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  Monday January 26th, 2015    

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You missed it! (06/27/2010)
By Frances Edstrom

Well, you missed it. You missed a whole week of it. It’s over. I missed it, too. I do my darnedest to keep abreast of what’s happening, but this one flew way under my radar screen. It wasn’t until I was checking out the Boston Globe on line that I discovered it was all over.

I’m not sure, though, given my current state, that I would have taken advantage of it even if I’d known ahead of time. I’d put it on my calendar for next year, but my calendar doesn’t go beyond December 31. I’d use my phone calendar or my computer calendar, but I can pretty much guarantee that I won’t remember to check them. I’d need an entry on a printed calendar that would say, “Check your digital calendar, dummy!”

I shouldn’t be surprised that “Take Your Dog To Work Day” hasn’t grown to mammoth proportions in Minnesota. We live in a state where a lot of people don’t even allow their pets in the house. If you’re a farmer, your dog is already at work with you. And a good number of them aren’t particularly good at their jobs, which have changed a lot since the invention of the electric fence. Some of them are hardly worth the price of the food, although they do make good natural garbage disposals and recyclers.

It’s that kind of dog — the outdoor one — you wouldn’t take to work. First of all, they’d stink up your vehicle so bad you’d be driving around with the windows open well into chilly November.

Second, if you got them to your workplace, your coworkers would come in the door and say, “Yuck! Did a bird die in here again?” At the Winona Post, which is in a building dating from 1865, birds have been known to get into the building and get stuck above the dropped ceiling, skittering all over the place and driving everyone batty. Come to think of it, every now and then a bat gets in and gets all the women screaming, and we call one of the men … we especially like to make the pressmen climb two flights of stairs to catch the bat, that is if the salesmen or the publisher isn’t around. We have a big butterfly net to catch the bat in, and then it is released outdoors, while all the women scream, “Kill it! Kill it!” (They aren’t usually bloodthirsty, but bats tend to bring out their worst sides.)

And third, outside dogs aren’t the type you can dress up and take out. They tend to pee and poop wherever and whenever they want, which makes them unwelcome most places.

Even if you have a very well behaved dog, taking it to work is risky. (Sometimes people aren’t a very good judge of what is good behavior in their own pets. You know, the dog lurches at you and growls, and its owner says, “Oh, he likes you! That’s his way of playing!”) If you have your own office with a door, you might try it, but if you work in a factory, I bet the safety manager would have a thing or two to say to you about bringing your dog to work. And a “little accident” or “puppy chewing” might not go over very well at a retail store.

I know there are some places that have resident pets. Hardt’s has a dog. Isabelle’s Center Liquor across the street from the old Shorty’s Cafe used to have a resident cat. It was about as big as a St. Bernard and kept the customers in line. But most pets are relegated to the house. That’s why we call them “house pets.”

In fact, there is a whole “Take Your Pet to Work Week.” Dog day is just the final day of the week.

I can’t imagine taking any of the cats I’ve owned to the office. First you have to corral them and put them in the carrier, which they fight like crazy, because they don’t know you’re going to treat them to a day at work. They think they are going to the vet. And you can’t buy off a cat with a little treat shaped like a bone after it’s gotten a shot. They have long memories.

If you did succeed in getting your cat to work, it would disappear under someone’s desk who has a severe cat allergy. Then it would put a snag in your coworker’s polyester pants, and pee in the corner on the new commercial grade carpet. While you were on the phone with a big customer, it would proceed to howl mournfully, leading your customer to ask what on earth was going on, to which you would reply with a lie, “Oh, the tornado siren going off, better hang up!”

Take Your Pet to Work Week could even be difficult for people who usually like animals. You just know that there is that weird guy in shipping who has a boa constrictor, and he’d want to bring it in and make you pet it to show how tame it is and, “It doesn’t even feel slimy!” Yikes, keep it to yourself, man.

But there on the Boston Globe web site was a picture of a Black Lab, Tucker, sitting on a nice dog bed with his paw resting on a gavel. He was at his owner’s law office. He looked kind of sad, I thought, as though he was thinking, “Why do you think I prayed in my last life to come back as a Black Lab? I wanted to have some fun and sleep 22 hours a day, not be stuck in an office!”

There was a mournful looking Boxer in a T-shirt with the company logo. There was Pit Bull, whose owner is quoted as saying, “She sleeps under my desk and never leaves her post unless she’s asked to. Perfectly angelic.” (Wouldn’t you love to hear what her coworkers talk about at home over dinner?)

The whole idea behind Take Your Dog to Work Day is to encourage people to adopt pets from the pound. If they say so. Personally, I think that dogs are like golf. They look a lot better than they really are when you see them from a distance. 


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