Friday, 21 February 2014

Working like a dog

A friend of mine employs eight full time employees and one volunteer. The volunteer is there most days and he’s one of the most popular members of the business. He’s only young, around nine years, but he’s smart and big for his age. He’s willing, and he's friendly to other staff and clients. He keeps his mouth shut; you won’t find him gossiping or running down the boss. He’s got a nose nudge and big wet lick for everyone. Oh…did I mention he’s a dog? Sorry. It’s easy to forget that because he’s so much part of the human team.  

Rufus has developed great relationships with everyone in his work circle. He greets the Postie at the door, takes the mail and trots it to the office. He visits the workers throughout the building workers on a regular basis, sometimes looking for a treat (well always looking for treat) but he’ll settle for a pat or a neck rub. Rufus is a great stress reliever. He makes people laugh. He pulls his weight by running delivery errands in the building. Clients love him too. He’s certainly a conversation starter.  It’s a smart move to have him there.

I envy my friend his dog friendly workplace. Every time I hear a story of Rufus’s latest exploits, it reminds me of my dog, Ferrari, who would sit at my feet or on the study chair opposite my desk while I wrote. Just having him there seemed to give me more focus. He looked at me as if I could do no wrong (clearly he’d never read my work). When he was well enough, we’d take walks, which would help me clear my head if I was stumped by a piece of work. I'd often come back with my head full of stories and new ideas. Ferrari died some years ago and I miss him chronically.  

There is something about having a dog (or a cat if you can work with a furry beast draped across your keyboard) in the workspace. They bring a sense of calmness to the environment. You can confide any problem to them, knowing it will never be repeated. They let you know you're okay, even when you’re full of doubt. And that’s a big thing when you’re a writer. So all you scribes, if you have a pet to sit with you while you spend those long sessions at the page, you're a step ahead of the game.  

As for me, I'm going to see if I can borrow Rufus for a while.