I don't have hard numbers, but I would estimate that greater than 90 percent of dogs in the United States don't have jobs. There are "working dogs" -- seeing-eye dogs and so on -- but like the Dalmatian on the fire engine, that's more a function of indentured servitude than it is real employment. Those dogs are pets, who sit on fire engines or help people avoid potholes and such because they were trained to do so -- the way that every once in while you'll be shampooing your hair and realize that you always do it the exact same way. It's ingrained. It's not your job.
There's also the question of the extent to which dogs have free will, enabling at-will employment. "Do animals have free will?," Philosophers Magazine asked last summer, making sure to include a mention of Descartes as is legally required. The determination? "Maybe, idk," as is also legally required from philosophical essays.
We raise this because the person who is one of the four people who will probably be our next president likes to say that people got fired "like dogs." On Friday, he tweeted that conservative commentator Erick Erickson got "fired like a dog" from RedState.com which doesn't really seem to be the case. Trump has talked about Erickson's dog-like firing before, explaining that Erickson got fired because he didn't "have IT," and an online site definitely does need to have information technology. Others who have been fired like dogs? Glenn Beck, Ted Cruz's communications guy, Bill Maher and -- any day now -- "sleepy eyes" Chuck Todd.
TRIVIA: Trump's first "fired like a dog" appears to have been offered the first time people paid attention to who he was firing, in the first season of "The Apprentice." As the season came to a close, eventual winner Bill Rancic (now-husband of human-bobblehead-and-red-carpet-resident Guiliana Rancic) was warned that he was at risk of being "fired like a dog." Instead, he was hired like a dog and then eventually quit like a dog at which point he started his own reality show, like a dog.
The Huffington Post notes that lots of things happen "like a dog" in Trump's world. Candidates choke like dogs, and celebrities cheat on one another like dogs; ministers get dumped like dogs and heads of state get dropped like dogs. (Once upon a time, an American head of state demonstrated how that works.)
As can be the case with Trump, he's not really saying something that holds up under scrutiny. He's just trying to say that Erickson got fired in a really bad way, even though Erickson by all accounts left his job willingly, which is about as good a way as you can leave a job. Maybe that's what "fired like a dog" means -- leaving on your own terms, the way a dog might. Who's to know.
Out of curiosity, I tried to fire my dog to see what would happen. I'm honestly not sure she understood what I was saying. And besides, she's under contract, and I'd have to pay a huge penalty if I were to break it. So I'd be the one who came out behind in that case, just like a dog.