It’s 5:30 in the morning and you know what that means: time to get out of bed, stretch the legs, eat some breakfast, freshen up and head to the office. While this may have been my dad’s routine pre-pandemic, the Manhattan office closures led my dog to follow the same schedule when she suddenly acquired some extra family time…and a 9 to 5 on the side.
Every single morning, Chloe would head downstairs to the makeshift office that my basement has embodied for the last 17 months. The individualized cubicles in any common workspace were replaced by a loveseat shared by my dad and his favorite four-legged daughter.
Chloe was quickly welcomed into the company and was known by just about all of her colleagues. She never missed a meeting and although she slept through most of them, it’s the fact she showed up that counts!
Sometimes, she would find herself stuck upstairs, shut out from some important calls as a preventative measure so she wouldn’t interrupt by barking. But maybe, that was her way of asking, couldn’t this meeting have just been an email?
Regardless, she sure showed Dad who’s boss.
I know he is down there, she thought while aggressively sniffing under the door. I will just whine and bark, even if my mom and sisters tell me to stop, until he either has to come and get me or one of them opens the door to let me down. That’ll tell him.
To avoid suffering from scenic fatigue, the dynamic duo would come up for air from the basement around mid-morning to do some work (and nap) from the dining room. Chloe loved this time of day because it involved a revolving cabinet door of blueberries, apple, banana and whatever my dad was eating for lunch.
When she wasn’t at the office, she could be found working out with me. One time, she stood by my face to give me kisses when I came up while doing crunches, that is, until she got tired after giving me three and tucked herself into bed. Although she isn’t the best workout partner from a motivational standpoint, she sure is a great supporter.
The pandemic gave her the time to realize she wanted to pursue the world of academia. Sometimes, she would pop into my Zoom classes but clearly, the journalism courses weren’t interesting enough to keep her attention, seeing as she slept during class too.
At around 3:30, it’s time for her afternoon stroll. It’s when she’d say hello to the neighbors and the squirrels.
If the walk was successful (meaning she did her business) she would be greeted with treats and cheers as if she had just won a dog trick competition, when in reality it took her a half hour to walk down the street. And if it wasn’t successful, she would still be welcomed back with treats and cheers because we are a very supportive and reinforcing family. That’s okay Chlo! Better luck next time!
I can pretty much guarantee Chloe has no idea what’s been happening in the world this past year and a half. All she knows is suddenly the house was filled, she had endless snuggles and she had more backyard time and treats than ever before. It was a win-win-win-win situation.
Normally, this entire day would’ve gone by without her seeing Dad. Before the pandemic, he would get home around 7:30. She could be dead asleep and still hear the garage open, sprint to the door, stand with her nose against it, tail wagging at 100 mph until he nearly swipes her aside while opening it. Then she jumps up on two legs crying and kissing him like it’s been 12 months instead of 12 hours since she last saw him.
Now? He practically gets the same reaction after coming back from getting the mail.
Her bedtime has stayed the same. By about 8, she will be snuggled up like a little donut under her blankies, dreaming about us all leaving the house so she can jump up on the couch like she isn’t supposed to or maybe even go crazy and pee on the rug.
I think this whole working from home thing has made her realize that her time in the corporate world needs to come to an end sometime soon. She’s going to be 12 in the Fall and the gears just aren’t turning like they used to. Plus, she is totally fine never having to commute to Manhattan.
Her days of retirement will come soon enough, but for now, it’s time to set her alarm for 5:30 so another workday can begin.