Sadie’s date turned out to be a real dog

July 31, 2006

A READER wrote asking why I don’t write much about dating anymore. Maybe it’s because dating isn’t such a happy topic for just about anyone I know or because I haven’t been doing very much of it either.

Sadie and "Duke"

Many of my friends predicted that while out on the book tour, Sadie and I would meet Mr. Wonderful, but we’ve come to believe he may just be right across the street. In any event, just about everyone I know has stories about dating disasters, not dating successes — including Sadie.

Since the release of our book, Sadie and I have gotten loads of mail addressed to both of us, but in early April an envelope arrived addressed just to Sadie. Inside was an invitation from a famous celebrity dog — and he wanted to meet Sadie! I read the invitation to her and explained who this dog was and that I would show her one of his television commercials as soon as possible.

We didn’t have to wait long because as the Spokesdog for his family bean business, Duke Bush is one busy canine, appearing on television with his dad Jay in a variety of roles. Sadie was soon mesmerized by Duke in his beekeeper outfit, Duke riding in his dad’s pickup truck, Duke reading in the family library, and Duke talking.

And so we began to prepare for the date. I, of course, was ecstatic. What Mom doesn’t want her daughter to have a handsome celebrity boyfriend who might also be quite wealthy? After all, if Sadie and Duke hit it off, she might soon have a contract of her own, appearing with him in commercial bliss.

We decided the classic look would be best, a wash and fluff, a simple strand of pearls along with a squirt of Mango Tango perfume. She’d wear her dog-diet blue leash and the collar with rhinestones as well. Since Sadie was a celebrity dog in her own right at the upcoming event, she’d have a smart looking “Exhibitor/Author” badge as well.

About a week before the date, I decided to look at Duke’s Web site. To my dismay, I discovered that Sadie would not be meeting Duke at all, but an actor dog hired especially for the occasion. Apparently Duke has done well enough to do little or nothing anymore. He stays on the bean farm chasing squirrels or lying on the front porch while some impostor makes big bucks to go out and stand in for photos — and dupe poor little girl dogs like Sadie. How would I break the news to her? Or need I tell her at all? Maybe the impostor could really carry off his duplicity, and Sadie would be none the wiser.

But because honesty really is the best policy in matters of the heart, I showed her the Web site and explained the situation. After a few huffs and snorts, she seemed to lose all interest in the event. When we arrived in Washington, she didn’t want to take her old red leash and collar off or leave the hotel room, but I explained this was work and the show really must go on.

And so we met the phony Duke Bush and posed for photos, and Sadie acted like she couldn’t care less. During the photo shoot she tried and succeeded in garnering most of the attention, giving little of her own to the duplicate Duke. While the professional actor Duke smiled straight into the camera, Sadie stared at him in a challenging manner. However, she was a true professional, fulfilling all her obligations and then falling asleep in the taxi on the way back to the hotel as if it was all just too much. I rewarded her with a delicious room-service meal and we proceeded to put this debacle behind us.

All of this made me think how much easier it would be for us humans in the dating scene if we knew going in what the real story was. Sadie knew that her date was not whom he purported to be and was spared any heartache or failed expectations. If there ever is another date for me, I think I’ll send a substitute Patti first just to see if it would be worth my effort to take the real me the next time. I’m betting I’ll be having as much leisure time as the “real” Duke and not have much reason to leave my own front porch either.


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