In the fall of 2020, I showed up at 8 a.m. to an unassuming Silver Lake home to meet Gordon. I was informed by the dog-walking company I worked for that he would be brought out to me by some kind of nanny. I knocked, waited, and knocked some more.
Texting with my boss, I learned there was some confusing back-and-forth with the client causing the delay… standard dog drama. Waiting, I paced around in my decaying Ross Dress For Less athleisure, weathered around the crotch to Megan’s Law-level sheerness over the course of my yearlong dog-walking career.
Suddenly, Jason Sudeikis bounded out the door. Gordon was not just any Gordon — he was Gordon Sudeikis-Wilde.
I’ve encountered men like Jason Sudeikis many times. I like to call them “Nice Guy Tie Dye” guys. He’s in tie-dye, but he’s no hippie. The style’s counterculture origins have long faded, and now announce the arrival of a man who may have never even seen the business end of a gravity bong. Maybe he took to the bongos at a college party after two Mikes Hards once… and yeah, that was badass. But then he threw up. The tie-dye hasn’t been earned.
Gordon was not just any Gordon — he was Gordon Sudeikis-Wilde.
I’d never heard Jason Sudeikis speak, but the thrill of celebrity possessed me immediately. The potential for sudden validation, the ache to be remembered, liked, seen positively through the eyes of a vaguely beloved male — overpowered me. I was suddenly willing to kill for him.
“Thanks so much!” I heard my voice shoot up octaves, desperate to bond with him.
But I didn’t bond with Jason Sudeikis. I bonded with Gordon.
Gordon was a silly, stupid golden retriever mix. He was the kind of ageless dog who could have been six or 60. He wore a harness that barely contained his hefty, bumbling form. He’d started fights with other dogs, so I braced for the worst. I had walked dogs who bullied me, threatened me, slandered me. But Gordon wasn’t like that. At risk of using the “he was always nice to me” defense, my experience can best be likened to this Lindsay Lohan quote from 2017:
“I feel very bad for Harvey Weinstein right now. I don’t think it’s right what’s going on. He’s never harmed me or done anything to me. We’ve done several movies together.”
But instead of Harvey Weinstein — Gordon.
We took off for the reservoir. When we got there, it was heaven. In general, he was an angel. He bounced along with big-dog energy but a puppy’s rambunctious spirit. He was well-behaved and a good walker, keeping pace with me but never pulling, dragging, or stalling. He happily trotted by my side when I was tired and picked up a jog when I wanted fitness. He was good… almost too good. We were connected.
I came back that first morning and dropped Gordon off with his dad, who said:
“Hey, so next time, I’ll leave the door unlocked. You can just let yourself in. Cuz you know… I’m busy… in meetings… big, Hollywood meetings…” He gestured at me clumsily and added, “You know how it is.”
I looked down at my stomach bulging under long-martyred lycra, the product of fast food binges horfed between annoying dog walks, dogs that could be walked with others, unlike Gordon, who only ran with me. I looked up at Jason Sudeikis and giggled,
“Yeah, totally, I know how it is! Ha ha ha!!!!”
And I kept giggling, so proud to have completed his joke by affirming I was the punchline. To have shared this intimacy ensured that although I wasn’t one of them, I was one of him, kind of.
Gordon was the kind of ageless dog who could have been six or 60.
I never saw Jason Sudeikis again, but Gordon became my friend. We walked every other day for months, and these were my happiest mornings during Covid’s most depressing, drawn-out flop era. And then I got the text:
“No more Gordon walks.”
My structured, healthy mornings with Gordon were over, effective immediately. My beefy companion was gone. I would no longer share in his sweet, aloof presence on dismal pandemic mornings. Celebrity privacy was sacred to the company, so no reason was given. And I didn’t dare ask, for fear that it was somehow personal. Was it my blown-out leggings, my single unintentional dreadlock, my filthy leash? The thought of Jason Sudeikis’s rejection would be too much for me to live with.
It wasn’t until this week that I learned Gordon was allegedly rehomed so that Jason Sudeikis’s ex could allegedly fully enjoy her time with a man many years his junior. Gordon wasn’t even Jason Sudeikis’s dog. He was hers, until suddenly he wasn’t. That explained Jason Sudeikis’s air of indifference, even resentment, towards the big sweet baby that I knew I hadn’t imagined. While “big Hollywood meetings” raged on, Gordon was at best an afterthought and maybe even a reminder that a fake dandy was spinning his fiancee’s watermelon sugar.
I know now why celebrities can immobilize us. I know why the caged nanny sings. To become a confidant to a god, however fleeting, is one of the most precious gifts this life can bestow upon us. To be in service to Jason Sudeikis, to placate him, comfort him, what an unmatched feat.
It was all Gordon ever wanted, after all.
Anonymous is a dog walker in Los Angeles.