What job would your dog have?

This is a guest post from Margaret Bishop.

I pay close attention to my dogs. I notice little things such as which is the favorite toy this week and who has claimed the most comfortable bed for the night. I have conversations with them where they each respond in different voices and with their own attitudes and verbal tics. (these take place all in my head, I’m that crazy) I think about them, talk about them and observe them. But when I took my female pointer to an acupuncturist and at the conclusion of a long series of questions about her temperament, likes, dislikes, sociability, he asked, “If she were a person, what would her job be?” I was stumped. I had never thought about her having a job. I had never imagined her working on a resume, going back to night school to get an advanced degree, engaging in an illicit office romance and taking personal days. I had no idea what her job would be.

I had been talking about how attentive and kind she is to my emotionally disturbed, special needs spaniel, so I stammered out something about how she might be a social worker, a sort of tightly wound, OCD sort of social worker.

I started thinking about it for all of my dogs. I asked other people. After the initial bewilderment, everyone usually came up with an answer. One friend said that her male corgi would be a policeman, not very bright, probably prejudiced; her female corgi would be a psychologist in flowing skirts and Birkenstocks and her male labradoodle would be a figure skater with lots of sequined outfits. Another friend said that her Border collie mix would be a night shift security guard. Someone’s Jack Russell would be a restaurant critic or maybe mayor of a small town. There was also a sheriff of a small town (another terrier), a country lawyer who works as little as possible and a Baywatch-type lifeguard (both Boykin Spaniels), and a Walmart greeter (a pitbull). Of my sisters, one has a nanny, one has a professional basketball player and one has a retired middle school principal.

For the rest of my pack, I decided the terrier is VP of a large medical device company that is defrauding the government; or maybe he owns a string of pawn shops. The pointer is actually in the military, she might fly fighter jets. She would excel at all the physical challenges, but would need some extra help with her astrophysics classes. The spaniel mix is a science professor at a small, rural university. He spends weekends in his laboratory and runs five miles every day in a pair of New Balance running shoes he has owned since the 70’s. The special needs spaniel? He does yard work at the half way house where he lives and collects disability.

What sort of job would your dog have?

Margaret Bishop is a writer living in Northern Virginia with her four unemployed dogs.

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