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What is the plural for Abacus anyway?

dog in office
Your phone was ringing.  So I killed it.
You’re welcome.

So does it feel like it’s been twenty years?, asks a colleague.

No, not really, I say. More like twenty five.

Aw, just kidding. Like I’m sure the boss was just kidding when he said I should be good for another fifteen or twenty more. I worked out the math on that one and didn’t care much for the resulting sum.

Sure, I’ve been working at P&G Pet Care for a cool two decades, but it’s not like it’s been a quarter of a century or something. But hey, if I put in another twenty years, I’d be that much older too. I can imagine bags under my eyes sagging at the mere thought.

Yowza.  In dog years I’d be … well, let’s say getting kissing-cousin close to the Golden Years. Or what I would prefer to think of as my Margarita on the Beach Years.

And to stay true to any old-timer that’s been around the block enough times to wish there was a park bench halfway through, I have indeed seen a lot of change at our workplace.

Oh, but first allow me to start off here with a gentle, yet firm, smack-down on you smarty-pants out there and let you know we did actually have desktop computers back in the early days. We didn’t use abacuses.

Abacusi? Abaci?

Whatever. It wasn’t any funnier the first time I heard that accounting joke from some young new hire than it was the umpteenth.

Ok, so we didn’t have laptops when I started at Iams. Or Microsoft Office. Or even [cough] email. And maybe I did have to type out purchase orders on an IBM Selectric (that’s a typewriter, you know). But progress trudged onward and we tried like heck to keep up.

dogs in office
I taught her everything I know.

Today in the workplace we still use phones from time and again. Mostly though, mine sits silent on my desk and serves only as a prop to hold up documents for me to read. I don’t get snail mail anymore either. No, instead we have the technology of instant messaging to track each other down like ear-tagged wildlife. And I said instantly, right? As in, whatever you’re doing right now just stop it and pay attention to me because Ima pinging you here. On a good day, you’ll see five or six of these thingies flashing on the bottom on your monitor. Yay, Progress. Keep on keeping on, brother. You rock.

And of course I was around for the P&G acquisition of The Iams Company and experienced the growing pains of doing business as a large corporation instead of a privately held company Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, y’all. But it is different.

Setting all this talk of change aside, there is a particular job perk in our workplace culture that we continue to enjoy.

Our pet friendly office atmosphere.

And it’s been awesome, people. Not gonna lie.

All that stuff you hear about dogs lowering blood pressure, providing a calming presence and being therapeutic just by the good luck of being a dog … it’s all true. Our campus is ridiculously huge. Really, people get lost just trying to find a conference room. Still, we have folk stop by to spend a moment with Micron and they don’t work anywhere within a quarter mile of my cube.

puppy in crate
Puppy Micron power trains for his napping skills.
Level: Expert 

He’s like a guru on the mountain, this dog. What’s the true meaning of life, ask those sojourners who seek peace of mind.

Naps, says Micron. Lot’s of ’em. Rub my belly, oh yeah that’s it, and I’ll tutor you in the ways of nirvanic relaxation, young grazzzzzzzz  [snort].

And sure enough, Micron is a calming influence. All the dogs I’ve brought into the office have done their part in supporting the health and well-being claims of their ilk.

But still.

We’ve had the occasional burp, so to speak.

Jack burps

Right, burps. Remember earlier this month when I was going about all nostalgic about Jack the Wonder Dog and his Incredible Intestines? Perhaps unrelated to his culinary indiscretions, who knows really, a geriatric Jack found himself in need of a splenectomy.  That nasty spleen just had to go, says the vet. So post-surgery, I was worried about my old dog and decided to bring him into the office with me for a quiet day of observation. We were sailing along quite nicely, no problems, for almost a whole hour. Bored with the lack of drama, Jack pads behind me to the coffee station where a grab a cuppa refill.

Um, Food Lady, says Jack. I don’t feel so g … braaaack. I instinctively step back as my poor old dog empties his stomach contents onto the carpet right in front of the men’s room. Huh, was he really outside long enough to eat that much tree bark this morning? Oh, there’s his antibiotic pill, too. Better save that, I think.

But holy St. Ralph, people, the sound of it. It was all so … well, juicy. At nine in the morning, the office has suddenly taken on an after five o’clock feel. There is not a peep from anyone. No keyboards clacking, all conversation has stopped.

I’m apparently on my own here.

Ok, here’s the prob. Jack the Wonder Dog has just performed his favorite magic act – he made food. Experience tells me I have to clean this up real quick-like before he starts digging in. Yeah, and before anyone comes out of the men’s room and plants an unsuspecting penny loafer in the quivering mess. The same aspic gel that’s starting to leak under the restroom door like a scene from The Blob.

Gotta clean this up. Can’t leave the dog. Have to open the men’s room door, lord help me.

Now this was years before my puppy raising experiences made me a master of making canine bio spills disappear before you can blink twice. Think …think … what to do, but the obvious? Yes! I overturn a trash can, pull out the plastic garbage bag and just go to town, scooping up the most heinous part.

Whew, I say, wiping my brow. Disaster averted.

When’s lunch?, asks Jack the Wonder Dog.

No, I got this. Really.

This next story goes way back, too. No, keep going. C’mon back … c’mon back … there! We’re circa mid-’90’s and I’ve just met the new Vice President of Canine Communications for The Iams Company. A fresh young thing, she is. Petite, blonde and a just a day short of being fully housebroken.

Kersee, a namesake of the athlete Jackie Joyner Kersee, is just a pup on her first trip to the office. Sure, now I’m a veteran of pets in the workplace, but back then I admit I was taken aback when the pup dropped a package in front of my desk.

Sensitive to my open mouthed reaction, a colleague grabs, of all things, a paper plate and starts to scoop.

Ok, here’s the prob on this one. My new friend and co-worker is pregnant and very much so. Once she leans in start the cleanup attempt in earnest, she begins to gag.

We pause here with a question for you. What would you rather have in front of your desk: a fresh dog pile or a co-worker’s reflux gone wild?

Right. Neither. The correct answer is here, let me take care of this, ok? You go sit down for a minute.

Stop, Drop & Roll

service dog as puppy
Yaxley in his “Before” photo.

Are all these stories going to be about stuff coming out of dogs?, you ask. Because I have an root canal appointment or something I have to get to. 

Hahaha, I say. No, no we have another story that doesn’t involve such things. 
This might have been deer poop.
A cautionary tale of what happens when you start feeling uppity about your dog training skills, we share with you the story of the young Yaxley in A calming influence.

Clicking the link above will take you to the harrowing tale and its dramatic conclusion. No spoilers here, other than I will tell you that I’ve learned my lesson about pre-bragging.

Best to wait until after all is well and done.

three dogs playing
Yaxley, Micron and Karsen share the frisbee.
Or try to King Solomon the thing into thirds.
One or the other anyway.

It’s only slobber

Ok, ok I hear you. Let’s go into the lesser of the dog liquids. Dog slobber’s not so bad when you get down to it, right?

Especially when it’s coating a tennis ball. That’s not gross, people. It’s Good Times slime.

Embracing the knowledge that a tired dog is a good dog, our furry charges get playtime during the workday too.

Another bonus to the pet friendly office is that they have friends at recess. No sitting on the swings all alone for these fellas.

We don’t really call it recess, of course.

Nope, we’ve got a special command for our pups in training. We know and they know – it’s all business in the office for our dogs. Rules to be followed; manners to be perfected; biological events to be internalized.

But in the play yard, they sit and wait. Say it, say it, say our dogs. Please.

Dogs, we say. Release!

dog crate training
Inga and Naoko share a quiet moment in the crate.
Where is the rest of Naoko’s body? you ask.
I don’t know, I say. But it does appear Inga owns the fella.

service dog and puppy
Why. Won’t. It. Sleep?

Dog Nose Wisdom

We need to talk

Hiya, says Jager. So, what are you doing right now? Nothing, right?

Actually, I say. After I make this grocery list, I need to pull the laundry out of the dryer before things get wrinkled and then empty the dishwasher. Stuff like that, because you know. Saturday and all. Why?

Aw, I dunno. says Jager.  It’s just that my terrier senses are tingling and there’s adventures happening out there somewhere. And I’m, well . . .  He pauses to look up and turns those big dark eyes to me.

I’m sitting here watching you shuffle through coupons, he says.

Aww, my little spotted dog needs some attention, ’tis true. Before we were puppy raising for Canine Companions for Independence, Jager was an only dog at our place. And from nearly his first Gotcha Day, he enjoyed spending his days at the office, socializing and noshing upon complimentary dog cookies.

Then we started volunteer puppy raising and the attention shifted. After a while folk in the office started to notice as well.

We never see Jager anymore, went the usual lamentations. It’s not fair, we miss him. Someone threatens to start a grass roots movement in support of the little guy and get some billboard ads for me to come across on my commute to work.

The fella enjoys a solid fan base. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my teammates at P&G? I really do.  It doesn’t even bother me when my dogs are greeted first with happy voices, then it’s Oh hey, Donna. I love people who love my dogs.

And after seven years of co-habitation with the Jagermeister, we’ve certainly hit a groove. He’s a low maintenance kinda guy, which has the unfortunate side effect of getting less attention than the other dogs.

So today, we’ll honor the freaky little spotted dog by allowing him to share his thoughts of profundity.

Which had to be rewritten after explaining to the former street dog that profundity is way different than profanity.

Oh. Well, said Jager. That changes everything.

Jager’s Dog Nose Wisdom

  1. When given a dog cookie, drop it and look miserably sad. You’ll get a different cookie. Eat both.
  2. You don’t have to speak Squirrel to know the tree rats are up there mocking you.
  3. I wonder if squirrels taste like chicken. 
  4. Don’t underestimate the importance of alerting when the neighbors get home. My code is ten barks per car door slamming. More if I think everyone’s lost count and I have to start over.
  5. The people who live here can’t count.
  6. My middle name is Quiet!  I don’t really like it much.
  7. By the way, it’s not attitude, thank you very much.  It’s Style.
  8. Always growl when chasing the tennis ball because that will intimidate the stupid thing.
  9. When around dogs bigger than me I can magically make myself the same size. On good days, I can be even bigger. I’m awesome that way.
  10. In my world, size does matter. 
  11. Standing on your toes while lifting one leg is an acquired skill. Let’s just see you try it, puny hooman.
  12. When getting on the bed, start off as a tight little ball. Then stretch out until you’re the size of a Rottweiler. If you’re already a Rottweiler, think livestock. Don’t forget to lock your joints.
  13. I chase the cat because he asked for it.
  14. I wonder if the cat tastes like chicken.
  15. I love almost every person I meet.  So if I act like I don’t like someone, pay attention.
  16. If you eat a box of the Food Lady’s fancy-nancy chocolates and get your stomach pumped at the vet, it’s still worth it. Because you know. Car ride.
  17. Chocolates don’t taste like chicken.
  18. I don’t understand this word fixation. I thought you called it a tennis ball.
  19. Yeah, I realize that I haven’t missed a meal in seven years, but before I moved in here I used to be hungry. What you call food aggression is just me being scared. 
  20. A tilted head will make people smile at you. Guaranteed.
This is like a training wheel for catching squirrels.
Huh. I guess that pretty much sums up life with the Jagerhund. We could likely go on for a while longer, but the little fella is giving me the laser light show with his eyes. And has the ratty yellow tennis ball at his feet. 
Yep, I obviously have better things to do with my time right now, y’all. 

Wordless Wednesday: What day is it?

Micron pauses to ponder the mysteries of the natural laws. Like gravity, fer instance.

The mighty Micron wishes you a Happy Wordless Wednesday here in the great dog blogosphere. 

Or perhaps for the likes of us as we prepare ourselves for another workday on the cube farm, we would send out Happy Hump Day greetings. 

My cube partner to the due south of my office is Mike. Micron’s nickname is Mike. Micron goes to the office with me every day where we share our general space near cubemate Mike. I talk to Micron throughout the day, sometimes with cutey dog talk. Other times to correct a certain behavior.

The dog spies an anomaly outside the office window that is determined by the ever alert canine noggin as something needing immediate attention. A robust gerWOOF by Micron rings out the alarm. Meanwhile cubemate Mike is talking with someone at his desk.

Mike!, I say like I really mean it. Quiet!

[crickets chirping] 

bwahahahaha. This never gets old. It just doesn’t.

So a Happy Hump Day to y’all today.

Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike, what day is it, Mike? Wuuhahaha.

Working like a . . . well, not really

Working like a . . . well, not really.

What do you mean by this word “irony”? asks Micron.  I’m a dog and this is how I spend the day in the office.  So yes, I actually am working like a dog, thank you.

‘Cuz if I were working like a human bean, he continues, I’d be walking around being all blah blah how was your weekend and yadda yada where do you want to go for lunch today. Hey, don’t think that it’s not like I’m not busy here and not just goofing off.  Because I totally am, doncha know.

What? I say.  Are we doing Bilbo Baggins-speak now?*  If I were a dog, my head would be tilting to the right trying to understand what you just said.  Lookit, you’re as flat a pork chop done on one side. Where’s my spatula? Just lift your head up, willya?

Naw, I don’t think so, says Micron. I already did that once today and I’m not into repeating myself again, because I already did that.

Well, at least his eyes are open for this photo. And to his credit, it does appear that Micron has the puppies under control.  He is sentinel of all that is yellow puppy.

Oh, you want to see a puppy, do you?  Well, you have to get past the mighty Micron. Wait. . . did I say get past? I meant trip over.

Friday was National Take Your Dog to Work Day, an event started in 1999 by Pet Sitters International.  Because my job in the pet food industry is really pretty freakin’ awesome, every work day is one I celebrate with a dog, or two, by my feet. I’m a lucky chick, I am.

To mark this national celebration however, I took the shot above on Friday.  Yeah, yeah, cute dogs and all. But let’s take a deeper look here, shall we?

In the far back and to the left is Kel, a CCI release and beloved pet. He is not a fan of puppies. Nope, not at all. This is as close as he was willing to come to the front, lest he get puppy cooties on him and require a hazmat decontamination.  Also, he’s also not willing to stray far from his one true love, Mary Ann (not pictured, but she’s right there).

And that’s our E pups in front. Ever contrary, Euka has one paw outside the dog gate. Hey, Food Lady, says Euka with a smile. I’m on the other side [snicker]. 

Everett is in the middle and showing off his good-boy behavior. Who’s a Good Boy?, asks Everett.  That’s me!  I’m a Good Boy.  Euka looks at him with squinty eyes.  When Food Lady says Release, says Euka. I am so pouncing on your good boy noggin.

And on the right is Ella, who understands where her bread is buttered, so to speak.  She’s expecting a cookie from me when this is done. I’m good for it and so she’s lasered in with those come hither with a cookie eyes. Ella is a smart, obedient girl and how wonderful it would be, I think, that some of that goodness might rub off on Miss Euka.  But just like kids, it seems to be the bad influences that win out too much of the time. Poor, kind Everett should be anticipating to be a yellow puppy samwich when these two stinkers pounce him.

Oh, and that sign posted on the dog gate?  What does that say, you ask?  Well, it’s there to remind folk to reward our CCI pups with positive attention only when they can show some self-control.** “Please don’t pet us until we are sitting”, says the sign. 

Ok, so we do have on tap more than yellow CCI dogs in some stage of early career development – or forced early retirement, like Kel and Micron.  Other co-workers have . . . what’s the right word here?  Normal dogs? Pet dogs? Rescue dogs? Dogs not on a career path? I dunno, but Nahla is here to show you her ethereal beauty.  Nahla, just a young thing, isn’t to the stay-here-while-I-take-your-picture stage of life yet.  It took me so long to set up this shot that even Micron got bored and left. 

However, I do want to draw your attention to Euka, who is still sticking that paw out of the gated area. With dead on eye contact, the little tart.

Why do you keep calling me Stay? My name’s Nahla.

Micron’s still waiting for a movie role

So if, as they say, everyone gets fifteen minutes of fame, we still have fourteen minutes and some change left.

The List, a program aired in the Cincinnati area, was in the office last week to get some footage of our pet-friendly workplace.  Before you watch the two-minute clip below, I want to you to know one thing.

I don’t usually wear flip-flops to the office.

Even I, never a slave to fashion, have some thread-bare scraps of a value system regarding office attire. It’s just that, well, before I left the house I kinda forgot to change out of my oh-so-comfy sandals and into the oppressive things I wear to look all respectable. And you know what else?  I had no idea about this filming until about thirty minutes before they showed up at my humble cube***.  I may, or may not, have reconsidered that blouse that is so colorful it appears to be shouting at you. [sigh]

But it’s not about me, is it? This is, of course, a story about the dogs.  It’s our friendly office canines that get the warmth of the spotlight in first minute of this video.

Watch for the mighty Micron, Euka II, Scarlet and Rhoda here.  Scarlet is the lovely pooch catching a treat from mid-air, Rhoda is the black lab getting some good air time with one of my co-workers.

As the camera pans from my obnoxious blouse to Euka in a Bed command under my desk, hit the pause to catch those rockin’ Labrador flip flops. My only saving grace here is the pedicure is fresh (color: Paint My Moji-toes Red).

When the reporter is walking with a dog on leash, that’s our Micron.  No, watch that again. I really need you to see this. Because he’s walking on a loose leash with a person he just met. Micron is. Heh, who knew he could do that?  My sweet, impulsive Hodor dog.  I was right behind the camera guy lest my dog saw a favorite person**** and wanted to say Hi! because he would surely drag that slip of a nice lady down the aisle with him.  Oh, whoops, see his attention shift there for a second?  Yep, he sees Scarlet, who has the best toys ever.  But check it out, y’all. Micron holds that Heel position like a pro.  It’s like he was trained to do this. For the last three years.

And do feel free to look away when Micron tries to slip tongue during that excited greeting with one of his favorites.***  That’s a rather intimate moment, y’all.

Enjoy . . .

Every day is take your dog to work day

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).  Bilbo Baggins: I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

**An awkward and ambiguous sentence, that one. Exactly whose self-control am I referring to here – the dog’s or the person’s? [heh]

***You know what they say . . . clutter is a sign of genius.  I forgot who said that originally. I had it printed out somewhere, but lost it.

***You know who you are.

She’s got legs (or Euka at Four Months Old)

(Social media disclaimer. As I talk about Eukanuba, it is as an employee of P&G Pet Care. However, anything I say in praise of Eukanuba supports my personal belief that we make some great pet food now. No kidding, y’all. It’s totally true)


She’s got legs and she know how to use ’em. –ZZ Top

Yeah, she posed herself with that leg and off the shoulder gaze.
You can’t buy this kind of sassiness.

It’s getting harder to remember this leggy girl as the fuzzy cotton ball puppy we brought into our home just a few weeks ago.

Can you believe it? CCI’s extraordinary E litter, born on September 14, will celebrate their four month birthday on Monday.

We met the E litter (Emma, Everett, Ella, Elmo, Euka II, Emily, Ethan and Eliza) as tiny hamsters on the Eukanuba Channel Livestream.  Immediately upon our first sighting of these puppies with their newborn eyes and ears closed, we watched in fascination as they nearly time lapsed into active eight-week-old puppies.  For those with a yearning to reminisce on that earlier time of innocence, the Livestream is still open with a video library of the Best of the E Litter recordings.

But holy cow, look at Euka now, will ya? At four months she’s showing promises of being a noggin-turning beauty, isn’t she?  The trifecta of brains, beauty and that sassafras attitude has us expecting big things of this girl.

When the Mighty Micron was this same age, we covered his early progress as a puppy in training for Canine Companions for Independence at A Fine Taste in Shoes.  And with a completely different personality, Yaxley’s Four for Four showed us how this yeller feller was doing at a mere sixteen weeks old.

So how’s the polar bear pup doing, you ask. Ah, a fine question that. I offer you Euka’s Four for Four.

Good Eats

That’s Euka on the dog bed. Eating one kibble. One.

We knew early on that Euka II would be assigned to us to raise for CCI. So we tuned in to the Livestream coverage with rapt attention on everything that was Euka.  From growth development (Look! She’s walking! Well, kind of.) to attitude (huh. She’s a little bossy, isn’t she?) I was ridiculously jazzed to have this online version of “being there”.  But observing her habits at the communal dinner bowl, I had a nagging bit of concern. Euka was just not showing herself as the voracious eater I’d experienced before with our CCI pups. I fretted over this. How does one train a puppy that is not food motivated?, I wondered. Not exactly driven to the point of hand wringing, knowing I had plenty of resources to hit with other experienced puppy raisers. But still, would this be a new challenge?

Ah, but it ain’t no use use in putting up your umbrella until it rains. Or something like that. From the first food bowl served at the popular Sword House eatery, Euka has shown a completely normal appetite level for a lab puppy. By normal, I mean she finishes her meal in time to check out how the other dogs are doing. You gonna finish that? she wants to know. Then the three go in a musical chairs rotation to lick each other’s bowls clean until all that’s left is a spit shine.  Yep, that’s our normal.

It’s a Sign

Honestly, Food Lady. What’s a girl gotta
do to get some attention around here?

While some folk admit a squee-worthy love of tiny puppies, they cringe at the thought of housebreaking the little critter. Especially during the winter months. Oh, but not me. Educating the proper use of nature-based toileting facilities is just a blip compared to all the other awesome stuff that comes with the puppy package. 

However y’all, I will admit it to be a happy day when the yow-gotta-potty neurons start firing on their own accord. Ever the clever girl, Euka has connected the back door with bladder freedom and will hang out there until I take notice. A soft whine, she knows, will get faster action. 
This week while working from home, Euka decided to kick things up a level. I will not be ignored, says Euka. She walked into the kitchen, picked up my snow boot by the steps, looked at me until she got some eye contact and then took the boot to the back door and dropped it.
Um. Wow.


That Adorable Head Tilt

The first puppy we raised for CCI, the lovely Inga, did the head tilt thing as a pup. Do you think she’ll keep this behavior? I asked other puppy raisers.  Sometimes they do, they said. And she did indeed. We’d say In-GA to see the noggin tilt on the second syllable. Cute, cute, cute.


yoo-KA [sigh]

In many ways Euka reminds us of Inga, both in appearance and personality. And oh my, that head tilt. [sigh] I love it.

Corporate Office Material

Proving herself to be made of the right stuff, Euka made her debut at Eukanuba’s corporate office last week.  A total success, that first visit, and I’m pretty proud of how she handled herself.  With held held high and tail wagging, Euka pranced about the place like the sizzlin’ hot stuff she is. Hello, she said to Everyone. Do you know who I am? She absolutely loved recess time in the outdoor dog park we have for employees’ pets (Ah, smells like beagle, Bernese and chihuahua out here. With a mushroomy nuance of Micron) and quickly positioned herself  into a play bow with a muddy tennis ball. Confidence abounds. 
Euka 1.0 and Euka 2.0 pose for their first photo op.

Euka also had the honor of meeting the original Euka, the retired VP of Canine Communications for P&G Pet Care.  You may recall, our Euka pup will not be following in the pawprints of Euka as an officer of the company. Instead, we’ve got some big plans for her as she prepares herself for her upcoming Advanced Training to be a service dog.

More on the back story of namesakes and career destinations are on the dog blog post Introducing Euka II: She’s not a tuber.

Hey, I got this working hard thing down cold. When’s lunch?

Hey, so there ya go.  Four things about Euka II at four months old. You’re glad you asked, right? We’re moving along quite nicely here, IMHO and all.  And more Euka adventures yet to come! I can’t wait to see what’s she’s got for us next.


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