Listen: My Dog Is My Roommate

Home is wherever your dog lives.

Welcome to Layer Cake!

I'm your host, Dr. Angela Brumett, and this is your English fluency podcast. Layer Cake is sponsored by Parlay Vacay English Immersion Weekends. Build your English fluency online and in person at beautiful and relaxing destinations.

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Layer Cake presents "My Dog Is My Roommate"

We invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy!


I used to have a lame 9 to 5 in Cleveland where I grew up. I wasn’t getting anywhere in life. I decided to turn over a new leaf and get a gig out west, somewhere sunny with bluer skies. Even though I knew no one in Phoenix, Arizona, I moved anyhow because I was recruited by an up-and-coming software startup headquartered downtown. I imagined a fresh start combining an interesting career and an exciting new life.

When I picked this two-bedroom, two-bath apartment in the most happening neighborhood downtown, the monthly rent was a little steep. But, the thing was, it was the only unit to come up in the hippest complex during my search, and I didn’t want to miss out.

I further justified my selection by telling myself that if I busted my butt, I should move up at work before I knew it. I reasoned that since it was just a hop, skip, and a jump from work, I would never run late and that really bodes well when you want to get promoted. Finally, I rationalized that, worst case scenario, I could just get a roommate and split everything. So I chanced it and signed the lease for a whole year.

Then, wham! The pandemic hit. So, instead of getting a raise, I was furloughed for two months. Then my workload was knocked down to half, and I was stuck working remotely, from my kitchen table to boot. I had to cut back in order to make the rent.

Since I was working from home, I got rid of my car, which was way past its prime, cost an arm and a leg to park, and required a ton of upkeep. I nixed the Cable TV and began reading library books, drawing cartoons, practicing the guitar, and listening to podcasts. I started eating out less and cooking at home more.

At the end of the day, my main issue wasn’t funds, it was loneliness. I didn’t know my co-workers, and I wasn’t making any friends. To top it off, I was put off by the heat once summer rolled around. As a result, I was getting pretty homesick for old pals, and I’ll admit, I missed my mom’s cooking. I was fantasizing big time about throwing in the towel, chucking it all, and bouncing back to Cleveland.

Then on one ridiculously hot summer afternoon, I happened to be frying a couple of pork chops. They were sizzling and turning the kitchen into a sauna, so I opened the door to my patio. I was flipping them over when all of a sudden a fairly large stray sauntered in just like he owned the place.

He glanced over at the steaks then stared me down like he was waiting on his order! He was too skinny, so I felt sorry for him and fixed him a plate. He inhaled it all in a New York minute, licked the plate clean, lapped up some cold water, then plopped down on my feet and started snoring like he was finally home.

Now, that dog has a name which is Buster, and Buster is my roommate. Except he sleeps with me. He’s proven to be the ideal companion while I’m working from home, so I’ve opted to turn the second bedroom into a real office and to freelance, taking on my own clients. I bought a sit-stand desk and mounted a second computer monitor to the wall. The start-up who hired me folded, but I believe I’m better off.

Buster gives me a much needed nudge to go out for a jog every morning and a long walk every evening because he needs these things too. In the first three months, Buster whips me into shape. And Buster prompts me to visit the dog park after lunch, so we can squeeze in some playtime.

That is also how I met my new girlfriend, Elizabeth. Elizabeth, like the the queen of England, has a corgi. Lucky for us, Baxter the corgi and Buster the mutt are two peas in a pod now. Lucky for me, Elizabeth cooks like a boss, and she doesn’t mind coaching me to step up my game.

Buster welcomed me to this new city and made me feel at home here. I named him "Buster" because he “busted” into my home and busted up my boring and lazy routine. Elizabeth says he busted into my heart as well, but I’m not sappy and wouldn’t go that far; however, I’m not homesick anymore. I’ll give you that.

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