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Dog Day


Champ was relaxing on the porch in a growing patch of shade, watching and listening to the familiar sounds of another summer morning in the suburbs. Insects buzzed, bird chirped, lawnmowers roared, and children’s voices squealed. The big dog lay with his snout resting on his front paws, his eyes half open, his ears only half-listening to the commotion made by the family.

As the morning slowly spent itself, Champ’s patch of shade shifted with the hot summer sun. He felt part of his back grow uncomfortably warm as the newly revealed sunshine baked his shiny silver fur. “I do not love on that,” he thought, annoyed, and slowly raised himself to his feet. He stretched, then padded over to his water dish. The water still held traces of cold, but the rising heat was warming it quickly. He finished lapping up some of the refreshing liquid and walked over to the relocated patch of shade. He made a circle once, twice, and plopped down on the cement, slightly more alert than before.

He felt the gentle tug of the lead on his collar that had him tethered to the porch. Oh to be free of that hated rope! “I would love on that!” he thought, and pulled at the rope tentatively to test its strength. The end of the rope was securely fastened to a heavy metal ring that had been screwed into the base of the house next to the open porch. It was a long lead, and Champ had the run of virtually the entire yard.

Still, it limited the dog’s freedom of movement, and that fact made him vaguely unhappy. “I would love on being free,” he mused.

A loud sudden gaggling of birds interrupted Champ’s reverie. He sat up, ears straight, tail still and watched the noisy sparrows congregate at the far end of the yard. He forgot about the rope and the collar as his dog’s mind filled with images of tasty struggling birds. “I love to play with little birds,” he thought happily.

Crouching down, Champ inched forward as silently as possible. The birds were still cackling noisily, arguing over a newfound cache of tiny insects and hadn’t seen the big dog yet.

Champ licked his lips and continued to inch forward. The birds were coming closer to him now. Soon he would be able to play with them.

SLAM! The metal door to the porch flew open with a clatter, and a younger member of the family emerged. The birds escaped the yard at the sudden noise, and Champ dropped his head to his front paws dejectedly.

“BLAH BLAH BLAH CHAMP BLAH BLAH BLAH GOOD BOY!”The young human patted the dog’s big flat head vigorously, then rubbed Champ’s back in the direction of his fur, the way he liked.

“I love on this,” he thought, and the memory of the birds fled his dog brain.

Just as suddenly, the human left the dog’s side and walked away toward the other side of the house. Champ was alone again. “Come back!” he barked, but the human didn’t return. He looked back at the yard. “Come back little birds, I want to play with you!” he thought.


Champ finished another short nap, then did his business by the line of tall bushes that served as a barrier at the back of the yard. Some interesting scents caught his attention, and he began sniffing at the ground. These turned out to be false alarms though, as they revealed no additional sources of food for the big dog.

The sun was getting increasingly hot as the high heat of August bore down on him. “I would love on some food,” he thought, and wandered over to his food dish on the porch. “I’m hungry,” he woofed, and pawed at the offending empty dish. While he was there, he lapped up some water, which was now quite warm. “I do not love on this,” he thought.

Champ felt himself getting agitated. He didn’t enjoy getting angry, but he simply couldn’t help himself. Warm water, hunger, no birds to play with, no humans around to scratch his belly; this was turning out to be an unpleasant day for him. He scratched at a persistent itch.

Panting heavily against the heat, the dog heard the sounds of humans approaching. He looked up and saw three human children approach the edge of the yard. They looked like they wanted to cross. Champ was very protective of his yard and he instantly stood at attention and began barking a warning.

“You are not welcome!” he barked. “GET OUT OF MY YARD! I DO NOT LOVE ON YOU!”

The children were laughing and gesturing at him. Why were they still here?Didn’t they hear his warning?He stepped closer and suddenly caught the eye of one of the humans. His ears stood straight up as he recognized the child as a former tormentor.

“YOU ARE A BAD HUMAN!” barked Champ angrily. “GET OUT! I DO NOT LOVE ON YOU!”

The humans laughed, and the one that Champ recognized bravely put one foot on his yard. Champ growled and ran toward the boy, who quickly withdrew his foot to beyond the reach of the dog’s tether.

“BLAH BLAH HAH HAH DUMB DOG BLAH BLAH!” laughed the children.

“They are not nice to me. I do not love on them,” thought Champ. “I will bear my uppers. ”He growled viciously, his upper fangs gleaming dangerously in the afternoon sun, his taught body pulling the rope to its limit.

The children laughed again, this time nervously, but the ringleader, the boy who was familiar to the dog, put his foot out once again to tease the big animal.

“BLAH BLAH HAH HAH DUMB DOG BLAH BLAH HAH HAH!” the boy jeered. His playmates’ laughter egged him on.

Champ was getting very angry now. Oh how he wished he was free, then he would teach these bad humans a lesson. Oh yes, how they would suffer for taunting him!“I DO NOT LOVE ON YOU YOU BAD HUMANS!!!” he barked repeatedly, straining the rope that held him captive.

Now the children were all getting into the act. They ran up and down the length of the side of the yard, just out of Champ’s reach. This game was great sport to them and they even had a name for it: “The Run. ”Champ didn’t like The Run. It made him very angry. It made him want to hurt them, even though he knew that this was forbidden.

“I DO NOT LOVE ON THE RUN!!!” he barked, chasing the teasing children back and forth to no avail.


The loud voice interrupted the dog, who perked his ears up and cocked his head in the direction of the house.

It was one of the family. The woman’s angry voice now seemed to be directed at the children, who promptly muttered and wandered off. Champ was happy to see them leave and barked at them. “YOU BAD HUMANS! STAY AWAY!!!!”

“CHAMP!” the woman shouted again.

Champ grinned and loped to the porch door. “Oh boy, now I am going to eat!” he thought. But when he arrived, the bowl was still empty. “NOT FAIR!” he barked, looking back and forth between the empty food dish and the door. All that running around after the bad humans had made him even hungrier than before.

He nosed around the back yard again for a few minutes and, finding nothing of interest to chew on, lay down on the grass, disappointed. Within minutes, he was fast asleep.


Late in the afternoon, one of the boys came home and refilled Champ’s water dish. Champ liked this time of the day; it meant the family would all be home and he would get to eat supper!His stomach rumbled as he lapped up some fresh water. The boy remained on the porch and gently patted Champ’s head.

“Good boy, good Champ,” the boy cooed.

Champ finished his drink and felt refreshed. Now he wanted to play. He looked around the yard for a few moments, then stopped and stared. A happy thought popped into Champ’s head: “I want to play ballee!”There was his tennis ball, its bright yellow fur long since dissolved into a grimy mottled gray from months of dog spittle. He suddenly ran to the ball, picked it up in his mouth and ran back to the boy. He dropped the ball at the boy’s feet and barked “I want to play BALLEE!”

The boy laughed and rubbed his fur. “Blah blah blah BALLEE? Champ Blah blah blah BALLEE?” he said, then picked up the ball and threw it into the back yard. Champ eagerly chased the ball down and picked it up in his mouth.

“I love to play ballee,” thought Champ, bringing the ball back to the boy.

“Good boy!”The boy reached for the ball in the big dog’s mouth, but Champ enjoyed the taste of it. It felt good to have something soft betweeen his teeth. He would not release the ball.

“I love on my ballee,” he thought. This was his favorite part of the game.

The boy laughed nervously and tried to pry the ball from Champ’s mouth. “Blah blah Champ! Blah blah blah!” he complained.

Champ growled playfully.

The boy stepped back angrily. “BAD BOY! BAD!” he shouted.

Champ cocked his head. Why was the boy angry? “I want to play ballee.” The dog dropped the ball and pushed it toward the boy with his nose. He looked up at the boy with sad eyes. “Ballee?” he barked.

“NO BALLEE! BAD DOG!”The boy turned on his heel and disappeared into the house.

Champ lay down next to the ball. His stomach rumbled.

After a while, the car pulled into the driveway. The man was home!Champ stood up excitedly. Champ’s dinner appeared every night when the man came home. He would be eating very soon! He patiently watched the door and within minutes, the other boy came out carrying his food dish.

It smelled delicious!He couldn’t wait for the boy to put the dish down; he attacked it as soon as soon as he could reach it. “Blah blah blah Champ,” said the boy, but Champ wasn’t listening.

“I love on my dinner,” he thought happily, and quickly devoured his evening meal.


© 2006 Michael S. Cohen

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