Another lifelong friendship forged at The Second City: “We met at Second City Detroit. Tim was my Level A teacher.”
Canine lovers everywhere have an opportunity to show their furry loved ones some extra special attention by celebrating Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday. Yep, you can put away the pocket-bacon and Snausages— bringing your best friend into your place of business and is a treat all in itself.
But why stop there? As it’s stands right now, it seems the holiday is structured more for the pet owner than for the dog. We talk about those mutts like they’re people, but we don’t challenge them or treat them as equals. We make condescending commands, like “sit,” or “roll over,” or “stop rubbing your anus on the carpet,” but we don’t stop to consider what that anus is capable of.
I say we stop bringing our dogs to work– and start teaching our capable dogs some real responsibility by putting them to work.
Put your dog to work as a cashier
When I was a teen, my parents pushed me to work as a McDonald’s cashier because they wanted me to have experience handling money. We don’t let dogs use money (with the exception of those weird, underground dog poker games, obviously), but is that because they’re “dogs,” or because they don’t have experience? Meanwhile, that friendly, panting face would fit right in with the other mindless, exhausted teens working the cash, barking out the same things for hours. How proud would you be if your sweet pup somehow finished a shift, balanced the till, AND didn’t eat a single customer’s meal? Smiles and drools are free!
Put your dog to work as a corporate team leader
Corporate strategy. Brand identity. Ideas being thrown against the wall, heads butting, faces reddening…I couldn’t think of an environment more perfectly suited for a Corgi trying to make a name for himself. Like a Descendant-of-a-Wolf on Wall Street, this little guy gets to let loose in this environment, applying his own cut-throat aggressive teeth-barred tactics with an admittedly basic understanding of the marketplace. Put a tiny suit on him, and he’ll fit right in.
Put your dog to work as a relationship counselor
They say that animals have an innate ability to sense when a human is sick or in distress. Then why not let a wiener dog help stop Mom and Dad from separating? Mr. Scruffs doesn’t know why Dad doesn’t look at Mom the same way he looks at Janet from accounting, and Mr. Scruffs doesn’t understand what Mom means when she says her needs aren’t being fulfilled. All Mr. Scruffs cares about is making the loud, scary noises stop, finding some common ground, and maybe throwing a ball around a little. I think that’s something every couple can relate to.
Put your dog to work as an air traffic controller
The keen coordination and extreme loyalty of a trained dog is wasted on anything less than the responsibility of directing multiple commercial flights. It’s been a bad year or two for airlines, but a dog wouldn’t let emotions cloud her objectivity – all that Terrier sees are plane-shaped Frisbees on a screen, moving from point to point, and I’ll be damned if she’s gonna let one of those drop out of the sky and touch the ground. …I mean, unless it’s landing. You’d have to explain landing to her. Good landing, girl.
Put your dog to work delivering human babies
Every time a child is born, it’s kind of like a rescue— safely helping a new life escape the womb and find life in this world. And when my future wife is squeezing my hand and wincing in those final painful moments, I want to look over and see the responsible face of a St. Bernard in a lab coat, with that little rescue dog canister under its chin, full of reassuring statements and Lamaze reminders. …wait. What’s wrong, boy? Fire at the old mill? No? Baby? Breech baby? Good boy. Code blue!
Put your dog to work with his finger on the button
Global politics and evolving superpowers all play a dangerous game on a scale far larger than that of the wood chip-covered dog park around the corner from my house. But I know that somewhere, somehow, ideologies will clash, governments will stubbornly stand their ground, and the fate of the world will rest on one little Pug’s willingness to press the button and drop that bomb. I hope in that moment, that heavy-breathing, stinky little mutt remembers his training.
Because I am NOT cleaning that up.
Steve Hobbs is a Toronto-based actor/comedian/writer, trained in improv and sketch writing through Second City’s Conservatory and longform programs. He’s also a past senior editor/writer for The Beaverton satiric Canadian news magazine and is best known for his work at Toronto Fringe 2014 in sketch juggernaut “Everything is Fine,” as well as with ex-Impatient Theatre Co. headliners “El Fantoma.”