Traveling Dog Lady: June 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Memories About Take Your Dog To Work Day

For most of my career in student travel, my dogs accompanied me to work. I worked long, long hours at our company headquarters, and it was better to just bring the dogs with me, rather than leave them home alone, drive back and forth to let them out, or hire a sitter.

But times changed, and I pretty much stopped bringing the dogs to work with me a few years ago.

Things are about to change even more, now. We are selling our office building that we've occupied for 31 years and we're moving the family business to an office park a few towns away.

I get emotional thinking about all the memories and the sheer volume of hours I spent in that building, most of them with my hounds snoozing at my feet. I had the good fortune to work with my life partner every day -- we even picked out the building together, all those years ago. It was our second home, for sure.

Timba, my devoted black Lab, came to work with me for 17 years. Every. Single. Day.

Timba at work at Passports, (and Laurent diligently working at his desk).

After Timba, it was Hobie and Hector who came to work with me, but usually only on weekends.

Not exactly a flattering pose for Hobie, but a good shot of the front office reception area with both dogs.

Cooper and Charlie are not as well-behaved as the others and they haven't spent as much time at my office as their predecessors.  (I'm getting lazy with training as I get older -- maybe I should call myself LAZY Dog Lady ha ha.)

But wait! Stop! Hold on! Let me back up a minute.....

Hobie didn't just come to work with me. I actually met him at my workplace! Hobie was my heart-dog, my canine soul mate, the canine love of my life; and he was brought to me, for consideration, right there at my office. I took him for his first walk, on the country road by the office building, and adopted him on-the-spot. That dog changed my life. He is the one who got me started writing about and photographing my pets. He gave me fodder to start writing this blog, and all my dog and cat stories. He was the "child" I never had. He filled the maternal void for me.

Then it hit me. This past Friday was Take Your Dog To Work Day,. Suddenly, I remembered: I met Hobie at work. What? Say that again? This is where I found Hobie. Oh my Dog! I can't leave! What the hell am I thinking?! If I had not been in this building, on that very day, back in the spring of 2000, I would never have adopted Hobie. My life could potentially have been entirely different.

"If I block the door, she can't get in; then maybe we can go home!"
(Note strategically-placed dog bowl)

And Hector? The very first thing I did with Hector was bring him to the office to meet his "DogFather" -- his doggy-daddy soul mate. Everyone in the office gathered 'round in a big circle, and we played with then-tiny Hector on "the red rug" (as Gil used to call it). Hobie was there, too. People still talk about that day "Remember the time you brought the little puppy in and we played with him on the floor?"

There are so many nooks and crannies in this building.... Hector, what were you doing down there?!

The iconic portrait of Hobie that I use for my profile picture on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest was taken on the grounds of the office.

Photo credit: Patricia Glennon

Some of the first photographs of Charlie Brown were taken at my office. I brought Charlie to work with me for the first few months of his life. Starting the day I adopted him.

Photo and collage credits: Patricia Glennon

It seemed I had started a tradition -- to bring my new dog to the office when first adopted, -- and Cooper was no exception. Here he is on his first or second day as a member of our family.

Still shaved and healing from his amputation surgery! Tripawds rule! Dog mom has messy desk!

Even my blog's header photo was taken at work!

Everyone has been asking me how I'm handling the move and the sale of the building, emotionally.
I am perfectly FINE. To be honest, I AM SO OVER IT! (yeah, I'm yelling!) I have now emptied out five (count them!) five buildings since Gil passed away. The man never threw anything away. It has been grueling, a chore, a maddening, sometimes fun and exciting, mostly expensive, exhausting, anger-producing task. I still love him with all my heart, and always will, but enough already! I need a break, and a normal life. I'm looking forward to some good old-fashioned ordinary!

Even though I complain, I do so in jest. I was so incredibly lucky to have shared my life with a fellow pet lover. I am one of those ladies who'll bring home yet another dog or cat, without consulting my partner. He loved dogs and cats as much as I did, so he was perfectly fine with it and never balked. His only worry, when I adopted Charlie (sight unseen!) was.... would it flare up my fibromyalgia and stress levels too much? No objection regarding his own life, just concerned about how hard raising a puppy might be on me. When it was time to consider adopting Charlie's brother, Cooper, his remark was, simply, "Can you imagine having TWO of them?!" Yep, I could. I did. I adopted. I took them to work with me.

Hobie outside the barn at Passports.
Photo credit: Patricia Glennon

Hector with me in my office on Take Your Dog To Work Day, 2010

As I write this, I think again about Timba. Like the time she abruptly ended a sales meeting by clearing a room with one single dog fart! Timba was just like a human (which is sort of an insult to dogs!) -- she was BEYOND human. She was magic. A gift from God. She "worked" in that building for nearly 15 years, just like we all did.

I couldn't bring Charlie and Cooper with me for Take Your Dog To Work Day this year because we are so busy with the move.

Hobes, on "the red rug" playing sentry.

I'm not sad about giving up the building. I'm excited to move on and start fresh. But that's the place where I fell in love with Hobie, and I probably won't ever bring Charlie or Cooper to work with me again.....the realization and the memories stopped me in my tracks. You can mourn saying goodbye to a location, just like you can mourn any other loss.

In memory of Hobie
Photo credit: Patricia Glennon

Readers and fellow bloggers: Other than if you're working at home, do you ever take your dog (or other pet) to work with you? Does your company allow dogs or pets? What are the rules? Tell me in the comments.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Traveling Dog Lady Reports from BlogPaws 2017

When I first booked my ticket for BlogPaws 2017 in Myrtle Beach, the plan was to bring both dogs on a road trip to Myrtle Beach. I booked my ticket the day the Myrtle Beach location was announced for two reasons: 1) there's a discount if you book right away after the announcement; and 2) I have family that lives in Myrtle Beach. It just so happens that my human brother lives in the Myrtle Beach area; and my dogs' canine brother (Copper, not to be confused with COOPER), also lives in Myrtle Beach. The original plan was a reunion with both the human bro, and the canine bro. By the way, the canine bro does NOT own my human bro! It's just a funky coincidence that they both happen to live in Myrtle Beach.... but as I all too well know... There are NO coincidences!

My view of the ocean from the Sheraton ha ha.

Since I had made that booking 11 months before the conference, life got in the way. The very day I was supposed to start driving the 14-hour trip, happened to be the exact same day that the new owners were taking possession of a piece of real estate I had been dealing with as part of my late boyfriend's estate (by the way, I use the term boyfriend and husband interchangeably to describe Gil, the man I was with for 30 years -- it's just one guy. We really weren't married, but that's a whole other story.)  Anyhoo! I figured it would not be smart to leave on a trip the very same day that the closing was happening. I could have done it, since the lawyers were in charge, but I didn't feel comfortable. Alas, I changed my plans, convinced my friends to watch the dogs and cats, and booked an airline ticket. Yuck. Even though I have been working in the travel industry for 32 years, I hate flying. Hate it. Did I mention how much I hate flying? Oh. Yeah. I'd choose a road trip any day. This meant I had to leave my dogs at home.

My trusty stuffed travel companion, Stuffy Douglas, who has been on basically every trip with me because my dogs aren't exactly well-behaved, made the journey with me. Along the way, I "adopted" three more stuffed animals!

Stuffy Douglas (center) surrounded by the new stuffed pets

It was lonesome in the hotel without my hounds, but I'll tell ya, after observing everyone else with their pets, I realized that my boys are too rough around the edges to be trusted at such an event. For instance, when I ate dinner with the rat blogger, I kept envisioning Charlie with me. Charles is obsessed with squirrels, chipmunks, mice, moles. He would have attacked that rat, I just know it. Charlie is huge, so... well, just let your imagination figure it out. Not a good idea. Glad I didn't bring him. Another reason they wouldn't have done well is because I made a vow to myself to go to the beach each day. Not realizing that getting to the beach was a three-block walk, and required crossing two humongous boulevards, and it's already HOT in South Carolina in May.  It turns out I wouldn't have been able to bring Charlie to the beach in the afternoons. Bringing Cooper on such a walk would be absolutely out of the question. Finally, I had lunch plans with my family on Friday, and while BlogPaws had built-in pet sitting accommodations, I just didn't feel right about doing that. Again, because my dogs are country bumpkins who don't spend a lot of time in social situations -- never mind the city.

My boys are rescue dogs. Most, but not all, of the other dogs at BlogPaws are purebreds. Not that that matters, but my guys are obnoxious, and I know it.  In the end, while I missed having the experience of traveling with them, I'm glad I left them at home.

What a fabulous time I had meeting everyone I had known online for nearly 10 years! Some I'd met earlier in the year at the Dog Writers Association luncheon in New York during Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

With Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality!  Say, Carol, we have great taste in jewelry!

The thrill of the weekend, for me, was meeting Kenn Bell and Remi of The Dog Files. I admit I was a little star struck, but somehow managed to introduce myself, congratulate them on winning a BlogPaws award, and say a few nonsensical words. I've been a huge fan ever since forever -- especially because Kenn's dogs, Max and Remi, resembled my dog, the late, great, Hector Huge. I like to think maybe Max and Hector are together, somewhere in doggie heaven.

I was also honored to be a part of the surprise baby shower for Maggie Marton of BlogPaws and the Oh My Dog! blog. We connected at Dog Writers Association in February as well, and of course our mutual love of dogs named Cooper, made us fast friends. I was so pleased to be included in the planning and execution of such a fun late-night bash. Congrats to Maggie and John on the expansion of their family!

Squeeeeeee! Diaper cake!!

It was not possible for me to attend all of the workshops I wanted to -- I had hoped to partake in all of them! I managed to weed out the ones that were most important. Had to squeeze in time with the fam besides; and I didn't get to meet Charlie and Cooper's brother, Copper, either. The workshops I did attend were informative, educational, fun, and it was great getting to know all the other folks in the workshop. Except for stepping on that poor beagle when he was asleep -- Kathy the Klutz strikes again! I STILL feel bad about it, weeks later! Poor little guy. :(  I felt badly that I had to duck out of the Friday afternoon festivities, and am grateful that most of it was either videotaped, or people took excellent notes, and I was able to catch up.

My workshop set-up! Stuffy Douglas in full residence. Charlie on the screensaver. Hobie on the pen!

I am not an artsy-craftsy person, but I attended Red Roof Inn's sip 'n' paint (I didn't paint, I just used a coloring book off to the side!); and I made an honor flag in memory of Hobie and Hector.

I did make it to the beach every day, and realized it is the same beach as the one I went to for many years on Cape Cod, just hundreds of miles south LOL! Myrtle Beach is "on my list" of potential places to relocate to (read = retire) in a few years, so it was good for me to explore and get to know my way around. I really liked it a lot. We had one great pack walk with several "newbies" (first-time attendees of BlogPaws); and I took another great beach walk with Susan Nation of Talent Hounds. Unbeknownst to me until later that night, she was up for an award!! And of course, she won!!

During the Cat Writers Association awards dinner and banquet, I won third runner up for a free ticket to CWA's 2018 conference (location, dates, etc. to be announced). I was so shocked to hear that I had actually won something, sort of!

A fortuitous meeting was that of Ellen Zucker, astrologer extraordinaire. We were at the same table during the first night's dinner, and really struck up a great conversation. As luck would have it, on the return trip, we were on the same flight out of Myrtle Beach! We had breakfast together and a lovely long chat at the airport while waiting for boarding time. I hope to remain in contact with Ellen, she is a delightful human being!

After I got back home from Myrtle Beach, I rearranged some duties in my day job, so I can manage my company's blog and social media in addition to my regular duties as treasurer and secretary of the business. It's great that I can apply some of what I learned at BlogPaws to my 9-5er as well! I also got my certificate of completion for module two of my dog behaviorist education -- if I ever finish it'll be a miracle. And, I am also about to start working on a book (or series) about a military dog named Silver who served in Japan during WWII.

One of the coolest things that happened was that we all got to see a sneak preview of the movie, "Megan Leavey". Of course, I started crying about 10 seconds in to the trailer, and each time I see the trailer on TV now, I start crying again. Powerful stuff! I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

All of us made sure to sign the petition for the #PAWSAct, and boy was I ever proud to put that little pin in the middle of Massachusetts on Bayer's map. After I signed the petition, I got a personal email from Senator Elizabeth Warren. Like, for real, she even told me about her dog! As a victim of teenage dating violence  a lifetime ago, when I was a teenager) this legislation is particularly important to me. Want to know more about the PAWSAct? Check it out, here. 

My #PAWSact pin right smack in the middle of Massachusetts! 

Next year, BlogPaws is going to be in Kansas City. I'm not sure if I'll be able to go, although it is during my birthday week.  It's an interesting thought to do something different for my b-day. So, perhaps I'll see you at BlogPaws in 2018!

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