I bring my dog to work. I don’t know how to explain what this sentence means to me. It’s a simple enough sentence. It has all the components of a traditionally structured sentence. There’s more than that held within this sentence, though. That means I trip over dog toys behind my desk. That means I dig used tissues out of his mouth from other people’s desks, that means I have panic struck into my heart when I hear claws on tile moving at impressive speeds. That means no shoes are safe from the elements and no matter where I work I must dress for the weather and for all day exposure to it.
Every morning when my alarm goes off I hear a sleepy yawn from the other side of the room. I wake up to saggy tired eyes and a groggy young dog in his crate. We run downstairs (he goes faster than I do) and we spend the next 10 minutes in the back yard, one of us shivering one of us smelling everything that may have happened in the last 9 hours. We rush inside for breakfast, he waits patiently sitting next to the sofa watching his bowl until I tell him “Ok, get it”! He jumps forward and enthusiastically wolfs down his 1.75 cups of kibble. When I get out of the shower, I am greeted by my silver companion saving what little warmth he can from my spot in bed. There he lays until I finish with my routine. When it’s time to go I have to convince him that there is more waiting for him than my bed and we walk out to a warm car. He sits in the back seat, quietly staring out the window at passing commuters in their SUVs, minivans and crossovers (which are really just more appealing mini vans if you ask me).
We pull into work and he sniffs around in that grass for a few minutes. When I can finally get him to move toward the building he pulls to the door. Waits for me to open it while he stares at the concrete and the break in the doors meet. I unhook his leash and he runs down the hall and around the corner using the mats as his islands for traction, hopping from one to the next. Usually by the time I come around the corner he is wagging and waiting for someone to play. He greets people as the walk in, with whatever toy my be closest to him, inviting them to try to get it from him, “Just try, I’m so fast” those big yellow eyes say. It doesn’t take long from that point for him to find a tissue or piece of paper for him to play keep away with, at which point he is put behind my desk with baby gates.
Don’t pity him. he has a huge orthopedic dog bed and food and water and a whole set of toys back there. He will start off by pouting and then doze off to sleep. Anytime I get up from my chair he lifts his eyes and perks his ears. When a co-work comes by the help themselves to the dog cookies in on my desk and the come to the gate. Arrow may or may not get up, depending on how much he likes this person. He gets his head rub and a cookie and a few loving words and goes back to sleep. He comes down and eats in the cafe with us. When the humans eat he chews his huge femur bone beside our table and then afterwards he goes out again, eats his lunch and goes back to quietly playing with his toys from his bed for the remainder of the afternoon.
Arrow’s day doesn’t stop there. During the holiday season Arrow is expected to participate in the team building events such as costume contests for Halloween and ugly sweater contests for Christmas. Every person within my company looks for him. If there is a day where he stays home with Boyfriend I am hammered with people walking by my desk asking, “Is Arrow here today”, “Where is Arrow”, and my favorite “No Arrow….” with a very obviously sad puppy dog face. The irony is not lost on me with that last statement. Even the delivery staff know him and bring him rewards. The mail lady (whom I LOVE) brought him 2 bags of organic treats for Christmas. The FedEx guys and girl (all of them) always make it a point to walk around to the dog gate and pet him and baby talk to him. He has an important job to do here, at the office and he loves every moment of it. He has grown up here since he was brought home at 8 weeks old and today he is just shy of 1-year-old.
Arrow is my friend, my co-worker, my puppy and the love of my life. He is the only dog that can make me furious and then with one look or wag of his tail melt anything I feel into a warm sense of forgiveness. He is a master manipulator of my emotions and he knows it. My coworker has stolen my heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way.