Since man and dog teamed up, dogs have always led the way. We didn’t put leashes on dogs to keep them safe; we tethered them to us so they wouldn't leave us behind.
Such it is with not just the hunt in ancient times, but on this road of life. Tucker has been navigating the ship of my life since the day I met him. For the past four years, every gig has one non-negotiable element: Tucker has to be allowed in the office. We’re a package deal. And no, he’s not my emotional support dog. He’s more of my mood ring. If I am flustered and stressed, he begins futzing and itching and scratching and making a nuisance of himself. When I am calm and productive, he is napping. When I am happy and joyful, he offers up a toy for an exuberant game of tug, tail wagging and smile on this face.
Whenever I turn down a job because my partner is not welcome, I know it is for the best. I am even sometimes justified when I later hear what a nightmare that particular job was. As for where Tucker has taken me, I can’t complain. Dog people are just more compassionate people. They understand that our jobs are jobs, not our entire lives.
I haven’t worked in Los Angeles in almost a decade. First off, I simply enjoy location work far more and get paid more lucratively for it. But the other reason, at least recently, is that none of the major studios allow dogs on the property, and few office/warehouse rentals allow them either.
And then this job came along: a television show shot mostly internationally with a couple of months in Los Angeles. I’d be based at LA Center Studios, the dog-friendliest dog friendly studio in all of LA. But I’d miss any opportunities for summer adventure jobs. No wandering around the east coast, no journeying to Canada, no cannonball run to Georgia. I’ve never spent more than four months in one shot in my own house. Even Tucker has only spent half his life with me at my permanent address.
But life has a way of being exactly the same—until it isn’t. Just one moment and all changes. One yes, and there it is: a gig at home, where Tucker and I spend every night in the house I bought five years ago and have spent all of three years in. It will be nice to be home, but my wanderlust is hard to keep bottled up. Just a week after accepting the job, someone called and said, “Hey, do you know anyone who wants to go to Wilmington, NC?” My first thought was, “Oooo! I haven’t been to Wilmington before!!” And then I realized I had already committed to be here—until the onset of Autumn.
I am trying to put the longevity of the job out of my mind and concentrate on making this like every other distant location job. I need to explore and discover this City of Angeles like I would any new town or city on location. There’s slightly more woods than Santa Fe, but certainly not as many waterfalls and shaded paths as the southern east coast, so it's going to take some work, but I will find the wild in this sprawling urban society.
In the spirit of making every weekend the same as on location, Pete’s mom Nicole invited Tucker and me to explore the trails outside her own apartment complex on President’s Day.
One forgets, especially working in an office that overlooks the 110 freeway and is surrounded by skyscrapers on every side, that a lot of Los Angeles does in fact look like this:
After a fire (set accidentally by kids playing with fireworks) tore through Griffith Park, ravaging the landscape nearly a decade ago, this one tree was all that remained. No special effort was made to save it—it just SURVIVED. Its tenacity (or good luck) to not be consumed by flames has led many to sojourn up to this spot. Many of them, today.
At a round trip of 3.5 miles, the elevation gain is a grueling 1100 feet over a mile and a half or so. I thought this would deter the masses. I was wrong.
Tucker was quite pleased to be on the trails again, regardless of how many humans might be on them with him.
Long before reaching the pinnacle, we encountered sweeping views of Los Angeles.
Way atop our vertical climb, we came across boulders to add to the fun. Not enough to create an agility course, but enough to make Tucker smile as he climbed atop and balanced himself for a better view.
Tucker and Pete napped while we humans decompressed from an afternoon in the sun.