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“Yaaay!” I sing out to Bear-Dog just as he finishes his business and ends the process by scratching at the ground precisely three times with his hind legs.


Bear-Dog gallops to me, grinning in that way only Labradors can grin and with his ears sticking straight out behind his head and his tongue flopping around as if it has a mind of its own. He meets me on the steps, still grinning, his tail spinning, and then tosses his head towards the front door as if I’d forgotten how to get back into the house. 

Inside, I call out to Love-Weasel.

“Guess what?!?”


“Bear-Dog pooped out that pack of chewing gum he ate last night!”

“Yaaay! My baby gets a treat!” crows Love-Weasel.

“Yaaay!” I crow back, as Bear-Dog dances back and forth between me and his mommy, laughing a dog laugh, before he shoots into the kitchen and eyes – very intently – the bowl of Milk-Bones sitting on the counter.

I give him his treat and he rushes to the living room, crunches the Milk-Bone down, then flops to the floor with a contented sigh; job well done and ritual complete.

If a dog lives with you, then you are more than familiar with the five or six occasions for celebration they provide for you every day as well as the sense of satisfaction they seem to get from doing whatever it is dogs are supposed to do, along with them knowing that you know how important their jobs are.

If a dog doesn’t live with you…you have my sympathies.

Bear-Dog rolls on his back and begins to snore and I wonder – purely and simply because I’m weird – what it would be like for him if I applied some the of same management techniques/threats/excuses so prevalent in the human world of employment these days:

  • “Bear-Dog, I’m well aware we used to give you Milk-Bones as treats every time you pooped five years ago, but with the economy being the way it is we can’t afford to anymore. You just really need to be thankful for the two meals a day of dried food you get and that you have something to poop out of and a yard in which to poop.”
  • “Bear-Dog – may I call you Bear? – I cannot tell how much I, as well as all the other Team Leaders, appreciate how you barked at that empty Kroger bag blowing across the yard this morning. I mean, wow, I have an on-line master’s degree in Empty Plastic Bag Threat Assessment and even I, with that on-line master’s degree in Empty Plastic Bag Threat Assessment I just told you about, wouldn’t have picked up on that one. And last year? When you made that roofing salesman cry? Classic…I mean, classic!  Here’s the thing, though…there’s this new pup who’s a lot fuzzier and cuter than you are and he licks our hands a lot more than you do and he’s had all of his shots and everything and, well, wow, I don’t know how to make this any easier so I’ll just say it…we’re gonna have to let you go. Hey, good luck!  By the way, did I tell you I have an online master’s degree in Empty Plastic Bag Threat Assessment?”
  • “Hey, Bear-Dog, have a seat…uh, I mean, Sit! Look, I’ve been going over that list of goals for the next year Management has forced you to come up with and Eat, Poop, Chase Ball, and Sleep are all of the things we already expect of you and are paying you for now. I’m gonna cross these out and put your goals to be: Become a Great Dane, Win Best In Show, Save Timmy From the Well, and Grow Opposable Thumbs, instead, okay? You want to remain a vital member of the Team, right? What?  How is it MY problem none of these can be achieved?  They’re YOUR goals! Oh, by the way, whether or not you achieve these goals will have a huge, HUGE, bearing on if you get a raise we probably still won’t be able to afford to give you because of…uh…the economy being so bad right now.  Yeah…that’s right, the economy’s bad.
  • Of course K-9s and Dalmatians get most of the training and certification budget!  They’re K-9s and Dalmatians, for God’s sake, and it takes a special kind of morally superior person, uh, dog to be a K-9 or a Dalmatian! What the hell do you think you are…a K-9 or a Dalmatian?!?
  • Look, Bear-Dog, the terrier down the road assures us it can bark at twice the number of squirrels each week for less than half…half!...the Milk-Bones. He’s smaller, too, and requires only a tenth the heartworm medication you do. My hands are tied, Bear…did I mention the economy’s bad?

Bear-Dog snorts himself awake, sees me staring at him, then grabs the Squeaky Snake we got him for Christmas and drops it at my feet, grinning.

“Hey!” I call out to Love-Weasel.  “Bear-Dog brought me the Squeaky Snake!”

“Yaaay!” she replies, “My baby gets a treat!”


Good job, Bear-Dog.


Posted on: 1/22/2013


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