Ulysses and the Dogman (Henry)

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Ulysses and the Dogman
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man was forced to walk his wife's spoiled dog every evening, until he met an old friend from the West who helped him break free from his humiliating routine and start a new life.

In a big city, every evening at twilight, an army of men would take their dogs out for a walk, as if under a spell cast by their wives. These men, referred to as dogmen, were of various types - some were stony-faced and callous, while others were sullen and fierce. The dogs they walked were pampered, ill-tempered, and difficult to manage.

Every one of those dogmen has been either cajoled, bribed, or commanded by his own particular Circe to take the dear household pet out for an airing.

One evening, a melancholic dogman named Sam Telfair was walking his wife Marcella's pet dog, Lovekins, when he encountered an old friend from the West, Jim Berry.

Sam Telfair — narrator; unhappy, submissive husband; forced to walk his wife's dog.
Jim Berry — Sam's old friend from the West; strong-willed, caring, and adventurous.

They went to a nearby café and caught up on each other's lives. Sam complained about his life in the city, living in a cramped apartment and being forced to walk the despised dog every day. Jim, on the other hand, had bought land in the West and was doing well.

Some night, Jim, I’m going to get even with that dog. I’ve made up my mind to do it.

As they continued their walk, they stopped at several bars for drinks, with Sam becoming increasingly bitter about his situation. Jim mentioned that he was looking for someone to help manage his land, but Sam seemed too caught up in his own misery to consider the opportunity.

Finally, at the ferry terminal, Jim bought a ticket to Denver. In a sudden burst of anger, Sam kicked Lovekins away and shouted for a ticket to Denver as well. It seemed that he had finally decided to break free from his unhappy life and join his friend in the West.

Ticket to Denver. Make it two.

Marcella Telfair — Sam's wife; controlling, demanding, and obsessed with her dog.