Stand-up comedian, actor, and musician Tim Heidecker said his dogs really helped prepare him to become a dad. Father to a preschooler, he and his wife got a taste of parenting by forming a lasting bond with their first dog, Pete.
Pete was unfortunately born into the hands of dog fighters, but thankfully the young pup didn’t have the right temperament for the cruel sport.
“Our dog would never fight back,” Heidecker said, relaying what he was told by the people who rescued the now-beloved pet. “He’d submit to the fighting dogs.”
While many animals born into such an existence are never relieved of their misfortunes, Pete’s innate refusal to aggress served him well, and he was thankfully rescued to a life in a warm and caring place.
“He’s our first child, basically,” Heidecker said of how much he connected to Pete, expressing an idea shared by many pet owners who welcome dogs into their homes before the children arrive.
“It was good training,” he joked of the responsibilities.
Although he admits Pete’s role has changed since the comedian’s daughter was born — as happens in most families adjusting to the new role of parenting humans, when attention must be split between the kids and the pups — pets still play a prominent role in his California home.
Heidecker is probably best known for the Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! It featured brief, off-kilter sketches performed with his partner in comedy crime, Eric Wareheim. He’s also been in films, including the comedy Bridesmaids and the superhero flick Fantastic Four. He also hosts the film review web series, On Cinema.
In May, the comic has expanded his reach with his first solo album, In Glendale, a Rado Records release. It not only features his beloved mixed breed on the album cover, but also includes a quirky song — Picking up the Dog Shit — that pokes fun at everyone’s most-dreaded part of being a dog parent.
The cover is a fun portrayal of Heidecker’s home life, which is a real focus of the album. The quirky music with a retro 1970s singer-songwriter vibe deals with the everyday issues of Heidecker’s domestic life. Other topics the songwriter covered include everything from the fun and funny aspects of working from home to dealing with baby diapers.
How did he decide Pete had to be the star of the album’s cover art?
“You always take pictures of your dog, all the time, every day,” Heidecker said. He caught his pup sitting, staring out the window, in a pose that was “like a singer-songwriter looking out the window.”
He said the moment in time somehow reminded him of the cover of Carole King’s landmark album, Tapestry, where King sits perched near a window.
Pete isn’t Heidecker’s only dog.
“We have another dog named Molly, who is 6 years old,” he said. “She showed up at our doorstep. We think she’s like a Pit-Beagle, or something like that.”
He reflects on the joys and troubles of having little fur babies in the home. They bring us all so much happiness, but parenting a pooch has its hassles and responsibilities that sometimes go beyond everyday poop-pickup. From illnesses to the expenses of food, supplies and veterinary care, dogs are still work.
“Pete just the other day ate a sock,” Heidecker said. He had to be taken in for emergency treatment, but came out of the incident just fine.
“It’s one thing after the other with these dogs,” Heidecker said, in a tone that was half-complaint, half affection. “But it’s a little bit of unconditional love.”
Most all pet owners understand that having a dog is an investment of time, money, and heart, but the payoff is big.
Heidecker’s comedy is often zany, perhaps even weird. He adopts unlikable personas, revels in irony. But when he spoke of his pets, he was warm and straight as an arrow in expressing feelings of affection.
“When we got Pete, I didn’t know I could love something so much as this dog.”