D-Dog. I’m sorry.

You’ve had a hard life. Such a hard life.

When I found you, you were naught but a pup, abandoned. What happened to your mother? I don’t know. Perhaps we’ll never know.

I found you helpless in the Afghanistan desert. I took you in. I wasn’t around much, but Ocelot treated you like his own son. He trained you, fed you. You were well loved by the troops at Mother Base, something of a team mascot.

I wasn’t around enough in those early days. I apologise for that. I neglected you. I heard your yelps in the distance as my chopper hovered high above Mother Base but somehow I blocked it all out. “It’s for his own good,” I told myself, so many times. “He’ll grow up strong without me.” Was I right about that D-Dog? It’s hard to tell. Maybe it’s this shrapnel digging into the nether regions of my frontal lobe. Maybe it’s the dust in my nostrils. In this brutal warzone with the constant scent of death in the air, it’s difficult to know what’s up or down. Nothing makes sense anymore.

Either way I left you alone D-Dog. Too many times.

Before I knew it, you were no longer a puppy. You grew up so fast. One minute you were tiny, scarpering around yelping at everything that moved. Hahahah! Those days. Remember those days? Time is too short D-Dog. We need to grab those moments and hold them close because goddammit those seconds fall through your fingers like so much dust and all that’s left is these wrinkled old hands. Or paws. I guess you don’t have hands D-Dog. Because you are a dog. You are a good dog.

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You are a dog. You are no longer a puppy. You are a D-Dog. And I’m so proud of you; of the dog you’ve become.

We gave you an eye-patch for some reason, D-Dog. I never thought about that until now. Do you even need an eye-patch? Is your right eye okay? If so why are we making you wear an eye-patch? If your right eye is damaged then what the hell happened? Were you always missing an eye? Did I just not notice…

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I guess it’s all just a symbol. Of my selfish ways. My neglectful ways. Are you wearing a patch because you want to impress me D-Dog? Because you want my approval? There’s no need. This kind of love is unconditional. Take that patch off, fly free. You are a good dog, DD. A good, good dog.

I am a bad master.

After all that — the neglect, the selfishness — I did the worst thing a master can ever do.

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We were on a mission. An infiltration mission. You were dynamite that day D-Dog, you sniffed them out. You sniffed them all out. You always do.

Two soldiers were in our way. We needed information. I asked you to distract one soldier while I choked the other. Within seconds they were both out cold — we make a good team D-Dog. That’s when it happened, that moment I wish I could take back. But I can’t.

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I wanted to wake up one of the soldiers because we needed information. I wanted to ask those all-important questions. Questions like “speak” and “where are your friends”. I needed to wake those soldiers up. It seemed important at the time. Funny how what’s important can shift in the blink of an eye.

I walked up to the soldier. I pushed the R2 button. I wanted to kick him in the balls. Give him a right old rude awakening. But I didn’t see you there.

That’s when I kicked you D-Dog. The ultimate insult.

“D-Dog has lost his bond with you.”

It was a mistake. I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry D-Dog. I’m so, so sorry.

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I pushed the Triangle button. I pushed it over and over again. I tried to pat you, I tried to pat away the memory of that kick I wish I could un-kick. I said ‘good boy’. I said ‘good boy’ so many times and I meant it, because D-Dog you are a good boy, the best boy, and you didn’t deserve that kick from the end of my boot.

The are no words to describe how sorry I am. No nano-machines could contain the emotions I am feeling. I’m not asking you to forgive me D-Dog, I don’t deserve your forgiveness.

I’m just asking for a second chance, to prove myself to you. A good dog deserves a good master and you are a good dog.

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Good dog.

Good dog.

Good dog.

Good dog.

Good dog


This post originally appeared on Kotaku Australia, where Mark Serrels is the Editor. You can follow him on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing.