12/12/2007 01:20 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Very Good Dog Who Taught Me Some New Tricks.

Read more strike coverage on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.

I have learned a few tricks from my exceptionally sweet-natured dog, Trip, who is a three-legged pit-lab-something mix.


He was given to me four years ago, when he was eight months old. I did not appreciate being given a three-legged dog, and resisted for a moment, but the actor Bradley Cooper, my pal and neighbor, insisted that this dog fit me. I fell in love -- but it was too late. Bradley took him back, but left him with me over a long weekend, because he could not take ALL his dogs (he has two others) to the beach hotel he was repairing too with his girlfriend at the time. By the time Bradley came back, I said I would keep him. Mr. Cooper let me twist in the wind for a sleepless night, (his intention all along), and then handed him over. We have been together since. Most nights.

When Mr. Cooper gave him to me, his name was Courage, which I rejected as too literal, and too dog-shelter-anointed. I was a basket case then, in shell-shock over the trifecta of the dissolution of a 12-year relationship, the awfulness of seeing my neighborhood covered in ash, horror and soldiers, and the death of my dad by a slow and nasty cancer which my brothers and mom and I got as close to as you can imagine. I had fled Tribeca for Venice, because it was fun there when I was a kid, was still horizontally oriented, and not as much part of Hollywood as the rest of the the dream-coast.

Trip (yeah, sorta short for tripod), has no idea that something is missing on him. He looks like he was borne out of a key party between a tame seal, a gentle fawn and a whacked-out kangaroo. He disarms all other dogs, no matter how aggressive. His tail seems like a propeller from a 1950s cartoon helicopter. He runs very fast for no reason, and flies between coasts, mildly drugged but thrilled, like someone from a Jackie Collins novel in first class when it used to be upstairs on Pan Am. His distinguishing feature is a profound and abiding emotionality. He gets sad, he gets happy, and most of the time those two things have to do with me and my Chekhovian moods. He tries to get me to go on walks, with great success. And on said walks, he often looks at me, and I swear to god, smiles like a goof, as if to say: "Hey, this is really really fun, Robbie, right, Robbie, huh!!?"

Trip has many friends, both human and canine. Actors love him in particular, because his level of adoration for them is off the charts. Perhaps he intuits my own.

Anyway, this is by way of sharing some of what he's taught me and what I am using from his lessons lately.

1. Be optimistic whenever possible. For instance, if your union is on strike, say, and you are looking to a terrible winter, try and share your toys. Like Trip does with the other dogs.

2. If something doesn't work, try another path. For instance, if the studio where you have a deal decides to force-majeur your smart-ass Huffingtonizing ass after you ask in print how the CEO of the corporation that owns said studio can look himself in the mirror, go find a new way to make stuff! Woof! Get your pals, and take your skills and your toys, and create a new market, a new forum, where you are your own boss (ie build your own on-line studio with the same wits that got a show on the air and in the top 20).

3. Be persistent. Don't stop staring and hinting and wagging until the person you want to play with pays attention, but if they don't want to play, take a nap or chew on a bone.
If they still don't want to play -- wasn't meant to be and - look! Someone fun this way comes!

4. No need to be aggressive, a priori. But if you are attacked, let the pitbull flag fly. Show your muscle, show your teeth, and that should work. If not, and the bad faith ultimatum delivering big media guy - I mean - bad dog - keeps going, well then, "cry havoc and let slip the dogs of..".etc.

5. Remember your friends forever, forever, forever, and let them know that you love them and need them.

6. You have many friends. This is good. A blessing. We need friends. We really do. We need a best friend. A best friend can be silent and interested, and even just check in and smile now and then. They do not need to be entertained, but you need to be there for them in a fight, for instance, with a cartel of giant media-monster giants who have the manners of wildcats, the bellicosity of Tasmanian devils, and the cunning of wolverines.

7: When sleeping with a human, sometimes it's fun to lick them in the middle of the night for no reason, or get really, really, really close, especially in winter.

8: Exercise will save you. You need to be fit to fight, love, jump, picket, run, and so on.

9: A dog will always be a dog. Nothing less and often a lot more. So too will humans,
occasionally. Even your opponent.

These are some of the lessons I have learned from my dog Trip, who is courageous indeed despite the name change. The other night we heard field mice in my wall and he did look a little alarmed, I will admit. but it was sort of a skit he was doing. He is actually really funny, which is the best lesson of all.

Read more strike coverage on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.