Let me explain. Bentley – my dog – is a mutt. Not a designer breed kind of mutt, but an actual we-have-no-idea-what-kind-of-dog-he-is mutt. Oh, and he has an agent.
No really. My nineteen pound rescue dog (Petfinders) from Arkansas has an agent who works with him, trains him, and brings him to auditions. In an only-in-NY story, we had had Bentley only a few days, when a woman stopped my husband (and dog) on the street and said she had a proposition for him. She was a pet-agent, she said. And our puppy had potential.
My husband, thinking I would refuse, politely declined. I, however, did not refuse. “We can make money off this dog?!” I said. “Sign me up.”
So now, more than two years later – and after an agent-free year when she wasn’t interested anymore – Bentley is back in business. Once or even twice a week, the trainer takes Bentley, trains him in a few hours to do things I haven’t been able to teach him in two years – and takes him on go-sees.
A few weeks ago. Bentley booked his first job. A big job – a Target commercial. We were so excited. My dog owner friends from the park were jealous. One even said to me “No offense,” which, by the way, always means they are about to say something offensive “but why Bentley? I mean, what makes him so special? My dog is cute. He could be in a commercial.”
Well, maybe. But your dog hates people. He snarls at everyone. He’s mean. Cute or not, no one wants to work with a crazy. Just ask Sean Young. Also – he’s a dog. It’s not a personal affront. Get over it.
ANYWAY – Bentley – because he is so cute and has such a lovely personality – (take that, woman in the park!) – booked the job. But then, the day of, they went with another dog. Why?
My nineteen pound dog needs to lose — get this – a pound. ONE POUND! People like to see thin dogs, evidently. A good looking dog has a tuck between his ribcage and his belly. I was given express instructions on how much to feed him, how much exercise he should get.
My dog is too fat for TV work.
At first, I thought it was hysterical. A dog on a diet! Then, I got depressed. Even my dog is not immune from body image issues. Granted, they’re my issues, and the casting director’s, but still. My daughter, a twelve year old who wears girls size 10 jeans and barely tips the scale at all, has already begun obsessing over her weight. (my fault, I’m sure). I have wasted a lifetime worrying about every lump, bump, and calorie, and yet have still to lose those dreaded 10 pounds. (Hence my tagline: On Momming and Aging and My 20 Year Quest to lose the Same Ten Pounds) And now my dog will also be saddled with self image issues? Will he be too embarrassed to go to the dog run with the other dogs? Will he decline to sit in my lap for fear I’ll notice that he’s gained a few? Will he insist I don’t put him in the red sweater I knitted him because it makes him look fat?
Will there be no end to the madness?
So I picked a dog who isn’t fat, exactly – but who needs to lose a few to fit into society’s idea of the perfect weight. You do the math.
One day, maybe Bentley will write his own blog: “From Hungry to Heavy…in one owner flat. On barking, and pooping, and my five year quest to lose that one last pound.”
Hey, he already has an agent.