Take Your Dog to Work!

Clear Creek Annabel Lee, my purebred Chessie she-bitch, has successfully graduated from puppy kindergarten. Please feel free to express your congratulations in the form of emphatic atta-boy slaps on my ass. In addition to "sit" and "give me five" — tricks that I taught young Annabel myself — as a result of the six-week course, she has an arsenal of new skills. Annabel can sit and stay for over a minute, she can lie down and she can heel, sticking to the back of my foot regardless of what speed I go (unless it's too slow, in which case she sits down in a very unladylike fashion and sighs defeatedly). She is quite adept at the "leave it" command, generally dropping whatever offending item she has picked up or slinking away with it, knowing she has done wrong, then peeing. Plus, she will now come to me from more than twelve feet away, up from six, and yes, I did laugh like a child when the instructor announced that we'd be working on our "six-foot come." Like a giddy, goddamn child.

But even though Annabel is now the proud holder of a diploma that she promptly ripped into a thousand pieces, there are still many, many problems with my curly-coated she-bitch. Her insensitive treatment of her diploma is indicative of a far greater flaw: She tears everything up. She recently shredded a reporter's notebook chock-full of important notes. A pair of Rockies tickets got eaten. And if you come over to my house, you'll no doubt think me an uncouth slob, because there is no toilet paper in any of the toilet-paper holders. But look again, friend, and you will find the toilet paper kept high on some bathroom shelf. Because if I leave it in place, Annabel will grab onto the end of the roll and then sprint from the bathroom with demonic fervor in her eyes, TP-ing the entire house with the gusto of a gaggle of pre-pubescent Asians, who we all know are diligent at any task, even rogue delinquency.

Oh, she also eats anything. Anything. Go ahead, ask me about something.

Adam, would she eat wood chips? You know, like the kind that are all over your back yard?

Yes, she eats fucking anything.

She wouldn't eat rocks, would she? I mean, those would mess up her system, right?

Yes, she eats rocks. I told you, she eats fucking anything.

Okay, well, how about a knife that you left on the counter?

Dude, who would eat a knife that got left on the counte...Annabel would! She eats fucking anything.

But I signed on for these problems when I sold my soul to the purebred-puppy devil, and you know what the really shitty part is? I didn't even get dope guitar skills in the exchange! And you know who else's problem all of Annabel's problems are? My co-workers. Because this Friday, June 20, is officially Take Your Dog to Work Day. Created by Pet Sitters International in 1999 to promote what great companions dogs are and encourage their adoption blah, blah, blah, value of pets in the workplace, blah, blah, you will all suffer like I am suffering!

I brought Annabel into work just after I got her. She was about ten weeks old, adorable, so nervous that she cowered between my legs. Everyone oohed and aahed. What a great coat. What a sweet girl. Gosh, you're so lucky, Adam. I brought her back in about a month ago, thinking I could write for an hour with her seated at my feet. Not so much. She kept trying to dart off, so I tied her leash to my leg and she proceeded to jerk back and forth so hard my hip began making popping noises. Then she began barking so loudly and consistently, it sounded like it was pre-recorded. Annabel is great at announcing any minor discomfort; she'll bark shrilly and ceaselessly for up to three hours. Must be a feature of the breed or something.

And it's a feature that everyone at Westword will come to know quite well. Other charming features they'll become familiar with: Annabel propelling herself like a torpedo off of chairs and tables, so that she slams directly into your chest or head with literally no regard for her own well-being; drinking water so fast she sputters, coughs, then pukes; and that classic — eating her shit and then trying to kiss you. Which, incidentally, is a kick-ass Johnny Cash song.

Yes, it's going to be one hell of a time at Westword on Friday, and I encourage everybody else to tote their canines to their respective places of work as well. If nothing else, it will allow your co-workers to experience a little slice of your life. And it will give the paper shredder a badly needed day off.

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Adam Cayton-Holland