Who's Your Daddy

Four-legged colleagues

Pretty much every column I’ve wrote has focused on unique experiences LGBTQ moms and dads have had in parenting, compared to our straight peers. But in this pandemic, we’re all the same; we’re all trying to navigate life in isolation. For some that’s brought their families closer together. I love how much time our boys are just hanging out as friends. And for others, it’s all they can do to keep from killing one another.

I’m really lucky, I’ve been able to continue working from home during the pandemic. It has its positive aspects – my commute is just 10 feet – and it has its downside; since this is a new job for me, I’ve literally only been in the office twice since I started.

Thus far, my work-at-home colleagues have proven to be incredibly helpful. No, not Kelly and the boys. I have to put noise-canceling headphones on to drown out their shenanigans. It’s Skeelo – the good dog – and Athena Cat who help me get through the day.

Inevitably, after I’ve been slaving away for a couple of hours, I’ll hear a quiet but insistent knock on the door.  It’s Athena. Yes, she taught herself to knock at doors until someone opens … like a proper lady.  She’s that coworker that has a little crush on you and thinks she’s sly about it but everyone knows she really digs you.

She strolls in, mewing casual conversation at me nonstop, and curiously leaps into my lap. And then it happens: I catch her staring up at me adoringly, like she’s just waiting for me to ask if she wants to catch a movie on Saturday night.

Then again, who knows, maybe she’s just trying to tell me not to buy that off-brand cat food ever again if I know what’s good for me.

No sooner has the adoring, love-sick coworker left, than the needy, insecure coworker comes barreling in, head bopping around and tail wagging. Skeelo is an incredibly good dog, but needs constant reassurance. He’s the colleague who is always whispering “do you think they’re going to fire me?”

Right in the middle of an email or during a call, a cold, wet nose will shove its way into my hand. “Hey, man, are you guys talking about me? Are they letting me go?” his sad eyes implore. Actually, he’s rather clumsily unsubtle trying to tell me he thinks a quick walk would hit the spot.

And, I must say I’m grateful to have him around during this social isolation and distancing. He’s a border collie, he has to get a lot of exercise or he’ll go bonkers. He has become my excuse to get outside – I have to leave the house because of him. He’s Kelly’s reason and the boys’ too. He’s getting so many walkies that I’m thinking he’s possibly behind the whole damn pandemic!

Both Athena and Skeelo are serving an even more important role right now: They’re filling the void of my missing family. Sure, I have my husband and my sons with me – and I’m exceedingly grateful – but most Greek families are really close, and I miss mine.

I think that’s why our pets are so important to us; they’re parts of our families – sometimes they’re even the best parts. They listen without complaint, they love without condition, and they forgive without being asked. They’re the best coworkers a guy could solicit. Now if I could just teach one of them to make coffee!

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