That’ll be one dollar, please

Thatll+be+one+dollar%2C+please

Carissa Chan

 

It all started over the summer. My family and I were walking with our golden retriever, Sierra, in a park when a little girl ran up to us.

“Can I pet your dog?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said.

She knelt down to scratch Sierra’s back and stroked the soft, wavy fur, laughed when Sierra licked her face, then stood up after she was done.

“That’ll be a dollar,” my father suddenly said.

She stared at him blankly.

“A dollar,” my father said, slowly and clearly. “For petting the dog.”

She turned around and ran away.

Since then, my family has convinced themselves that Sierra needs a job to contribute to the household income, especially since she’s considered an adult dog at four years old. So we decided to think of some occupations for her to take part in.

I came up with a few that I thought were decent: Rabbit chaser, grass eater, full-time sleeper. I knew for a fact that she’d excel at those. My father, mother and sister, however, were a bit more ambitious with their ideas: Actress, model, therapy dog for the Queen of England.

I snatched my sister’s list of potential jobs and took a look.

“Soccer player?” I asked. “How’s Sierra supposed to do that?”

“Sierra would be good at it,” my sister said calmly. “Watch.”

She tossed a soccer ball in the air. Sierra caught in her mouth it on the first bounce, then hid it under a bush in our front yard. I raised my eyebrows. But my sister remained unruffled.

“See, she’s hiding the ball,” she said. “So none of the other players can take it and score a goal.”

Clearly, we had problems agreeing on a job at first. But after some research, we finally settled on some more realistic ones — goose chaser, water rescuer and sled dog — all of which are actual canine occupations. With actual people, like the City of Cupertino, hiring them for actual use.

Then began the job hunting. Since Sierra is considered very popular — not to mention young, fit, pretty and blonde — in the canine community, I assumed that someone would be quick to hire her. Actually, I was confident in her to the point that I thought we’d receive loads of job offers and have to turn some of them down. Turns out, there aren’t a lot of people looking for dog workers, even ones as likeable as her. Sierra didn’t seem to mind all the rejections, though. I guess lounging on the couch and snacking on broccoli (yes, broccoli) suits her well.

As we scoured the Internet looking for hiring opportunities, I realized something very important: A dog trying to get a job is not that different from a human trying to get a job.

1. Professional geese chasing dogs must be Border Collies (racial discrimination).
2. Water rescuing dogs are usually male (gender discrimination).
3. Sled dogs need to be strong with thick fur (physical features discrimination).

With so few jobs available for dogs, my family resorted to my father’s original idea of charging kids for petting Sierra. Hundreds of people have played with her since that day. So far, my family has made exactly $0, claiming that they feel guilty about asking for money.

The next idea they came up with? Dressing up Sierra in a Santa suit for Christmas, then charging people for photos. My mother is particularly proud about this, saying that it will spread “Christmas cheer.” It could, I suppose. But first, they’ll have to get Sierra to sit still for more than five seconds.

Despite these struggles, looking for a job for my dog was actually decently fun. But one night, it finally dawned on me that we were taking this a bit too far as my family voiced their disapproval of the presidential debate topics. Foreign affairs? Unimportant. Canine employment? Critical to our country.

Needless to say, Sierra remains very much unemployed. Whoever creates a social welfare plan for dogs will have my family’s votes, though — if they haven’t already started a Sierra-for-president campaign.

“Don’t count her out,” my father said. “She’s got good hair.”