Mom has been hanging out at the house lately instead of going to work. She gives me lots of extra walks and pats, so I hoped she would never get adopted. But this week she said that she found a new Forever Job, so we had better spend some time in the Covered Wagon before we won’t have time to be strays anymore. “Where will we go?!” I asked. “Somewhere new and exciting like New Jersey??” “Let’s go back to our Special Place,” Mom said.
When we got back to the Covered Wagon there were a bunch of trucks parked next to it, and a group of hunky, handsome men that looked like human Oscars sitting at a picnic table eating a snack. Mom looked real interested in them, and since we had our own snacks, I figured that she must want to be a fire fighter. Maybe that was the new job she got?
Mom said that we could “mellow out” on this trip, which means that she was too lazy to run up the mountain and she’d be walking. That was okay with me, because while she walked I could run even more miles through the brush and practice my plyometrics sprinting over logs and rocks.
“What if I told you that found us a job where neither of us had to be in danger?” Mom said as we walked along the edge of the world with all the human things like jobs and cars and houses so far below us that they seemed imaginary. “What do you mean ‘us?'” I asked. “Well, they said that you could come to work with me, but… well… they haven’t met you yet.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked. “Oscar… you bark a lot. Business dogs know how to use their indoor voices.” “I haven’t barked all day!” I pointed out. It’s true. I don’t bark all that much. Only when there are strangers, or Friends, or Frienemies, or noises, or runners who take walking breaks, or occasionally some other times. When there aren’t any of those things, like in the mountains, I’m a real quiet and introspective dude.
“You know how I decided that I didn’t have to be the most ferocious runner that we know so that I could save my energy for other things?” Mom asked when we got to the end of the world and looked out at all the mountains between us and Oregon, and Nevada, and Toronto. “Yeah,” I said. “It’s why we almost never run more than 5 miles anymore.” “Well, I want that kind of peace for you too,” Mom said. “You’re very brave with chipmunks and ground squirrels, but maybe you don’t have to always be competing for top dog. Maybe if you were a little more tolerant of things like people coming out their front doors, neighbors parking their cars, recycling trucks, dogs that ignore you, or waiting outside Starbucks then you wouldn’t feel so anxious all the time that one of those things might set you off.” That sounded awfully scary. “But Mom, if I don’t bark at those things, how will I keep myself from getting scared?” I asked. “The point is that maybe you can learn not to be scared of those things at all anymore. Wouldn’t it be great to not get the bejesus scared out of you so many times a day? Maybe if you chill out, you could use all the energy you save to become successful business dog. Business dogs get butt scratches from all kinds of different people. Do you want to be stuck in a dead-end security dog job and spend all day by yourself forever?” (I didn’t think that this was time for me to bring up The Other Woman who comes and takes me on adventures while Mom is away.) “Okay,” I said. “I’ll give it a try.”
Oscar the Business School Student
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