I don't often write about a dog. I don't have a dog, for one thing. That's almost a requirement for writing about a dog. If you don't have one, there's not much to say.

You can try. A dogless writer can work up some opening sentences, at least: 1) The dog didn't die today. 2) No dog is like my dog. 3) Guess I've already fed the dog; ; fed him well enough, anyhow.

But beyond that you can't say much without an actual dog on hand. This week we have one, so I'm striking while the dog is hot. My wife's folks are out of town, and we have the dog.

I'm telling you about the dog because right now he's in the basement, barking. It's 7 o'clock on a Saturday morning, and here is what Bobby has to say:

"RARP! RARP! RARP! RARP! RARP! RARP! RARP! RARP!"

I usually write first thing weekend mornings, when the rest of the family is asleep. I sit in my pajamas and robe with a cup of coffee, a legal pad, and a felt-tip pen in my favorite chair in the living room. I can work undisturbed for an hour or two.

Except when Bobby is barking in the basement. Nothing will take a dog barking in the basement off the mind of a man trying in the to write 750 words on a topic of his choice. There is no choice. Just Bobby, barking.

Now you dog people out there are probably saying, "He wants out. Go take him out." Thanks very much for reminding me, dog people. I took him out this morning. It's 84 degrees and 90 percent humidity and I'm standing here blinking and sweating while he runs up and down the driveway doing what dogs do all over everything, especially my car..

I didn't kick him once. I am a nice man. Then I brought him back in this safe, quiet, air-conditioned house and he's been barking for an hour. Hour and 20, now. Took me a while to get this far. Hard to write when there's a dog barking.

"Let him upstairs," you're saying. Dog people are all alike. If I let him upstairs he'll remove the stuffing from the cat. I don't like the cat much either, but he was here first.

Other people, the kind without a dog barking in the basement, love Bobby. Just last evening, as he and I were out, a neighbor strolling by stopped to say hello. She remarked that he was about the cutest little dog she'd ever seen. We followed her eagerly up the street but she just kept walking.

You wouldn't know Bobby's age to look at him. He's 15, which means (I have to say this before someone else does) in human years he's 105. Bob's a tough old guy. When I'm 105 I doubt I'll be able to run out in the driveway and pee on an automobile. Although I will if I feel like it. At 105 you ought to be able to do what you want.

So let him bark. He's a sweet old dog, really, and he's like anybody else. All he wants is a bite to eat, a scratch behind the ears, and somebody to pass the time with.

Besides, you know what he looks like? He looks just like the dog in that old Disney movie, "Greyfriars Bobby." I saw that movie with my mother when I was a little boy.

So I think I'll go down and see him awhile. I'll rub his tummy, tell him he's a good dog, maybe give him a milk bone to chew on.

Then if he doesn't stop barking I'm going to turn off all the lights and drop the cat on him.

Charlie Bryant lives and writes in Gaithersburg.