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OUR ANIMALS, OURSELVES: Make your own ‘take your dog to work day’

October 27, 2017
By ANNOEL KRIDER , Lake Placid News

I had a dog in my life, Laddie, an Australian Shepherd who I knew at an early age wasn't a dog to be left behind.

For that matter, I wasn't inclined to leave him because the idea of having a dog as a companion throughout the work day was very appealing. I soon learned that having Laddie by my side was appealing to those around me as well.

Most of the time, I was happily weaving tapestries in my home studio perched on the side of a mountain surrounded by perennial, herb and vegetable gardens in the middle of the woods. So Laddie not only had my presence throughout the day, he had a wilderness to explore, reveling in his "dogness" if so desired. How lucky could a dog be?

Article Photos

Laddie helps out at the Whiteface Club & Resort.
(Photo provided)

In the early days of spring, he began preparation for his summer job, which consisted of watching me plant and care for flowers at the Whiteface Club & Resort, where my husband is the golf professional.

Even though there was a "no dogs allowed" sign clearly posted, my inability to recognize Laddie as just a dog and my aged independence contributed to the complete disregard for the sign and Laddie soon became the keeper of the golf course.

Most people assumed Laddie was there to keep the dreaded geese off the course, as herding dogs are trained to do at some of the East Coast resorts. I didn't elaborate that the golf course was clear of geese because they just never landed.

Needless to say, when golfers watched Laddie chase the crows off the fairways and chase airplanes until they were out of sight, they were suitably impressed and convinced he was acting above and beyond his call of duty.

I soon became aware that more people knew Laddie than knew me. As years passed, Laddie's presence at the golf course was not only accepted, but expected. I saw the joy his presence generated. The vision of Laddie sitting next to me on a golf cart, cruising around the course watering flowers, always brought smiles to everyone's hearts.

And then there were the golfers waiting to tee off, who often occupied their time, in between their stretching and practice swings, talking to or playing with Laddie, calming their "hitting the ball off the first tee" jitters.

I saw people go out of their way just to touch Laddie, stroking his smooth coat with their hands and soothing their own chaotic lives with the touch of an animal.

I remember watching a couple sitting at an outdoor table at the restaurant not having a thing to say to one another, but Laddie was the one presence they acknowledged and directed their attention to. The silent void while waiting for their lunch was filled with the possibilities of a dog's life and the joy and contentment it offered.

One day as I approached the pro shop, I saw a man leaning over the porch railing reaching for Laddie, who was sitting alone in a golf cart with his "I'm an abused puppy look." The man, with the voice we all assume when talking to our animals, was having this human to animal conversation with Laddie telling him how attractive he was and how he reminded him of his own dog he left at home and now missed.

I spoke with more people who, after seeing my dog, tell me how all they can think about on their vacation was their own dog left at home and how much they missed him or her.

Laddie's been gone a long time now. I've had other dogs since him, but none of them were really suited to be my side kick at work. I do have a dog now, Adeline, who would probably be a perfect gardening companion with a little more training, but I no longer tend the flowers at the Whiteface Club so Adeline along with my other dog Arlo have both taken on the role as garden tenders here at home.

They both help me pull carrots out of the ground for dinner (albeit eating a few in the process). They help me irrigate my perennial beds by chasing the cat, who hides behind the peonies but who inevitably gets discovered by my golden retriever, who initiates the chase.

They are lucky dogs because they very rarely are left behind. There could be so many more dogs whose lives could be enriched by spending their days at work with their people. It clearly isn't appropriate for some situations but for those who do have jobs that could possibly include a well-trained, well-behaved dog ... well, how wonderful for everyone.



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