Cali’s New Job

When Cali was a very small puppy, she tried to move in on Jana’s turf, to steal her job! Young Cali had her heart set on delivering the paper, but that didn’t go so well. Cali decided that she was just going to be a puppy of leisure.

But every so often, she’d check out what was out there.

She usually wasn’t interested in the jobs that were available. Picking up her dish doesn’t pay well enough. Putting her toys away is boring. And besides, she’s just going to get them out again in the morning.

She’s willing to work as a dishwasher pretty often, despite the dull vegetarian menu, but the hours are irregular and the pay is inconsistent.

She does like her gig work as a greeter, but again, it’s unpredictable and the pay is inconsistent. Some visitors play with her; others ignore her. Some don’t even come inside to admire the toy she has brought to show them. The really mean ones just ring the bell and disappear. Who does that?

Yes, for many years, the job market was tight. But things are looking up.

Finally, Cali has a new job that she loves. It’s predictable, the hours are the same every day, and the pay is great. Thanks to the new fence that nice man from Western Montana Patio built for her, she can safely get the paper.

Yep, back to her first job. Or attempt at a job. Jana had that one locked up for a while, then Cali was too depressed to work … then there was no paper for about a year.

When she first moved to her new yard, she immediately saw a problem:  There was a house blocking the paper delivery area, and the front yard opened right onto a busy street. She wasn’t going to risk her life for a job!

At last, the stars have aligned: There’s a paper to get and it’s safe for her to work.

With the new fence, all is well. She goes out into the back yard first thing to take care of business, then she’s ready for work. She bounds through the house and out the front door, tracks down that paper (the weekend carrier doesn’t have the best aim …), wrestles with it a bit, and delivers a slightly damaged plastic-wrapped bundle. With a little encouragement, she’ll even place it in the bossy human’s hand, but she really thinks that dropping it on the living room rug should be sufficient. Lazy human!

Still, the human comes through with decent pay. A liver treat! Best of all, her workday is done with plenty of day left to play, roll in the grass, and sleep on the human’s bed.

Cali thrusts a slightly rumpled newspaper at her human.
Here you go!
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Puppy Tries to Downsize Older Dog, Steal Her Job

At the ripe old age of not-quite-three-months, Cali made her first play for Jana’s job. She liked the idea of a paycheck, in the form of some treats, delivered as soon as the work was complete.

The newspaper was still bigger than Cali the first time she grabbed it and dashed off ahead of Jana. Reined in by a too-short leash, Cali was soon overtaken by Jana. Jana looked at her in annoyance, then reached over and snatched “her” newspaper back.

Jana’s held this job since she was a tiny pup, and she is not ready to retire.

get the paper

Since that day, I try to get the girls to take turns, and I give each one a reward, but Cali still wants that job. And Jana is not giving up without a fight. Sometimes the paper bears the brunt of this literal tug-of-war.

Cali and the Sunday Paper

Dogs need jobs. Ever more, dogs need opportunities to earn rewards. But I think what is really at play here is that Cali looks up to — worships — Jana and wants to do everything that Jana does. Cali learns new skills very quickly and I am sure it is partly because she is watching what her adored big sister does and copying every move, albeit in her clumsy puppy way.

Still, I think the best solution might be a second newspaper subscription.