The e-mail from our dog groomer read as follows: “I’m contacting you to let you know about a talent agent’s interest in Lucy. She wants a side shot so she can see the markings, age, weight, a little about her personality and a headshot. She said (and this is a direct quote): ‘She’s a cutie. If she’ll work for me, I can definitely get her work.’”
Flinging my laptop onto the ottoman, I sprang to my feet.
“It’s the golden ticket, baby!” I screamed. “We’re going to HOLLYWOOOOOOOD!!”
The future starlet cowered in the corner.
“I knew you were the most adorable cocker spaniel ever,” I sputtered, gripping my flabbergasted pup by the jowls. “You’ve got a million dollar face! We’ll have to start calling you Gravy Train!”
Lucy cocked her head and peered at me through those impossibly long eyelashes, as if to say, “This love fest is awesome and all, but I’d give my eyeteeth for some doggie biscotti!”
I scampered back to read the rest of the note that included instructions to facilitate Lucy’s rise to canine fame:
“Consider using a professional photographer. Get shots of both sides. Practice having her sit. Use a release word such as ‘free,’ then praise and treat her. Most work involves sitting, lying down or walking from mark to mark ...”
Hmm. Walking from mark to mark. I’m not sure even I could do that under pressure. This could be harder than I thought.
Undeterred, I launched into an unfettered fantasy of our newfound pooch celebrity. (Mama Rose never had nothin’ on me, folks.)
“We’ll start small,” I said aloud, pacing the floor. “You gotta pay your dues, no matter how good-looking you are. It’s not like you were discovered sitting at Schwab’s lunch counter.”
Lucy sat there, watching me walk back and forth, one eye on the biscuit bowl.
“A dog food ad here, a Hallmark card there,” I continued. “Then, the big time. TV commercials — for beer, not dog food. Those are a dime a dozen. Beer is where the big bucks are, baby.
“Next, a sitcom: ‘Make Room for Lucy!’ Then, a reality show: ‘Real Housepets of Orange County!’ You’ll break out in a major motion picture. We’ll call it ‘Lucy and Me,’ But you won’t die in the end. Mama couldn’t bear it.”
“We’ll make unlimited doggie biscotti a non-negotiable demand in every contract. You’re going to be right up there with the greats: Lassie, Spuds MacKenzie, Scooby-Doo ...”
Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks.
Uh-oh, I thought. In all my excitement, I’d failed to consider the hefty price of fame.
What happens when the pup paparazzi start hiding out in the bushes, ready to catch Lucy, or me, in a compromising pose? She’s prone to licking herself indiscreetly, and I have a habit of doing squats in the backyard, waiting for her to do her business. Will we be stalked by TMZ and the National Enquirer, hoping to catch the latest scandal from the world’s new “It-dog” on video?
What if there IS a scandal? What if she has too much champagne while clubbing one night and bites one of the paps on the leg? What if she hooks up with one of Hollywood’s notorious “bad dogs” or, worse, a politician’s pup? Next thing you know, we’ll be calling Gloria Allred for representation!
What if Lucy gains a few pounds and unflattering photos of her on the beach surface on the web:
“CELEBRI-PUP HAS REAL POOCH!”
And what if, in an effort to lose the weight, my naïve little girl develops a nose candy habit? There’s not a substance on the planet she can resist sniffing. Our entire backyard is a freakin’ gateway drug!! Will I have to put her in Betty Ford for 30 days or sell her soul to “Celebrity Rehab”?
I turned to my dog and cried, “Oh my God, we’ll be the LOHANS!”
“No, girl,” I said to Lucy, while stroking her long, shiny, naturally curly coat. “I wouldn’t do that to you. You’re just a young bitch. You’re not ready to be famous.”
She stared blankly at me, as if to say, “Yeah. Fine. Whatever. But I’m really Jones’ing for doggie biscotti.”
I reached for a biscuit, held it high and launched into our “treat” routine:
“OK, sit. Shake. Stay. Good girl. Now go fetch Mama a Bud Light.”
— Cathy Hamilton is a 54-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author. She can be reached at 832-6319.