Monday, September 28, 2009

The Seven Magic Words

"Do you want to go to work?"

Those eyes that have been quietly watching me go through my morning routine suddenly get bright and hopeful. The ears perk up, the head cocks to one side.....

 Did she just say what I think she said?

I pause for a moment or two just to tease her a bit. Then -
"Okay, you can go!"

What follows is an absolute pandemonium of joy, tails wagging, dog bodies leaping about in glee. Anyone watching this would have to conclude that going to work must be the dog equivalent of going to Disneyworld.

She said yes! She said yes! We're going to work!! Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!!!!!!!!!!

Truly, I don't know why they get so excited. Once we get to work, they mostly just sleep, though they do enjoy playing with their 'work toys.' I guess they just enjoy going along for the ride, and being with me, instead of alone all day. That's the thing about dogs. What they want more than anything is just to be with you. I could probably ask "Do you want to go spend the day in a sewer?" and get a similarly ecstatic response. Oh yes, oh yes, we'd love to spend the day in a sewer!!!

I try to make sure I have almost everything done before letting them know it's a "go to work" day. Otherwise, they follow me around the house, alternately prancing around and jumping on each other, and staring at me....

"What in heaven's name is taking you so long? Can we go already?!" Lady in particular gets quite impatient, and if I take too long she'll start whining and complaining.

Going to work is a bit of a road trip, as my office is one hour east down the highway from my home. Lady naps, but Lucky looks out the window, nose working, soaking up all the passing smells. His favorite part of the journey is the field of cows a mile or so out from the base of Old Fort Mountain, must be the border collie in him. He stares intently, tail wagging, at all the black shapes in the field. Being in the right hand lane gives him a better view. I keep thinking that one of these days I'm going to pull off that exit and take him over to see them up close. When we arrive at work, they take a quick potty break in the bushes, then it's in the door, a quick greet of any nearby staff, and a beeline for my office and the wonderful work toys.

Aside from the initial 5-10 minutes of playtime, most of their day is spent snoozing beside my desk. I'm lucky to work for a company that is so dog friendly. I don't take them often, maybe once every few weeks, but it sure is nice to have the option. They get to go more often in the winter, when the temps are more comfortable for dog travel.

Lady and Lucky can tell time, and when it approaches 5 o'clock, they begin helpfully letting me know. Lucky will come over to the desk, nose me, and stand there staring at me, wagging his tail. I think it's almost time to go, have you checked the clock? I have to tell him "No Lucky, not yet, go lay back down." And he does, for 10 minutes or so, then he comes to tell me again. Lady will sit in the doorway to my office looking at me - Isn't it time to go? 
This is a bit of a hassle on days when I'm working till 6 or 7 pm. They wait as patiently as they can though, until finally it's time to close up shop and head home.

I have to say, that in true dog fashion, they are just as excited to hop back in the truck and head for home as they were to come to work in the first place. "Enthusiasm for everything" has got to be one of my favorite dog characteristics.

What a great day it's been!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day weekend

No posts over the holiday weekend, as a house painting project took over life for a few days. Slowly but surely, room by room, holiday weekend by holiday weekend - the entire upstairs is getting a fresh coat of paint. By now, four rooms into the project, you'd think we would realize that no matter where the paint tray is located, one of the dogs is going to step in it. 

Then follows the predictable series of events - realizing the paint has been stepped in, then trying to grab the offending dog in an effort to keep wet paint footprints to a minimum. Confused, and a little nervous now ("Why is everyone yelling and trying to grab me? Are we playing a game?"), the dog then responds by excitedly prancing about, just out of reach. Splat, splat, smear, yuck. Then, when you succeed in grabbing the dog and locating the paint smeared paw, a struggle ensues with the wet washcloth ("WAIT! What are you doing to my paw?? AAAAA they're going to cut my paw off AAAAA!"). Actually, to be fair, only Lucky responds like that. He has a thing about his paws. Better now than it used to be, but he still doesn't like you messing with his feet. Well, fortunately the mess was fairly easy to clean up, no real harm done.

And Lucky was very sorry for the mishap. Of course, Lucky is sorry about most everything, even things that aren't his fault. He's the most apologetic dog I've ever known - which is ironic, because he is also an impossibly well-behaved dog who tries very hard to always do the right thing. It is immediately apparent when his sister Lady is misbehaving somewhere in the house. You'll be watching TV or reading a book, and suddenly Lucky will tiptoe into the living room with the above expression on his face. You can almost see the word bubble above his head ("Lady is downstairs in the litter box again."). Needless to say, Lady can't get away with much, because Lucky tells on her. He is such a conscientious dog, inappropriate behavior of any sort seems to be intolerable to him. So, if Luckster Boy ever does something like accidentally step in the paint tray, you don't scold him. He's hard enough on himself!

Lady: "Painting weekends are boring
"Painting weekends are boring weekends."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Being alive

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures.... 
For me, they are the role model for being alive."  Gilda Radner

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Is there anything cuter than a kitten???

This little sweet pea was at last month's Intake, the night at Animal Compassion Network when new dogs and cats are brought into the program, vetted, photographed, etc. He wasn't ready for adoption yet, but I did get the chance to chat with his foster mom, who told me she'd been feeding him every few hours, around the clock.

On this particular evening there were several such "neo-natal" foster parents there, including one middle-aged gentleman in a suit who had a carrier containing three orphaned kittens he'd been caring for almost since they were born. He told me that each morning when he leaves for work, he takes them to a local cat clinic, where the staff there take over the daytime feeding regimen. After work, he picks them up, and continues the schedule, feeding them every few hours through the evening and night. Whew. Talk about dedication.
That night there was an abundance of kittens, from the very young to the almost-full-grown. The lobby was full of tired looking Good Samaritans with cat carriers, who had obviously made the trek over to the Humane Alliance at the end of a long work day. Taking the kitten photos is always a fun challenge. They're usually energetic, wiggly, and impossibly curious. Photographing cats and dogs takes a calm spirit and patience. If you get frustrated, they sense it and respond in kind. A good sense of humor helps too . More often than not, I snap the shutter and get this:

But every once and a great while, a kitten will have mercy on me,
and give me this:

 It's all good.