It is a short "postcard" story for a creative writing class in University. The picture it is based off of is this one:

with the quote "All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it"

Here it is:

I remember my neighbour’s dog. It was a yappy little thing that would spend most days hovering at the fence, waiting for something interesting enough to bark at. Another dog, a squirrel, a dragonfly – whichever caught his attention first. Whenever I walked outside, there he was staring longingly at me through the fence. He always had this dopey smile on his face, his eyes bright and hopeful, waiting for a glance or a nod that would start up another round of that loud, ecstatic barking.

On this day, I remember walking outside to no usual yappy greeting. I looked through the fence and saw the little runt standing in the flower garden, seemingly enticed by the new blooms. He was staring at a large tiger lily. I wondered what exactly he saw– perhaps a strange new acquaintance, or maybe just a peculiar smelling blossom. Eventually a dragonfly flitted across his path and his face broke into his normal grin as he sauntered away in its wake.

He was gone later that afternoon.

After a few days of wondering if my yappy little friend had perhaps moved on, I saw him there at the fence. He had a cone on his head and a long scar down his abdomen. Later I would learn that he had needed surgery to correct a twisted stomach. Despite the distress he must of felt, he never lost his stride. In fact, here he was, smiling and happy and staring at me. I walked to the fence and stuck my fingers through, scratching his chin that was framed in the cone. His eyes closed but his mouth stayed open in a funny little smirk. I thought back to two years prior when I had needed surgery to remove my gallbladder – I stayed in bed for a week, doped on painkillers and whining to anyone who could stand me. Someone had brought me a bouquet of tiger lilies and I remember thinking that I would have preferred the sweeter smell of roses to the pungent one of the lilies.

I withdrew my hand from the fence and that buoyant little pup stared up at me with a heartbroken look in his eyes: Was it pity? I frowned at him and the little guy flashed me one last toothy grin and then ambled off, tripping over his cone, to the garden of lilies. He settled down in them, the itchy pollen falling on his face and back, and he lay there grinning until the sun went down.

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Any feedback is welcomed and encouraged! I have to read it to the class on Friday so I'd really appreciate any help on it. Thanks so much.

Hi - I have a few minor suggestions.
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I remember my neighbour’s dog. It was a yappy little thing that would spend most days hovering at the fence, waiting for something interesting enough to bark at. Another dog, a squirrel, a dragonfly – whichever caught his attention first. (fragment; join with first sentence) Whenever I walked outside, there he was, staring longingly at me through the fence. He always had this dopey smile on his face, his eyes bright and hopeful, waiting for a glance or a nod that would start up another round of that loud, ecstatic barking.
On this day, I remember walking outside to no usual yappy greeting. I looked through the fence and saw the little runt standing in the flower garden, seemingly enticed by the new blooms. He was staring at a large tiger lily. I wondered what exactly he saw– perhaps a strange new acquaintance, or maybe just a peculiar smelling blossom. Eventually a dragonfly flitted across his path and his face broke into his normal grin as he sauntered away in its wake.
He was gone later that afternoon.
After a few days of wondering if my yappy little friend had perhaps moved on, I saw him there at the fence. He had a cone on his head and a long scar down his abdomen. Later I would learn that he had needed surgery to correct a twisted stomach. Despite the distress he must have felt, he never lost his stride. In fact, here he was, smiling and happy and staring at me. I walked to the fence and stuck my fingers through, scratching his chin that was framed in the cone. His eyes closed but his mouth stayed open in a funny little smirk. I thought back to two years prior when I had needed surgery to remove my gallbladder – I stayed in bed for a week, doped on painkillers and whined (or cut the and and leave whining) to anyone who could stand me. Someone had brought me a bouquet of tiger lilies and I remember thinking that I would have preferred the sweeter smell of roses to the pungent one of the lilies.
I withdrew my hand from the fence and that buoyant little pup stared up at me with a heartbroken look in his eyes: Was it pity? I frowned at him and the little guy flashed me one last toothy grin and then ambled off, tripping over his cone, to the garden of lilies. He settled down in them, the itchy pollen falling on his face and back, and he lay there grinning until the sun went down.
I think this story has a lot of potential! If it were my story, I'd change the order a little bit (and a few of the facts too, since it's creative).

Put the story of your surgery all but last. When you get the bouquet of lilies, think back to the dog and realize that you're focusing on the wrong things. Maybe before you wished for roses, but suddenly you wished for a dragon fly to buzz out of that bouquet. But even without the dragonfly, you'd appreciate their beauty, the fact that you were alive, and that new adventures awaited you (whatever... blah blah... you know what I mean, though, right?)

Then end with the look in the dog's eyes. You had thought it was heartbreak that you'd stopped scratching, but now you wonder if was pity for you and your inability to experience the simple joys in life. Maybe you're determined now to wag more and bark less. (I saw that bumper sticker yesterday - loved it.)

Okay, these are pretty major changes, but it would make it more poignant to me.