call for the Life Network show Dogs with Jobs
brings pooches who paint, work in advertising and have their own business
Redman, National Post
Cheddar practises her art. Her preferred medium is colour transfer
paper, wrapped and taped.
Redman, National Post
NO BARNETT NEWMAN: Tillie and her latest work, Lake Ontario.
I am not the boss of my dog.
When I make reasonable demands like "Stop eating off my plate!" or "Stop
hogging the couch!" he just gives me a look that says, "Uh, you're not
the boss of me."
I was raised with the "As
long as you're living under my roof, and I'm paying for the roof, you'll
follow my rules" rules. So, following in my parents' footsteps, when
the invitation for a press conference for the television show Dogs with
Jobs arrived, I thought it would be a brilliant field trip for Bogey
The third season of Dogs
with Jobs, which profiles dogs with jobs, premieres on the Life Network
I had a plan. I'd get Bogey
a job, he'd be a featured on the show and get so much exposure that
Bogey would pay for his own bills. And mine. If he's paying for my roof,
I probably wouldn't mind that he doesn't treat me like a human. Plus,
I like meeting celebrities, so why wouldn't Bogey like meeting celebrity
I knew that even though the
invitation said "Dogs welcome," this wouldn't be an easy outing. First,
every taxi that passed us on the way refused to pick us up. Bogey the
soon-to-be-celebrity-dog and I were forced to take the streetcar. This
would never happen to Lassie. Never.
Tillamoock Cheddar, known
simply as Tillie, was the first celebrity dog we ran into.
Tillie, whose job as a dog
is a painter, arrived yesterday for her first ever Canadian visit. She's
had four shows in New York, and her paintings fetch anywhere from $100
"Tillie can be a bit of a
snob," says her owner/assistant, Bauman Hastie. I didn't think so. Tillie
smelled my dog's bum, my dog smelled Tillie's bum. I don't think Tillie
quite realizes how important she is. She acted like, well, like a dog.
Bowman tells me they are
being put up at the Quality Inn (read: not the Four Seasons) and they
aren't receiving any honorarium for being here. "We got the flight paid
for," he says. Tillie travels in a sherpa bag with Bauman, and stays
under the airplane seat. "She doesn't get food or anything, and takes
up my leg room." Which is the price you pay for owning a celebrity dog,
who has so far made "in the high five figures."
"I'm hoping to live off her.
That's the plan." He's also thinking of getting her paws insured.
Next we run into Freddie,
a Great Dane, who weighs 150 pounds. His job as a dog is in advertising.
He's so big, you can throw a sign over him, and he prances around, for
all to read the advertisement. He's basically a sandwich board.
He gets anywhere from $50
to $100 an hour for doing this. I'm sorry, but for $50 to $100 an hour,
my dog could do that. Heck, I'd do that. Ken French, Freddie's babysitter,
says Freddie works 15-minute breaks into his contracts. He hands me
a business card with Freddie's face on it.
What is amazing about these
dogs with jobs is how well behaved they are. I realize this as Bogey
runs up to a very nice woman, Judy Gerstel, who works at The Toronto
Star, and snatches the chocolate chip muffin out of her hand and wolfs
it down. I do what any dog owner would do upon seeing her dog eat another
reporter's muffin. I keep walking, pretending Bogey isn't mine. "Who's
bad dog is that?" I whisper to the person next to me.
"Do you know that was a reporter?"
I scold Bogey afterwards. "She's going to ruin you in print. Ruin you!
Your reputation is tarnished."
After the presentation, which
I missed completely because Bogey refused to lie nicely at my feet,
I find Maura Kealy, the series producer and writer. "How can I get my
dog on the show?" I ask.
"What does he do?" she ask.
"Well, he's unemployed right
now. He's in between jobs."
First, she tells me, he needs
I'm sorry, I tell her, but
my dog could probably paint, too. He probably couldn't be a seeing-eye
dog, or sniff out ancient bones, or herd emu, like some of the dogs
featured on the show. But he can sit and beg for a really long time.
"That's a trick, not a job,"
she says. "He should go on Letterman."
I paid for Bogey's ride home.