We entered the large, cavernous warehouse completely empty except for a small area that was set up to look like a living room in someone’s home. There was a brown leather couch with a side table, a homey standing lamp all arranged on a Persian rug, lit up by spotlights. The rest of the vast space was dark in comparison exception for natural light that streamed in through the windows surrounding the building. In front of the living room set, a plain long table was set up where the decision makers were seated in folding chairs with their notepads and pens in hand. They were dressed like triples, three middle aged men, very different in appearance except for their clothes, all in khaki pants with polo shirts that had the collars sticking up and Gucci loafers without socks. One had a head full of curls, the other had slicked back straight hair and the third was completely bald. A camera man was standing to the side of the stage with his hand-held pointing at me as I walked to the couch with Blondie. Everyone was quiet waiting for us to begin. I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Neither did Blondie.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Finally, some professional handlers showed up with their dogs. I could tell they were in the business because they came prepared with their dog crates, bait bags, treats and other training paraphernalia. I, on the other hand, was the person with my dog pulling me around on a leash, sniffing, and barking, out of control, and obviously not trained. I peaked inside the crates of the handlers at the other dogs and breathed a sigh of relief; none were as beautiful as Blondie.
Since she was the prettiest dog there by far, at least in my estimation, I immediately felt at ease and confident that she had a good shot at being chosen for the spokes dog. How could I have ever doubted my Blondie? I was imagining her future, being mobbed by fans screaming for her pawdegragh, becoming the poster dog for shelters nationwide, encouraging people to rescue dogs, the two of us meeting Oprah and sharing our heart warming story of how this little dog changed my life and the world.
“Lady, lady, hey you,” I was awakened from my day dream by a man shouting to follow him inside. I yanked Blondie forward as the trainers in line snickered, I imagined them talking behind my back and asking each other what was this person doing here with this obviously untrained mutt?
Thursday, April 25, 2013
The next day, I took Blondie to the audition at a warehouse in
Culver City. We were the first to arrive. Living in LA, I always gave myself ample time driving to new locations in case I got lost, which I frequently did. But that day, was an exception. I pulled up to the grey, drab building in the middle of an industrial area that seemed totally abandoned. I wasn't even sure I was in the right place. I double checked the address and Blondie and I walked around the building.
In the back of the parking lot, I spotted a sign that read in big black letters DOG AUDITION HERE. So that’s where Blondie and I stood waiting. And waiting. Patience is not a virtue that I have mastered so I became restless and felt uneasy about the whole thing. I was fidgeting and biting my nails, twirling my hair and basically psyching myself into a frenzy. I realized that I hadn't really thought this through before I arrived and now I was starting to have second thoughts.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The dogs came bounding into the living room like two toddlers, twirling and jumping, barking and play-growling. Elliott was carrying something in his mouth furiously shaking the object to get Blondie to play tug with him.
“Elliott, give me that,” the elegant greyhound spun around, out of my grasp, tail in the air ready for a game of chase. Blondie turned and excitedly bowed her front paws down on the ground with her butt in the air barking at him.
“Stop it you two!” They both looked up at me in surprised. Elliottyears. I held the doll and cradled her broken body, stuffing coming out everywhere. I knew Elliott didn't mean to ruin my childhood keep-sake but he did and I was extremely saddened by the loss.
“What happened?” Ryan keeled down and put his arms around me.
Clutching pieces of my doll, Blondie faced me with a look of concern, tilting her head slightly, kissing my tears. Poor Elliott stood back up and wagged his tail not knowing what to do but trying to make us laugh.
“ I've had her forever,” I explained.
“I’m so sorry,” Ryan said as he turned to reprimand Elliott. “Bad Dog!” Elliott cowered as Ryan lifted his hand to strike.
“Don’t hit him. He didn't know what he was doing,” I said. “Besides, it’s too late now. He won’t associate the consequence with ripping up my doll,” I reasoned and hugged the big lug of a dog.
Friday, April 19, 2013
“Ryan, we need to talk,” I said on his answering machine. I thought it was best to at least give him a warning that something was seriously wrong. He got the message because he immediately called me back and made plans to come over. Of course, he brought Elliott.
“Hello beautiful,” he said as I opened the door. “What are you making for dinner?” Elliott, the complete goofball that he was, stumbled into my apartment and ran into my bedroom to play with Blondie.
“Hello to you too, Elliott,” I patted the big greyhound on the back as he sped by. “Let’s sit down and talk for a minute.”
“Great. I wanted to tell you about something,” he sounded exceedingly excited. “Get this. I saw an ad today about an open audition," he stated with a twinkle in his eyes. You’ll never believe it -- for a paint commercial looking for – are you ready? A dog. I immediately thought of Blondie.”
“Really?” Just like that, I forgot about breaking up with him. He had my number. “You think she could be in a commercial?”
“Why not? It says open casting call,” he handed me the ad, carefully cut out for me. Then he totally surprised me by asking to cook. Granted, he didn't bring anything to cook with but at least he offered.
“Let me make dinner tonight for you. Do you have any pasta? It’s my turn to cook for a change.”Oh my God. Was he reading my mind? Maybe there was a chance, despite our age difference.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Young Ryan knew I was disappointed with him after the Valentine's Day debacle. It was impossible for him not to know, I was behaving different. It was as if I was watching myself be a mean girl but I couldn't control my anger towards him. It seemed like the ants marched off with the spark that made our relationship work. Our age difference was taking its toll on me. I felt stuck compared to my other friends.
Barb and her husband were planning a trip to Hawaii with their kids. They were bringing a sitter too so they could have some adult time together on the island of Maui. My other friend Mary received an entire new wardrobe from her husband that Christmas while Kate’s husband always picked up the tab everywhere we went. Ryan couldn't even afford to take me to McDonald's. Add to this the extreme pressure I felt every time I spoke to my mom, constantly badgering me about getting married, and I was headed for a complete meltdown. I needed to break it off with Ryan so I could meet the man of my dreams.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
There I was, with an actual boyfriend on Valentine's Day who brought me actual flowers, freaking out about the bugs he unintentionally brought into my home with the bundles of flowers he hand-picked for me. At this point, I would have appreciated one lovely store bought bouquet. But it was what it was and it was up to me to do something about the pests.
“First, get all the flowers out of here and into the dumpster in the alley,” I commanded, now in full combat mode.
My young boyfriend Ryan looked like he was going to cry, but then he complied to my demands like a wounded solider, scooping up fistfuls of flowers and tearing down the stairs of my apartment to the garbage.
I dumped my bedding into large trash bags to take to the Laundromat. Next, I put the dogs in my car so they wouldn’t be hurt by the bug spray.
Ryan was running as fast as he could up and down the stairs with his arms filled with flowers while I was spraying the hell out of the ants and spiders. We were quite a team. We both got on our hands and knees and cleaned up the dead ants with paper towels, then took the bedding to the Laundromat. That’s how we spent Valentine’s Day, killing ants and washing bedding. How romantic.