Maybe those Frontline commercials are my rose-colored glasses, but dogs, especially the lethargic shaggy ones, strike me as filthy and burdensome.
Let’s say, “to each their own”; that is, until I’m introduced to the dog in the workplace of all places.
My former supervisor for 2 weeks, “former” because the internship was nothing but an excuse for me to do manual labor and be enslaved to an under-qualified candidate, had plopped down a large polyester black bag in front of me.
The next thing I know, she’s talking to the bag while opening it.
OK, I thought. Maybe she’s intentionally speaking in a kind of comedic monologue to lighten up the atmosphere. This is perfect; Maybe I’ll be working with the female version of Stephen Colbert - a non-New Yorker who never seemed to have left the five boroughs.
I was wrong. I was so, so very wrong.
She was not delivering effortless satirical banter that I realize now, I deliver myself, but also find myself around at all times, (that’s a good thing.)
The lady was speaking to the over-sized cotton ball of a dog that rolled out.
She directed the dogs towards me.
As someone who has allergies to most domestic pets and who was beyond excited to see a rabbit hopping around near the highway along the body of water that separates Queens and Long Island, I was alarmed.
Starting my 2nd week on the campaign trail to broaden my horizons as a non-objective observer in the political world, my mind was racing to come up with something that would be favorable to the lady with the dog.
Maybe I don’t have to do anything. Maybe I can just give a quiet smile.
“Go to her,” the lady had cooed to her dog and directed it towards me.
I say “it” because of course, the dog had to have an androgynous name.
The dog looked up at me. I looked down at it, The lady looked at me and without thinking about what to do anymore, I swiped my hand through the dog’s fur and squeaked out, “it’s so cute.”
She then said, “Oh, I’m sorry, he/she’s dirty and needs to be washed.”
Panic - sheer panic. I tried not to wipe my hands on my clothes or anywhere else. White hair went all over my laptop’s keyboard within seconds.
That smelly and unwashed pooch is the opposite of cute.
Maybe the dog’s only here today. After all, the landlord made it clear in the contract that no pets are allowed in the building under any circumstances.
Perhaps the NYC market dictated what happened next: The whole campaign team, except me, fought for the dog’s right to lounge around the office. Apparently the candidate herself had a pesky dog herself.
It then hit me; these posers are taking a cue from our U.S. President who has a white house dog, Bo. The loveable Bo, however, is groomed and disciplined, not grungy and homeless-looking.
Over the course of my time at the office, every time my coat would fall off the chair, dog hair would stick to it. Every time I got up from my seat, my black headphones would fall on the dog’s tail and I would come back to find that my black headphones had become a dalmation-print, black with white hair everywhere.
Progressively, my nose, ears, and throat would start to itch. I couldn’t breathe at night. Yes, allergies to the dog had reached a pique.
The dog’s owner had bought a $40 rug, or dog bed as she called it, and placed it less than an inch away from where I sat. The entire area reeked of dog urine and God only knows what else.
Enough was enough and I sat on the opposite side of the room the next day. Not that this location change made a difference as the dog roamed about freely, all over my oxfords and leather boots.
The lady looked at me questioningly and hinted at me to sit where I was sitting before. I laid down the law: “I’m allergic”, I said.
What transpired next was as far as I could take the nonsensical atmosphere of this sorry excuse for a campaign office.
The dog was staying; whether or not the dog stayed was not even an option. So the predicament was, either I stay, or the dog stays.
I’m too young and motivated to stay in a place that takes doesn’t take into consideration the health of its staff.
What kind of politician can advocate for the people when she cannot even provide a healthy atmosphere for her indentured slaves?
Resisting all efforts to be a behind-the-scenes minion to progress the candidate’s status in life, and not her constituency or myself, I left in the nick of time. So thank you dog, for expediting my decision to leave a corrupt politician’s task force.