Dogs in Need

It’s probably just a matter of time till they write me up. I started the week by making a woman cry on the phone. Ha, I fucking love it. I sat there, cold as stone as she sobbed about her miserable life. Granted, she had just been very rude and patronizing and defiant, as in adopting a dog from us Sunday, and by Monday wants to break one of the conditions of the adoption by dropping out of her obedience class. “Because my dog is already perfect and I know everything there is to know about training dogs.”

Lady, everybody thinks they know everything about raising a dog, so why does this shelter even exist? “This is our profession, ma’am, this is what we do for a living. There are reasons we ask you to take the class. It helps you bond with your dog, and frankly it greatly reduces the chance that you will return your perfect dog in three days. This is what we do.”

“And how old are you?” she asks.

I close my eyes for a moment. “Ma’am, please do not do this to me right now.”

“I’m just telling you I’ve had dogs all my life.”

“Well, it sounds like you’ve made up your mind.” Frankly I don’t care.

“Well, I have, but I just want to make sure you aren’t going to try and like, take my dog away from me.”

“We can’t do that. But you did sign the contract, you agreed to the conditions.”

She starts getting snivelly. “But what was I supposed to do, not adopt her?”

“Well, you could have adopted from a different shelter if you didn’t like our terms.”

“But I was supposed to have her! She needed me! She looks exactly like my last dog!”

Ooh, now I really can’t stand her. People who try to adopt the same dog as their last dead one are seriously unbalanced and setting the new dog up for complete failure when it turns out to be, surprise, a different dog.

Then she started crying.

I hate my job. I can’t deny it anymore. I hate the phone, I hate rude people, I hate being on the front lines. I hate everyone telling me they know how to raise a dog but then they abandon their under-exercised, neglected dogs with us. People so chickenshit they’ll tie their dog to our fence in the middle of the night. People who abandon their dogs when they get hit by a car because they don’t want to pay the bill. Within two months this job has become everything I was trying to avoid when I started two years ago. Introverted, oversensitive artists like myself should not be answering phones all day. Worse, it has made Dogpoet cynical about dogs. I like dogs, I do, I just don’t want to build my life around them. The writing is on the wall, I know it’s time to leave. My writing is drying up as fast as my sense of humor.

But I am one impatient mofo who cannot wait. An impatient mofo who doesn’t know the next step, who wants the next step illuminated in million-watt floodlights because I need it that way.

Yes, this is a problem of luxury. As most of mine are now. I made it through hell and now I’m ready for more, I want more from life. None of these clothes fit. Growing pains the space monkey says when I call. “Yeah, well fuck them,” I say. It’s actually exciting to witness, it means you’re hungry. “Glad you’re enjoying the show,” I say. I’m being contrary because I can, and because it’s very sexy.

Later I meet up with the cast and the crew of this little movie I’m going to be in, at the director’s house in the Castro. Some old friends, past directors and co-stars I’ve worked with. And a lot of new people, directors of photography and grips and gaffers and art directors.

“This movie has an art director?” I think. Cool.

I vent a little over tacos in the kitchen. Secretly loving the ground beef. Over the guacamole bowl I meet the young actor with whom I have a sex scene. “Oh, you’re the guy I’m going to pretend to rim.”

No, I didn’t really say that.

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