Register for #ELGL22: ELGL's Annual Conference!

Lessons From the Dog

Posted on December 18, 2020


smiling dog
Today’s Buzz is by Meredith Reynolds, Park Planning & Partnerships Manager for the City of Long Beach. Follow Meredith on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. 
What I’m Listening To: The holiday playlist I made my staff. You can tune in with me!
What I’m Watching: Television miniseries Flight Attendant 

Reading on Twitter: Thoughts of a Dog


Like many of us, I’ve been telecommuting since March 2019. The #WFH life has its perks and one of them is getting to spend time with my four-legged co-worker. Meet Marlowe.

Marlowe

Marlowe is my seven-year-old beagle. Beagles are tracking hounds, like furry little detectives, traditionally bred to hunt hare. And like a detective, she is named after Raymond Chandler’s famous detective Phillip Marlowe. (Highly recommend watching Humphrey Bogart play Marlowe in the 1946 film noir The Big Sleep.) Spoiler alert: get ready for a flood of cute puppy pictures!

Marlowe is a master hunter of tissues and socks. (Your socks are MINE.) She also likes hedgehogs.

dog socks.    dog socks

She is a bark-a-saurus at other dogs from the balcony or window, reigning over her kingdom. (Who do these dogs think they are walking on my sidewalk?!?)

supervising     sunbathing dog

She is a morning lap napper and throughout the day finds the best snuggly spots for her snoozles, which usually include a moment of upsidedown dog. (I wish I was this comfortable once ever!)

Dog nap     Dog nap

She is a sassypants during puppy playtime and is a joyful pup.

Upsidedown dogPuppy playtime

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these days, she is a #WFH supervisor.

Doggie work-from-home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working from home has provided a whole new perspective on her personality that I didn’t get to see when working from my office. I’ve learned several lessons by watching Marlowe that we can all apply to our #localgov work and our lives:

1.Be Excited To Face The Day

Each morning when Marlowe wakes up, she does several yoga-like stretches and produces a big yawn. It is crushingly cute when she utters a squeaky yawn! She bounds from her comfy spot at the foot of the bed and shakes it off signaling the day has begun. And that means everyone else needs to get up too. She does the Snoopy dance around her humans until she gets her breakfast and then assumes her rightful place on the couch blankies. She is a creature of habit, as many dogs are, and being excited to face the day is one we can all learn from.

puppy yawn  happy dog

2. Find Your Pack

Like other pack dogs, Marlowe likes to be in the presence of her pack. She is content to lounge in my lap on the couch, which can make it hard for me to work on my laptop. When I have to move her, she resumes her moral support by placing her head on my leg. She is comforted when she is included and I’ve even set up her bed on my desk so she can snooze nearby while I take calls. From this vantage point, I like to think she is reviewing my work. Being with your pack who support you is important, especially during these trying times.

Dog moral support

Work from home setup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pay Attention to the Non-Verbal Cues

Dogs are interesting creatures, with their own non-verbal body language. And they pick up on our behavior. When I get animiated and excited on a virtual meeting, Marlowe will bring a toy from the other room to play, tail eagerly wagging. When I take a tone of frustration on calls or virtual meetings, Marlowe will come from the other room, wagging her tail nervously with a look of concern. Many times I don’t even recognize my tone has changed and I am unaware of how I may be coming across. Marlowe’s reaction reminds me that tone is important and how I speak to others has an impact.

puppy on plans       nervous dog

4. Remember To Take A Break

At several points throughout the day, Marlowe will make her way over to where I sit at my desk to paw at me, signaling that it is time for tummy rubs. It is usually after a period of marathon virtual meetings. I haven’t gotten up from my chair, much less moved, and reaching down to pet her usually sends a jolt down my back or a pinch in my neck. This is Marlowe reminding me that I need to take a break. After adequate tummy rubs have been distributed, Marlowe calmly walks away and I get up for some much-needed movement. Taking a break can rejuvenate you to take on the rest of the day.

patient dog dog walk

5. Put The Work Away

I’m the type of person where work is inextricably tied to my identity and I am constantly doing work beyond the average workday. This usually looks like me on the couch with my laptop after dinner, toiling away on the last fixes to a memo, pouring through a spreadsheet, or sending those few final emails. But the laptop is in the way of the spot Marlowe seeks to snooze in. To let her desires be known, she stands behind the laptop screen and staaaaaaares at me to put the laptop away. And when I don’t, she swats at the laptop screen. I swear my husband trained Marlowe to do this, but he swears she does it all on her own. In any case, I am reminded that the work can wait.

Doggie death stare. no computer

We should all take a lesson from Marlowe. As the designated #WFH supervisor, she agrees.

Now it is your turn to share a cute pet photo along with what have you learned from your pet. (Because who doesn’t need cute pet photos in their lives these days?)

 

Close window