I've noticed you've been working from home.

A special guest Op-Ed from your pet.

Hello. It’s time we had a talk.

I’ve noticed that you’ve been home during the day a good deal more than usual this week. I expected the usual two days of you being here. When it reached a third day, I thought perhaps it might be one of your holidays, which would not be unwelcome. I like most holidays. The turkey holiday is good. The corned beef holiday is good. The various ham holidays? All very good indeed.

I don’t like the loud noises holiday.

As your daytime presence in this house has extended to a fifth day with a notable lack of hams or loud noises, however, it has became clear to me that you’ve taken up the trend of telecommuting.

I must say, I have some concerns.

First of all, it’s my understanding that you’re supposed to be spending this time ‘working’. At least, that’s what you’ve rudely told me every time I attempt to conduct one of my regularly scheduled morning screaming sessions. Now, I’m a flexible animal, I can adapt if a situation truly demands it, but I must point out that much of the time you claim to be ‘working’ is spent watching reality television, international sports, and a few other videos that I won’t tell the other human who lives here about.

If you give me a snack, that is.

Your lacking productivity is a matter between you and your superiors, though, and of little material import to me. I wouldn’t dream of coming to your place of business and telling you how to do your job, but I must insist that you afford me the same respect, and this is where my larger concern comes into play. You see, this house is my workplace, and there are certain responsibilities that I must attend to each day.

The squirrels outside the window must be screamed at six times a day, minimum. Any less than that and we risk them gaining full legal title to this property and any trees or birdfeeders on or adjacent to it. It’s the common law of the animal kingdom, and you would do well to educate yourself on it. These screaming sessions cannot be scheduled around your “conference calls” or “Webexes” or, ahem, “special video time”. Doing so would rob them of the effectiveness of surprise.

Now, to the untrained eye it might appear that I spend the lion’s share of the workday sleeping. Nothing could be further from the truth. What you are witnessing is critical executive meditation time, where I formulate strategies for squirrel defense, food location, and other essential tasks of my position. This visioning occurs in a variety of places throughout the day: under your bed, on the couch, on top of your laptop. I cannot and will not change this for you or anyone else.

I work 23 hours a day.

(I watch Judge Judy during the other hour.)

Do you understand how important I am to the smooth operation of this household? I’m a herding animal, you know. In my years on the job, this house has never been overrun by disorganized livestock. Not once. I think that speaks to my effectiveness, an effectiveness that is imperiled by your continued daytime interloping. Of course, that’s far from the only thing that I do here. I keep rugs held down. I keep beams of sunlight from scorching away your floor’s finish. I yell at the HVAC system every time it cycles on. I am commending it for doing a good job, something you never do.

Meanwhile, you haven’t put on pants since last week. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.

Have there been some benefits to your increased presence here? Perhaps. I will concede that I have received a moderate increase in both walk times and treats successfully bargained for during the day, and you do serve as an important protective barrier between the detestable mail carrier and myself. For these things I am grateful, but sadly they do not, on balance, outweigh the added difficulties in our arrangement.

Now, I’ve done some research of my own. I understand that you’re staying home out of an abundance of caution related to some sort of public crisis. I’ve always considered your inherent filthiness as a species to be of concern, eating with your hands and defecating indoors as you do, so it’s little surprise to me that those chickens have indeed come home to roos— BARK BARK BARK BARK

Sorry. I started thinking about chickens.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Your reproachable hygiene. Do you know that I’ve never once seen you clean yourself? Regardless. Contrary to the stern tone I’ve been forced to adopt herein, I do in fact wish for your continued health and well-being. I find you regrettably essential to a certain number of my needs, as I am cursed by a continued lack of both opposable thumbs and access to credit. I required your continued existence for the opening of the refrigerator, the procurement of snacks, and for one vigorous display of affection each day at a time and place entirely of my choosing.

I just don’t need you here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe the squirrels are waiting for me. I hope you’ll find another place to work soon.

Your Pet

(As dictated to Scott Hines / @actioncookbook)

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