“J’accuse…! J’accuse…!” barked Accusation. Her human was walking behind her and smiled sheepishly at the man walking his dog on the other side of the road. Émile was used to such stares from strangers who would get startled by her dog’s distinctive bark.
Accusation was a couple of weeks old when she was adopted by Émile and it didn’t take her much time to come up with a name for her. The name sounded odd at first, but whoever has met Accusation and heard her incessantly sincere bark, knows that it is truly apt. But they also know that when Accusation is not busy barking to draw Émile’s attention to someone, she is incredibly gentle and has a mild whimper that makes your heart melt. It’s almost as if she’s telling you,”Don’t worry, I believe you!”
But nobody believed Accusation. Neighbours, family, friends and even her ex-boyfriend complained to Émile about Accusation’s barking, that they found unwanted and ceaseless. “It’s annoying! Why does she start barking as soon as I come home?” said Félix, her then boyfriend and soon to be ex. Émile, who was tired of explaining for Accusation, didn’t know what to do and decided to keep her in the yard whenever Félix visited.
Things weren’t that great with others either. Uncle Clam, thoroughly loved by all in the family, was a huge trigger for Accusation. Holidays with Uncle Clam at the house meant that poor Accusation had to be kept in the yard. But that didn’t mean she would keep quiet. Her barks would only grow louder if she was banished outdoors. Accusation was resilient.
When Accusation turned two years old, Félix broke up with Émile. She was heartbroken, but Accusation was right there, with her huge brown eyes and floppy ears, to comfort her. “Well, at least now you won’t have to sleep in doghouse,” said Émile as she grabbed the beautiful big dog and hugged her. Émile could feel her full of warm love for her. That night, Accusation didn’t bark even once. She slept soundly, as if sleeping with a clear conscience.
After that night, Émile and Accusation grew really close to each other and to get to Émile, one had to go through Accusation; she was the acid test. This meant that Émile had to skip out on several boys that she liked and even a home-tutor who refused to come to her house because Accusation would just raise hell if he did, even if Émile left her in the yard. Émile sometimes wondered why she put up with this odd behavior and decided to get Accusation checked by the vet. It turned out there was nothing wrong with Accusation.
On the way home, Émile met a friend who had bad news for her. She had overheard Félix bragging to his friends that he had made a lot of money by selling pictures of his girlfriends on the internet. Émile was shocked and worried but remembered how Félix had once asked her to pose for him, but because of Accusation’s incessant barking, he got annoyed and left in a huff. Émile immediately felt relieved and glad to have Accusation by her side. That was the day when Émile realized that Accusation wasn’t being irrational or odd at all. She never barked except when she was bothered by someone’s presence and it wasn’t just anyone… there were particular people that she especially despised.
That neighbor who was startled by Accusation was eventually convicted of domestic violence. Uncle Clam, who would drive Accusation mad, had once tried to rape his daughter! It was clear to Émile now, Accusation had extra-sensory powers to sniff out terrible people! Émile wanted to test this hypothesis, so she took Accusation near the house of a former teacher who had been suspended for groping a student. As if on cue, Accusation furiously barked “J’accuse…! J’accuse…!” Émile smiled. On the way back home, Émile observed keenly the kind of people that Accusation barked at and though it was hard for her to believe, she understood that all of them were secretly terrible people.
She learned that those who hurt others don’t look like monsters, they are just ordinary people who live and work among us. It’s not easy to find out who they are and sometimes, one might even doubt themselves, but one has to still trust. She had to trust that Accusation was not crazy and that she wasn’t doing this to draw attention to herself, but she was doing so because she knew. Accusation knew that the world was inhabited by people with dark secrets, so she made sure to keep Émile away from them. Those people were annoyed with her because every bark of hers was the unraveling of their secrets. These were terrible secrets that had remained hidden from the world because not everyone has a dog named Accusation that boldly says – “J’accuse…! J’accuse…!”