Never work with a dog....
....and I'm not even considering working with children.
It has been a very quiet couple of weeks at me for me, staff-wise. Everyone's been flying away to conferences, seminars, workshops, focus groups, keynote speeches or report launches in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra and I was stuck in my horrible little office, alone.
Busy, but alone. One day I noticed an elderly lady lecturer - and possessor of the grandest office in our heritage listed building - hobble in with her dog, a fluffy white thing with only it's tongue distinguishable from its fur. "Oh yeah," Karen noted as she walked by, "Prof D brings her in all the time. The dog just sits at her feet until he gets a walk around the campus."
What a lovely idea, I thought. Whilst my boss - and fellow office-sharer, Queen B, was away, why not bring my gorgeous Dogadoo in for the day? I mean look at her - the corgi mix ensures that she's well behaved, gentle and fond of long naps in the beanbag. The jack russell side is kept for 6km runs, ridding our garden of birds and chasing any balloons that Sapphire chooses to inflate. What could go wrong - she'd love it!
I checked my diary for the following day - only two meetings, both with people I knew well and could be trusted with my little furry secret. It felt so naughty and so thrilling - a sensible 37 year old mum sneaking her pet dog into her workplace!
At 8:30am, the wee beastie and I walked across the campus. Dogadoo was most impressed with the creek running through and the smells at the base of each beautiful gum tree. She even got a few friendly pats from students as we passed. Inside, we snuck up the rickety stairs whilst I prayed that her jingling collar wouldn't arouse the suspicions of any egg-heads already inside. As I shut the door to my tiny space, I giggled like a mischievous school girl. "Alrighty then - I'll just lay your blanket on the eames chair (yes, that's right, EAMES) and you can curl up beside me, OK?"
Apparently not. Unlike home, which has been thoroughly investigated with the result of every single nook and cranny being catalogued for smell, taste, touch and sight, the office (roughly the size of a female toilet, which it was up until six months ago) desperately needed to be investigated. The two rubbish bins, pot plants, kettle, filing boxes, bookshelves and the moth-eaten rug were very carefully sniffed. "No Dogadoo, don't chew the mat - sit DOWN!" She gave her melodramatic yawn and reluctantly sat in the chair, sulking.
Not too long after, one of the boy boffins needed to use the male loos that are right next door. "OOF! OOF!" Dogadoo barked, looking pleased at her gatekeeping abililties.
"Sssssshhhhh...!!!" As if me with bugged-out eyes and a finger to my lips would make any impression on her walnut-sized brain.
Who could blame her. Queen B and I had heard every male drop and plop since we'd moved in, and considering that Dogadoo's nasal and aural talents are in the region of 20 times greater than ours, the two minute twinkle happening beyond the wall was impossible to ignore. "OOF OOF!" I braced myself for the door to be flung open with an accusatory "What the hell....?" but it never eventuated.
Dogadoo settled down, let out a fragrant fart to remind me of her presence and all was well for a few minutes. Then Nik arrived - Knock Knock!
"OOF OOF OOF!" He slid the door open in surprise and in a nano-second had his swanky black suit covered from the knees down in dog lick and orange hairs. "Oh god, I hate dogs, please Milly Moo, I just can't---" he beat a retreat down the stairs.
"Wait Nick! Sorry, just wait there! I leave her inside and we can have a chat downstairs if you like."
He nodded, looking very shocked and pale. "It's just that I didn't expect it, and I was once bitten and...."
Great. Despite this hiccup, we had our meeting and I ventured back up the stairs - Dogadoo was standing in the middle of the room with a reproachful 'Why did you lock me in' expression on her face that was only betrayed by her wildly wagging tail.
"Hey there," I crooned, "Want to go outside for a little scamper?"
We got back upstairs in time for my meeting with Jo but with no time to disguise the clearly canine footprints on the carpet. Now, I knew that Jo is a huge dog fanatic because her screen saver has over 150 photos of Cooper the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Her fiance, Gavin, features in just two of those photos, on the side. As soon as she saw Dogadoo her budget files were dropped near the chair and she was on the floor, cuddling Milly like a teddy bear: "Ooooh hello there, you are sooooo cute!"
Somehow, we got our end-of-financial-year budget queries sorted out, with Dogadoo sitting herself right in the middle of us, looking upwards and taking it in turns to lick each of us. "Oh it's been so lovely to meet you, Dogadoo," Jo purred, scratching D's ears. "Oooo I wish I could borrow you for the rest of the day." In a way she already had - her once-immaculate black cashmere jacket and matching pants were now orange with Dogadoo hairs in a rather good imitation of a human lamington. It's doubtful that Jo either noticed or cared though.
Oh dear, as Jo left I saw it - the wet patch right by Queen B's desk. "Oh Dogadoo - you went half an hour ago, why did you have to do that??"
Jo nearly fell down the stairs. "MillyMoo, I've had a lot of different meetings but this is the first one where someone has whizzed in the corner."
"Ah, if only I could say the same thing."
After cleaning it up, I decided to drive Dogadoo home at lunchtime. Hopefully it will dry out by Monday when Queen B returns and we when move to our new offices a week after that, I'll put the wastepaper basket on top of it.
Ummmmm Mum? Mum? I really need to go outside now, unless you want some brown nuggets to go with the puddle here? Mum?