The Dog Days of the Beacon

By Beacon Staff

A story in the Christian Science Monitor discusses the growing trend of dogs in the workplace. My dog, Penny, is probably unaware that she is part of a national trend since she chooses to focus on matters local to her, like the floor or dog biscuits. But indeed, she is a working dog, showing up to the Beacon everyday. She is currently licking the right shoe of designer Stephen Templeton. This is part of her daily job: doing random dog things that we all chuckle at for a few precious seconds.

Some dogs are stress relievers. Many have the opposite effect. Penny, however, is a yellow Labrador nearing the ripe old age of 10 and stays out of the way until you need her. Amazingly, if you choose not to call her name she might not move for an entire day. This is the type of dog that fits in a work atmosphere. That’s why we even gave her a short bio on the About Us page of our Web site.

When we’re feeling stressed we can say her name and she’ll stand up, stretch, grunt, and sneeze several times, looking up and asking, “What?” And we love it. We change the pitch of our voice, as if talking to a baby, and spew bizarre terms of endearment that alternately excite and confuse the old dog.

Penny is actually enthused each and everyday she shows up to work. First thing in the morning, she greets every employee by sneezing and waiting for a butt scratch. This is when the goofy terms of endearment begin. After the morning rounds are done she drops to floor, exhausted, and sleeps for a few hours. Already the day seems more relaxed for us.

The old dog is keen and she has discovered how to use her charm to her advantage: dog treats. An undetermined number of employees – mostly in the back where Penny can chow down out of my sight – have stashes of dog biscuits hidden behind their desks. Several times a day Penny silently disappears for a few minutes, returning with a trace of saliva on her lips that she thinks I can’t see. She plops down on the floor, passes gas and, again, thinks I don’t know. The gas is the reason I try to monitor her intake.

We once had a monkey in the office, which Penny was acutely aware of. Every time the monkey would shriek, the hair on Penny’s back would stand up and she would glance back at me as if asking, “Are you serious? A monkey?” The Beacon monkey phase was short-lived and today Penny is again the only animal in the office.

She’s happy with the setup and so are we, because when the day gets a bit overwhelming and we don’t feel like dealing with humans, we can just call her name, wait for her stretching and sneezing routine, and begin spouting terms of endearment. It makes the day a little more manageable.

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