I came to work the other morning ready to seize the day helping my mistress run her publishing empire while Liberty (my black lab best friend) assists me in greeting the mail delivery guy and the Federal Express boys who bring us treats and thank us for our boisterous welcome. However, on the morning in question when we opened the door to the office a bundle of pure energy came bouncing down the hallway with a tennis ball in his mouth, eager to nip, bite and pounce on us. The rapidly growing yellow lab mixed with a sampling of standard poodle has been named Noble, but one would immediately have to question the nobility of this young whippersnapper. He was accompanied by his friend and roommate, a very large, well-behaved six-year old chocolate lab dubbed Chipper (this name suits him to a tee). Iíve mentioned before that I am at least 70 in people years and have little use for an out of control puppy.
Noble took to me immediately, perhaps since weíre similar colors and he thought we might be related, he jumped on my back hoping for a gentle response of tender, loving play. Nope. I was not in the mood for it, so I growled just barely audible enough for my mistress to hear me who immediately responded with a stern rebuff (we donít growl at puppies, they are just being playful and friendly). However, my growl did have an effect as Noble turned his mischievous attention to Liberty, who, it seems, has a much more even temper than me. This happened to be the morning for our weekly staff meeting so we all, including the humans who work at this creative environment, gathered congenially in the conference room. Imagine, please, three fairly large sized dogs and one unruly puppy assembled under the conference table while a group of well meaning humans attempt to have a productive meeting.
Chip and I tried to represent some semblance of respect for the meeting while Noble and Lib rolled on the floor underneath the table wrestling, biting and nipping at each other. This is the amazing thing about our office and the good dog loving people who work thereÖthey didnít seem to care! They just carried on their business as if this was a common everyday occurrence and that every publishing office should have two dogs frolicking and tussling on the floor while the other two (that would be Chip and me) go from person to person requesting a pat on the head. Yep, itís a dogís life and if you ever wondered what a pampered dogís life is like, stop by our office at 404 NE Norton, Lib and I are always here ready to greet you (Chip and Noble only visit from time to time). Donít forget the dog treats.
The Visiting Whistler Aug/Sept 2010
Itís a dogís life at my house: two dog doors for coming and going as we please, a yard with a pond for pooping (not in the pond of course), dog treats and chewies available at any moment, sleeping quarters wherever we choose (me on a soft rug on the floor, Liberty on the bed or couch), a deck for barking at the raccoons and guests that know itís not appropriate to shun us. Plus, we are rarely left at home to fend for ourselves. We go to work every day just like our master, whose cozy office also has dog treats and a place for us to sleep. We have a routine that suits our personalities.
On weekends weíre taken to the river for a swim and a little Frisbee catching. (Actually Liberty catches and then I chase her down to take it away from her. Iím not really into retrieving the silly thing myself.) Even the car is lovingly called the Ďdog mobileí because we have the back seat with a inviting blanket and can jump in after swimming and shake to our heartsí content.
Then Whistler came to visit. A pretty little yellow lab with a sweet demeanor until there is food offered. She loves to eat and when she first came to stay for a few days we had some trouble over our dog bowls. Liberty and I usually take our sweet time eating and donít gobble up the food like weíve been held captive and held without rations. It took a few days before Whistler understood that it is not acceptable to eat out of Ďourí dog bowls. Even though I understand that she is deaf and couldnít hear our master telling her no, we still had a few testy meals before she got it. Once I informed her of the rules she seemed to understand and we all got along a lot better. However, her visit was also slightly traumatized when our master decided she could ride in the back seat with Lib and me. Now usually Lib gets a third of the space and I stretch out in the rest.
Once Whistler took her place in the back seat I actually had to move over a littleÖ..none to my liking. Whistler may be deaf and getting a little slow (sheís 90 years old) but she is still very cleaver at charming our master. First of all she never barks like I do when people come to the door (oh, thatís right she canít hear them). Pamela loves how quiet Whistler is and that she shakes before getting in the car. She also doesnít beg for people food, which is one of my favorite past times. Unless itís her own meal time, she generally stays out of the kitchen. She gets great kudos for this behavior. I think I told you in a previous column that Iím nearly 70 years of age and pretty set in my ways. So I think I should get extra treats (perhaps even a big oleí steak) for politely accepting Whistler into our home.
Why Am I So Weird? June/July 2010
Thereís been some talk of late that Iím a little strange, that my behavior is becoming more and more obnoxious. I overheard people saying that I donít mind well, need a lot of attention and have a particular fondness for certain cuisine: especially cookies, bananas and well, actually any people food, which I take right off your desk if you leave it unattended.
As for fruit, especially bananas, I can smell them a mile away and will pester you unabashedly to give me the banana peel when youíre done. I donít really know why I feel this way about banana peelings, it is some sort of a uncontrollable addiction.
Please know that I am a ten year old golden retriever Ė my ancestors were developed as gundogs to retrieve shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland game birds during hunting and shooting parties. As such we were bred to have a soft mouth to retrieve game undamaged and have an instinctive love of water. When I am near water I do tend to get a little out of control and canít hear a thing anyone is saying to me.
My fellow golden retrievers make great guide dogs, hunting dogs, illegal drug detectors, helping blind people and search and rescue participants. I canít do any of those things (or perhaps just unwilling), but I do sit very still for a photography session. Even though I seem to be more demanding than I used to be I continue to have that friendly, eager-to-please demeanor. But still, I find my mistress getting annoyed with me just because I bark incessantly at anyone who comes in her office. I just want them to pet me and get me a treat.
Whatís wrong with that? My roommate, Liberty, gets a lot more pats on the back because she sits, shakes, stays and does exactly as she is told. I am 70 in people years now and I donít want to sit, shake or stay. I want to bark when I want, sleep wherever I desire, eat whatever is in reach and nudge people fiercely with my nose when I want attention. I ask you this: how is that any different than any other senior citizen?
Thank the feline Gods that I do not have to go to work with Liberty and Indiana. I get to lounge around at home in the peace and quiet that only a home with dogs out of the picture can provide. I find it really hard to believe that people in an office can possible get any work done with dogs rolling around on the floor creating havoc. Youíd never catch me in any such compromising position. I just wonder what the customers think of such an unruly office.
Another Dog in MY House? Aug/Sept 2010
I like a dog that canít hear, doesnít bark and sleeps most of the time. I wish more dogs were just like Whistler. When I first met her she basically just ignored me. I like that. I did notice however that she drools. Thatís very unbecoming and she needs to do something about that. My biggest complaint is that there are already two smelly, annoying canines in our house and one more seems a little much. If she comes near my cat food I am confident weíll have a battle. Whistler warned!
Every Dog Has Its Day, Dog, But Today, Dog, Just Ain't Yours (Toby Keith Song) June/July 2010
Indie, let me give you a little advice. Age is no excuse. Just because your face is getting whiter, you canít remember why you entered a room and you might not run as fast as you once did, is no reason to act like a Ďdog.í Your drooling, barking, butt scratching annoying habits have always been with you. They were infuriating when you were young and they are no less so now. As a feline with nine lives I would never stoop to rationalizing my behavior as Ďold age.í So give me a break and buck up, youíre a big dog!
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