Walk of Shame

I just landed a 5-week dog-sitting gig. I’m excited to make some money, but I’m beginning to fear that my undergraduate degree was all for nothing. My mom thinks I should open a pet grooming salon or join a “club for people who like animals” (direct quote), and my sister thinks I should be a dog catcher. Clearly they’ve both lost confidence in my undergraduate degree as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love the pup I’m currently babysitting. She’s the only one of my friends who will willingly watch back-to-back episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 on SOAPnet with me. I dog-sat her at the beginning of the summer and when it was too hot to play outside, we’d spend our afternoons gossiping about Brian Austin Green while I groomed her. We’re still not sure how we feel about Donna Martin, but we definitely agree that Dylan is far too emotional to stomach on a daily basis. That, and he looks closer to his 40th birthday than his 18th. I feel the same way about him as I do Dawson from Dawson’s Creek. No one looked that old in my high school, and if they did, they were probably with the DEA.

For blogging purposes, I’ll refer to this pup as Whitney. Whitney is, hands down, my favorite dog to dog-sit (see Wolfsitting for the worst). I honestly did love spending time with Fritz and Hannah (mostly Fritz), especially on the days that they didn’t bring me animal carcasses or rotting hoofs. However, Whitney is remarkably low maintenance when compared to Fritz and Hannah, and I doubt she’ll require the Heimlich as often as my dear mole-eating Fritz.

Whitney is a huge, furry black dog and could easily be mistaken for an enormous teddy bear. She sleeps next to me in bed like a human and we often wake up nose-to-nose. It’s no wonder my allergies are borderline pink-eye material. She tips the scales at about 100 lbs, and while I love big animals, she can sometimes be a little too big for me to handle. The first time I watched her, she dragged me on my back across the hardwood floor because she was excited for her walk. I don’t take her for walks — she takes me for walks. She literally grabs the leash in her mouth and parades me around the neighborhood like I’m some young piece of meat. I feel so used. People point and laugh, or slow down as they drive by and say things like, “Oh, looks like she’s taking you for a walk!” Very clever.

Here I am at a young age taking a cat for a walk. Notice that the cat bears a strong resemblance to Buster. Destiny?

Then, Whitney poops in their lawn, putting an end to all friendly communication. When this happens, I either do one of two options:

Option A: Bend down and make a fuss, pretending to pick it up. Walk away quickly.

Option B: Theatrically pat my pockets in a desperate attempt to locate a spare bag. Obviously I don’t even carry bags. I then look horrified and painfully embarrassed, like this is the one time I forgot bags! How could I! If it feels right, I’ll sometimes look to the heavens in a gesture that says, “why me? why this day!?” I wince and mouth “shoot” (or any variation of the word, depending on the audience), then walk away, throwing a final glance over my shoulder to make sure no witness doubts my sense of regret.

It’s easily the best theatrical performance I’ve seen since Cats, a musical I used to be mildly obsessed with. In fact, I brought in the soundtrack one day for elementary school show-and-tell.

Sometimes I wonder if I had any friends.

Anyways, my mom caught on to my negligence when I brought the pup over to my house. I wanted to take Whitney for a walk, but we needed a change of scenery. That, and I didn’t want her neighbors to catch on to our hit-and-run routine. When my mom saw me walk out of the house sans pooper-scooper, she ran after me like a neighborhood watchman (my sister and I call her “safety captain,” stemming from the time she sat in our driveway and yelled at/chased down everyone who blew through the stop sign next to our house. There may or may not have been a megaphone involved).

“Don’t you dare leave without bags, Joanna!” She was actually mad at me. I finally caved and pocketed about 20 Kroger bags to ensure maximum hand coverage and minimal seepage potential. I would have pocketed a few latex gloves, but I’d used all of them applying my self tanner last Saturday.

Other than that, things have gone smoothly with Whitney. We’ve reached a pretty comfortable place in our relationship, and I’m happy with where things are. A few nights ago, we watched the season premiere of Two and a Half Men together. Neither of us are big fans of Ashton Kutcher, especially now that he looks like a long-haired Al Borland, but I felt it was important that we take part in such a historical television event.

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