We recently published Nick Perilli’s delightful “Our Dog Most Recently.”
Here, we ask him two questions about his story:
1) This is a story about a dog stuck in a time loop. Right there, that begs the question — what was your inspiration for writing a story about a dog stuck in a time loop?
I’d say my biggest inspiration was our dog Gabby. She’s getting pretty up there in years so she has a very specific routine in how she lives her life and goes about her day to day, which I really took notice of when my partner and I settled into a house we bought after living in rentals the entire time we’ve had her. That’s another bit of inspiration, too—the knowledge that this house is where Gabby and our other pets (and us, if we never move) will likely live out the rest of their days going about their routines. So, a combination of considering (and regretting) our dog’s mortality, as well as the space where that mortality will play out alongside ours, brought this piece into being.
2) I love how, in this world you’ve created, time loops seems to serve a Groundhog Day sort of purpose to improve the people caught in them. But, the vet says, there’s no need for the dog to improve. That is such a great touch! Did you have a specific dog in mind here, or could this be any dog, as they’re all wonderful?
Gabby again! But, yes, all dogs are equally wonderful and I hope the dog in this piece reads more as all dogs rather than just one specific wonderful dog. It’s the dog that you want it to be. While writing the piece, I almost swapped in another, slightly more eccentric animal for the dog just to see what that would read like. Everyone writes about pet dogs all the time but rarely about pet bearded dragons, you know? While the story may have stood out more on some level with a reptile in a time loop, I realized I needed all the connections readers would make with the simple fact that the narrator is talking about a dog. I think most people agree that their dogs and dogs in general don’t really need to improve themselves, so right there is a positive connection that people have with the dog in the story. Some people probably do think reptiles could stand to improve on themselves in some ways, so I might have lost a reader or two if I tried to pass off a bearded dragon as this paragon of wonderful like I do with the dog. It would have been a much different story.