middle of the night to let it outside.

But we got a dog. A mini bernedoodle puppy named Jackie with caramel-colored eyebrows and a little black button nose. We drove an hour to the middle of Michigan to purchase her from an Amish farm, and, per my mom’s adamant demands, she was hypoallergenic, non-shedding, would grow to be medium-sized, and really cute. 

When we first brought Jackie home, the first weeks were borderline nightmarish: we made a color-coded spreadsheet dividing the dog duty times between my siblings and me, slept in sleeping bags in the sunroom and woke up every ninety minutes to let her out, and stuffed our hands down her throat to pull out twigs and grass and other inedible items. 

All of it made me wonder why anyone would actually want a dog. She bit holes in my sweatshirts, threw up bits of her tennis balls on the carpet, and was the instigator of many restless nights. 

One day, my dad’s I What a Dog book was lying on the floor in the den, nestled somewhere within reach of destruction. Jackie managed to snatch the old book and sink her teeth into the frayed cover, tearing ruthlessly through the pages with a sort of targeted menace. 

The book survived Jackie’s wrath—but barely. Nibbled pages overlap with whole ones, the crayon-colored carpet is threadbare and worn, and the stick figures have amputated limbs in some sections. 

The silken ribbon on the cover, bearing the words “Young Author,” had to be taped in a few places, an allusion to my dad’s first prize, his first sense of accomplishment. 

I What a Dog was more than a little project for my dad’s first-grade class; it was a representation of his accomplishments, the third-place ribbon still bright and radiant after decades of dreaming.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Yoder, Staff Writer
Lucy is a senior entering her first year writing for The Central Trend. She has been entertained and positively in love with writing and reading for as long as she can remember and cannot wait to expand and improve her writing further. Lucy runs varsity track for her school and has been involved with club track over the years as well. As senior year starts and concludes all too quickly, Lucy strives to create millions of memories, all comprised of her favorite things: friends, sunshine, running, and her adorable puppy, Jackie. Favorite artist: Taylor Swift, without a doubt Favorite soccer team: FC Barcelona Car: 2005 Lexus GX470 named Lucifer Favorite place she's been: Galápagos Islands

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