Imagined Letters from the Dad in Clifford the Big Red Dog


April 13th 1994

Dear Puppy Barn,


It's me, Mr. Elizabeth. I came into the Puppy Barn with my wife and blonde haired daughter, Emily, about a month ago. If you can recall, I joked about being a "cat person," but in the end we adopted the puppy that was the runt of the litter. I wanted to thank you again and give you a bit of an update on our "puppy" - if we can even still call him that!

We've all grown very attached to Clifford, especially our blonde haired daughter, Emily, who has had some trouble making new friends since we moved into our new neighborhood. Since adopting Clifford, however, Emily doesn't feel so lonely anymore, and Clifford, once the runt of the litter, has been growing larger everyday! If a child's love could make a living thing grow, it's happening here. In just his first month with us, Clifford has grown to about the size of a Mastiff! And I'm sure you'll be happy to know he now has a pretty hefty appetite and quite a masculine bark. And that red hair is a hit with the neighborhood. It's almost unnatural how red it is - like freshly picked strawberries! Everyone seems to be just entranced by it!


Thanks again for everything. 

-Mr. Elizabeth


May 7th, 1994

Dear Puppy Barn,


It's me again, Mr. Elizabeth. My wife and I are concerned. Clifford is about the size of a minivan. We've checked out books from the library, Cesar Milan: Dog Whisper and The Other End of the Leash. They say dogs can grow about waist high, but they never mention anything like this - especially not for the runt of a litter. We even researched his red hair. If you remember it was a "fresh" red, like a lipstick red. It turns out no other dogs have been recorded as having hair like this. Have you seen anything like this before?

Now don't get me wrong, Puppy Barn. We love Clifford, but his size is starting to become a problem. Our neighbors are terrified and no children are allowed to play with Emily. At just two months old, Clifford still has the energy of a puppy and it's no good. Imagine a minivan that is constantly speeding and jumping on top of people. Strangers are ending up in the hospital because of this dog. And we have to pay the bill! Is this what dog owners go through?


Please give us some sort of direction. 

-Mr. Elizabeth


June 15th, 1994

Dear Puppy Barn,


It's me, Mr. Elizabeth. Do dogs stop growing? Clifford is very large.

The books say it is normal that growing dogs play fetch with certain toys like shoes, or sticks. So when I saw Clifford rip a branch from a tree, I thought that was okay. But today he brought home an entire full-grown evergreen tree. The dirt and roots are still intact and it's in the lobby of our building. I'm not sure if I should punish him, or how I even would. I just know he is a concern to not just my family, but now most of the neighborhood.

Clifford barely fits in our home anymore. I guess this is why people have backyards and doghouses. I didn't know living in a city with a pet dog could be so difficult. His weight has broken the elevator in the building twice, so when he needs to be taken out, we have to walk down 11 flights of stairs and then back up 11 flights of stairs. This happens at least three times a day. And if we don't take him out, he defecates the size of a large child. And I think there have been bones in them.

Do dogs eat other dogs?


Please respond soon. 

-Mr. Elizabeth


July 8th, 1994

Dear Puppy Barn,


It's Mr. Elizabeth. My family and I are utterly confused.  What did you sell us? Clifford is the size of a two-story building. My wife and I tried putting him up for adoption, but no one will take him. We tried dropping him at a kennel and even just leaving him on the side of the road, but he just picked up our car in his mouth (his mouth!) and ran us back to our apartment. Do you know anywhere that might take him?

We can't afford to keep him. If not the lawyer fees and fines from displaced park trees, Clifford's diet alone is putting my family in the hole. We were feeding him Health Science, just like you suggested, but that became too expensive ($100 a day?!). Dogs really do have bottomless pits for stomachs! What do other dog owners do? Someone suggested we feed him chocolate. Is that right? If we don't hear back from you, we'll certainly try it.


Please let us know.

 -Mr. Elizabeth


August 4th, 1994

Dear Puppy Barn,


Mr. Elizabeth here. This will probably be the last letter I write to you. You haven't responded and I think continuing to write might be too dangerous. I'll explain why later.

The chocolate didn't work. It gave Clifford intense amounts of diarrhea. Imagine a four story building spewing animal waste. People became sick. Every hospital in a ten mile radius was filled to the max.

After this "Poo-pocalypse," my family had to go into hiding. Do not worry though, Puppy Barn. We are doing okay. We found a cute little island the locals call Birdwell. Being surrounded by water Clifford can release himself freely and eat as much fish as he'd like. There are acres upon acres of forest here, so he can play as much fetch as he'd like, too! Clifford has even met some neighborhood dogs, an American Pit Bull named T-Bone and a Poodle named Cleo. We've had to keep Clifford from humping Cleo for fear of her dying, but those library books said humping was normal for most dogs. So, we'll see how it goes.

Unfortunately, my blonde haired daughter, Emily, has had to start completely over with school and meeting friends. The past few months have been pretty traumatic for her. Before we left kids at school were calling her names like "demon dog girl" or "blonde haired puppy freak". Kids can be so mean. But I think this time will be different. We have a chance for a new start.


Please do not attempt to contact us.

-Mr. Elizabeth


P.S. I'm definitely a cat person now.