Guest Column:  Mollie the Office Dog

Wag, wag, sniff, sniff! Nudge. Pardon my informality, but that’s the Border Collie way of saying hello! It’s been a crazy week here at our house, what with house renovations and Serena’s return to her college teaching gig. There is drywall dust up my nose and sawdust on my paws. But with the humans sacked out and the computer standing empty, I thought I’d lend a paw with the monthly column. Today, I am sharing with the human world my five top rules for having a good life.

First, everybody should have a best friend. I have five of them. There’s Frost (named on account of her grey mottled fur), Serena, Monika, and two human pups, T. and G. One pack, 16 legs. Whether one actually speaks to one’s best friend, nuzzles them and sniffs them well, or simply makes soulful eye contact is a matter of personal style and, I suppose, breed. Some are more vocal than others. But eye contact, coming when called, warmth and grooming are essential. Choose your best friends wisely, bond with them well, and be a loyal companion.

Second, everybody should have a job. Frost and I share the challenging task of keeping our humans in a tight circle (good herding stock helps!), pre-washing the supper dishes (before the dishwasher), announcing visitors, and catching any balls that are thrown. In return, our human friends feed us, take us for walkies, snuggle us, brush our fur and trim our nails. What they do with the rest of their time is a mystery.

I have the additional responsibility and honour of being the Office Dog at Grünberg Patterson Counselling and Psychological Services. There, my job is to warm the couch between clients, and to be the Intense-o-meter for feelings. When the feelings get big, I carefully place my head on someone’s knee and give them the soulful eye. If they reach down and rub me behind the ears, I stay put and they feel calmer. When people are angry or very anxious, I may nudge their paw, just to be sure they notice. Sometimes I will make sure that Monika is paying proper attention by putting my paws on her lap and my nose in her face. This is not considered the best of human manners, but direct communication is a canine specialty. We dogs will occasionally lie about when we last ate (about a week ago, I think…hey, is that kibble in your pocket?) but never about feelings.

Third, go for walkies every day. Swimmies, hikes and runs are even better! Move your body joyfully and with wild abandon! Get outdoors! There is nothing worse than not being able to move your body, unless perhaps it is being unable to move your bowels. Either way, walkies are the ticket. Even if you are feeling stiff and sore, it’s best to go outdoors and do what you can.

Fourth, enjoy good food and good scents. Some recommend a raw diet, others vegetarian or vegan. At our house, we’re omnivores. Kibble, rice, cooked veggies and frozen raw chicken necks (chick-cicles!) make my tail wag and Frost go round and round in happy little circles.

Finally, sleep indoors, preferably where you can smell your loved ones. Long sleeps or short naps, it helps to pass the time and to recharge the love batteries.

That’s all, folks: it’s a beautiful Autumn day and there are balls to chase and organic matter to roll in (please don’t tell my humans; maybe they won’t notice!) Next month, they’ll be back to the usual human-to-human advice, and I’ll be at their feet to remind them of the good things in life.

Mollie is the Office Dog at Grünberg Patterson Counselling and Psychological Services. She can be reached via email at, or at the office at 156 Manor Drive, Comox.