The first family I found was camping in an RV near the woods.
“Woof woof,” I said to the little girl playing with a toy monster truck near the campfire.
“Doggie!” she said, and ran over.
Her mother stepped out of the camper with a metal spatula, looked at me, started yelling.
“Get the fuck away from my daughter!” she said.
I stepped back and held up my hands like a person does, which means: Everything's cool, I’m not here to commit any crimes.
“Sorry,” I said. “I'm a dog. I was just saying hello.”
“Doggie!” said the girl.
“That's right,” I said. I smiled, even though dogs don’t smile unless it’s hot out, and it wasn't that hot out. I was trying to look nice.
“You're not a dog,” said the mom, uncertainly.
The dad came out of the RV holding a big stick with a feather tied to the top of it with some twine. It looked like a fun camping craft activity. He looked nervous, unsure about his role in what was going on.
But if he were a dog, he would have barked at me and barred his teeth and I would have known to run off scared. Or, if I thought I could take him, I would bare my teeth and wrestle with him on the ground to prove it. I would grab him by the neck and start kicking at his stomach, trying to break the skin and pull out his intestines. I would bite his neck and face until he whimpered off and died. But we both just stood there looking at each other instead.
I asked them if they wanted to adopt a dog. I was talking about myself. I wanted them to adopt me. The dog.
“I think you should leave,” said the mom. That meant “no.”
“Okay,” I said.
The dad didn't say anything. He looked relieved.
“Bye, Doggie!” the little girl said. She waved goodbye. I turned and walked back into the woods.
“Bye,” I said.