Layla Dog Dorsey here, pinch-hitting for my home girl Heidi whom you all know and love. Heidi’s people, Diane, has a booboo paw and can’t hit the buttons on the machine that make these stories so they have asked me to sit in real quick while she gets better.
You probably don’t know me unless you have read my articles in the Christian Science Monitor or the Los Angeles Times, but I don’t like to mention those because I’m not a namedropper. I’m a very low-key dog and in fact, I like to think of myself as Heidi’s wing dog.
That’s right, I’m the Sundance to her Butch, the Martin to her Sinatra, her … oh well, you get it. Humans are smarter than they look, so you know that behind every great dog there is a humble, self-effacing yet infinitely talented sidekick who leads the entourage and helps to make the Alpha Dog look good. C’est moi!
I can’t tell you some of the cool things about Studio City the way Heidi does because I live all the way over in Culver City (a zip code where Brentwood mobile groomers will not tread) and need a people to drive me around. So I thought I might give you an insider’s look at life inside the posse of a star like Heidi.
You probably think it’s all glamour but let me tell you it’s no dish of milk bones. My job is to operate behind the scenes and that’s the way I like it. I think of myself as the fixer because I make things happen. Think of me as the Karl Rove of dogs. I have made a science out of manipulating people to get the best work out of them because let’s face it, humans are basically lazy. I mean, when was the last time you saw one of them chase after a car or run down a tennis ball? They’ll sleep eight hours a day if you let them!
We all know that dogs run the world and peoples take the credit, so I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. As long as they think they are in charge, it all works. When Heidi looks glamorous in those cheesecake shots it’s really because I was up at dawn making sure the peoples got things right. I’m the one who makes sure there are no blue milk bones in the dish, the rawhide chewies are room temperature, and I don’t even want to mention scheduling problems and dealing with peoples on the phone. Do you have any idea how difficult it is for a Labrador to use a BlackBerry?
When it comes to peoples, usually all it takes is a wag of my tail and they melt right into my paw, but with the more difficult ones I’m not above using my feminine wiles to get things done. After all in the dog-eat-dog world of the Hollywood food chain, it’s a war to stay number one and I do whatever I have to do to keep my homey in the public eye. (But don’t take that wrong and the rumors about me and that collie were all fabricated).
Knowing where the groomer is 24/7, laying out the right collar for the next shoot, keeping the humans quiet on set, working with lighting techs who never remember Heidi’s good side, arrogant limo drivers who hate dog hair in the
back seat, and making sure the extras don’t lick their privates on camera all take their toll. Thank Dog that Heidi is easygoing and not like that little Chihuahua that can’t even talk and has to have a people do her voice over. Justlike Spencer Tracy, Heidi always hits her mark and never trips over the furniture.
I could be working for one of those dumb dogs who slide all over the kitchen floor to get to their food when you call them or claim they can’t open a pack of Beggin’ Strips because they have no thumbs! Give me a break! If a bear can use toilet paper, a dog can open a plastic package! We all have teeth for Dog’s sake and nothing comes between me and a Beggin’ Strip!
So there you have the difference between a working actor dog and a star, and Ms. Heidi is the latter. She is a throwback to old Hollywood when glamour really meant something -- quiet, aloof, not barking unless she has something important to say, maintaining just the right veil of mystery without having to show too much skin, a class act if ever there was one and I like to think I have something to do with that. Thanks to her I am an American success story, clawing my way up from a pound in South Central full of pit bulls to life in the fast lane, and I’m going to work my tail off to keep both of us there.
(Editor’s note from Diane: Layla’s Dad, adventurer and travel writer James Dorsey, helped her out with this column. Editor’s note from Heidi: Thank you Layla. I would like to see the bear use toilet paper, and also please to have a Beggin’ Strip next time I come over).