It's Take Your Dog to Work Day today, but I left Ozzie at home.
Why would I want to drag my best friend to the office?
Let's face it. He has the good life, while I'm here working my tail off to keep him in Science Diet and Purina Dog Biscuits (which, I'm sorry, no matter what they say, do not make his breath any sweeter).
While I'm writing this, he's snoozing on the couch. At least, that's what I imagine he's doing. For all I know, he's tuned into "All My Children" and he and the cat are nipping at the gin bottle. There must be some explanation for their ability to sleep approximately 22 hours a day.
"Hey, Ozzie," I said. "Want to go to work with me today? It's national Take Your Dog to Work Day."
"What would I do?"
"Well, you could sleep under my desk while I read my e-mail."
"Is it as soft as the couch?"
"Do you have any dog treats at the office?"
"Are there any good-looking female dogs hanging around?"
"Not usually. Maybe somebody will bring a girl dog to Take Your Dog to Work Day."
"Can I bark at stuff?"
"Can I chase rabbits?"
"Ummm, we won't have any to chase until it's Take Your Rabbit to Work Day, which I think isn't until next April."
"Can you think of any good reason for me to go to work with you today?"
"Well, you could keep me company. I'd reach over and scratch your ear every once in awhile. You could see what I do all day."
"What do you do all day?"
"Well, I peck at the keyboard. And I answer the phone a lot. In between those, I'm usually reading."
"Yeah, thanks anyway. I'll just stay home. The cat wants to watch a ballgame."
Pet Sitters International came up with the idea of Take Your Dog to Work Day. The organization says it hopes having lots of mutts at the office will inspire others to rush out and adopt an animal.
That's a noble cause, because there are far too many homeless dogs who await an uncertain fate. Ozzie came from the Douglas County pound, and he's the best dog I've had since, well, the last dog.
I'm not sure people who don't have a dog will be particularly overjoyed to see a poor man's version of the Westchester Dog Show when they arrive for work this morning, though.
First of all, even the best of housebroken dogs can get a little nervous in a new environment and decide they should probably spend some energy marking their territory. If that happens to be your co-worker's computer server sitting on the floor next to his desk, it may end up being an unproductive day.
Several years ago, I feel it's safe to admit now, I took my dog J.D. to work with me on a Saturday (at a different newspaper office, not the Appeal). When I wasn't looking, J.D. lifted his leg on the pillar in the middle of the office. I wiped it up as best I could, but I imagine there's still a tell-tale stain there to this day.
Also, not all dogs get along well together. I can see a dog fight erupting in the middle of the office, scattering wastebaskets, telephones and coffee cups around the room. Of course, something similar happens here in the Appeal newsroom about once a week, but seldom is anyone actually bitten and, as far as I know, most of the reporters have received their rabies shots.
There also may be some places inappropriate for Take Your Dog to Work Day. If you're a waitress, for example, or maybe a casino change person, customers may tend to trip over the leash or complain about fur in their soup or change cup.
I gave it one last shot before I left the house.
"Are you sure you just want to stay home again today, Ozzie?"
"There's only one way I'll go to work with you," he said.
"What's that?" I asked.
"If I get paid."
Now that was an idea. I cocked my head and looked at Ozzie in that quizzical way I have. But then I realized it wouldn't be my decision.
"I think you'll probably have to take that up with the boss's dog," I told him.
Barry Smith is editor of the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at 881-1221 or email@example.com.