A Day in the Life of a Pack Leader (and other ways to entertain yourself without human interaction)


Something you might not know about me is that I take the dog whisperer philosophy very seriously. Caesar Milan is the closest to how I imagine God to be. He could even be God. Don’t you think God would want us all to get enough exercise, play happily together and be confident about our existence? Cesar thinks so. He also wants you to be a pack leader which is what I’ve thought of myself since age five so it works out.

So of course, when Anna, my former roommate and current person-I-do-everything-with (and sole person to wish this show was still on the air) asked me to dog-sit Manny for the week, I took my responsibilities very seriously, as any person overly obsessed with the Dog Whisperer would. I think I’m actually not allowed to watch the Dog Whisperer anymore when I am around my family due to an incident last vacation where I did nothing but watch the Dog Whisperer. It wasn’t so much of an incident as a purposeful move to avoid having to arbitrate drunken family lunacy.

Dog sitting Manny is like babysitting a chid I used to have joint custody of. Despite having an actual boyfriend, I can only imagine that Anna is often mistaken for my partner. But that is sort of accurate since we are PARTNERS IN CRIME (See what I did there?). But seriously, Anna and I went to college together and then she decided to follow me and move to Texas because she’s basically obsessed with me. (That’s why she has a super successful career and I’m unemployed.)

Anyways, we got Manny from Austin Pets Alive (an amazing organization) when we still lived together.

He was the little yapper that needed everybody’s attention and of course, since I completely identify with that behavior, I turned to Anna with my Disney princess eyes and asked, “Can we get him, Mom?”

As I type this, Manny is in the corner drooling on the rug as he breaths like Brainy from Hey Arnold. It’s just something he does to stay relevant.

There there is my dog, Tengo. He solves crime mysteries in his spare time and his favorite hobby is licking. I’m sorry, were you not aware that I was going to personify the dogs and create real life dialogue? If so, I don’t know what you think I do all day.

Since Manny has joined Team unemployed this is how most days start:

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I heard you promise yourself you’d wake up before 9:30 today!

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Wake up, idiot!

Note: They are both on top of me.

I stall a bit before getting out of bed because I am lazy and if you know how late I used to sleep you may understand better why I don’t have a job. I mean, I was talented. Not many people can sleep till five p.m. but this is something I did with style. Also, I may have been depressed for a large majority of my adolescence.

Either way, the dogs wanted out and what I wanted was to not have my legs stuck together with sweat and dog hair. Although the dogs have beds to sleep in next to ours, Tengo has a habit of burrowing under the blankets like a gopher then peeking his head out only to surprise himself in the mirror and then remember his battle with “mirror Tengo” and start barking. I have given up trying to get Tengo to forget about “mirror Tengo”–who am I to take away the most constant thing in his life?

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He’s still out there, I know it.

Then it’s time for the park. The dog park is a thirty second walk from my apartment but I need to stop at Starbucks which is a two minute walk from my apartment so I take the car. If you understand the passion Manny has for squirrels you’d understand my decision. As I walk into Starbucks, I can tell everyone is like “Hey, look, it’s that girl we see at Starbucks,” and internally I’m all like, “Damn I wonder how much money is left on this gift card I got for leaving my job.”

And then I see the almost famous guy–no, not from the movie–he’s an actual person I take to be almost famous due to the fact he sits in front of Starbucks with his agent talking about how he can only take principal roles from now on. I also have devised a scheme to set him up with Anna. So I secretly take pictures of him while in my car and send them to her. She thinks he’s cute too.

When we get to the park I’m back in pack leader mode. I’m calm and assertive. I often wonder  how many people hate me in the apartments next to the dog park for screaming “LEAVE IT!”  at the top of my lungs or making the noise a buzzer at the end of a basketball game makes when “leave it” just isn’t enough. I’ve also wondered many times while walking Tengo with Matti, how many people whisper to the person their with, “At least I’m not like that girl.” Which is fine, because I’m that girl. I bring my dog aside when he’s being a total asshole and drown him in my calm, assertive energy. That’s what pack leaders do so I’m sorry girl with a Bichon Frise, I won’t take it down a notch.

I even bring treats to the park so I can call Tengo over randomly and give him one that way he associates me with food. Because that’s the foundation of every good relationship. Manny on the other hand is more worried about squirrels, or a moving tree, or a frog twelve miles away.

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It’s like there’s hundreds of them!

Yes, I am make them wait patiently like good like children before we leave. Remember, I am pack leader.

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Doggy prison!

What’s my reward you ask? This:

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Wait, are we sleeping again already?

And the fact I just got to write for an hour uninterrupted. I need more human friends…

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