Cervantes’s lesser-known, almost eclectic novella may be the ancestor of talking-dog story. Filled with humor and social satire, The Dialogue of the Dogs, which reads like an Aesop allegory, is a tale within a tale. Campuzano is a philandering man who is left with nothing but syphilis upon a deceitful marriage to Dona Estefania, who ropes him with chicanery. Late one feverish night at the Resurrection Hospital Campuzano overhears the guard dogs, Berganza and Scipio, telling each other their life’s story.
I’m not so ignorant that I don’t know animals can’t talk without some miracle. Even if mockingbirds, mynahs, parrots appear to talk, I knew they only repeat the words they’ve learned by rote, and only then because they happen to have tongues like ours to pronounce them. But they can’t talk, let alone talk back, with the thoughtful exchange of views that those dogs managed. 
Indeed, what ensues is a sermonizing exchange between two virtuous canines (who acquire a more solid sense of morality than humans in the book) who find themselves victim, over and over again, to deceitful and corrupt humanity. At one point, Berganza was being punished for not catching the wolf that attacked the pack of sheep. But the canine’s true enemy is the shepherd, who kills the sheep and devours it. The dogs’ encounter illustrates the finicky and capricious ways of the world and the inequities of fate. It’s not as plot driven, more of a catechism in the sense of morality.
God is literally impeccable, without sin, from which we can only conclude that we are the authors of our own evildoing, and we conceive it in our own intentions, words, and deeds. 
105 pp. [Read/Skim/Toss]