How to deal with an out-of-control coworker

 I’ve been back at the office, somewhat, for the last two weeks now.

What two weeks it has been.

An absolute nightmare some days, if you will.

For the last two weeks, I have been dealing with a dramatic, irate, and, at times, an aggressive coworker.

And if my 3-year-old corgi, Stella, ever learns how to read, and gets a hold of this column … I’m in for the chewing of a lifetime.

Prior to two weeks ago, March 12 was the last time I set foot in the Pioneer office. Due to the pandemic, I was working from home.

Fast forward to April 1. I proposed to my now-fiancé, Sarah. (The date? She didn’t see that one coming either).

With Sarah came Stella — a spunky little corgi who barks at anything she hears or sees.

Stella and I have become the best of friends. And because the three of us were home together, all the time, we had lots of free time. With that free time, we created a voice for Stella — aka what we thought she would sound like if she could talk — equipped with a full attitude.

She’s a smart dog, too.

While working from home, she started to understand, “OK, it’s time to go video chat with the newsroom,” and, “We’ll go outside after my meeting with Jeff.”

She knew that if she could somehow maintain silence during those Zoom calls, a treat would soon follow.

We developed routine “stretch” breaks; discussed our afternoon game plan over lunch; and at times, complained about our poor-quality internet connection.

She became my “coworker,” if you will.

We had a good thing going.

Then, Aug. 17 came and Stella’s world came crashing down. I left for work that morning not thinking much.

“She waited by the door the entire time you were gone,” Sarah told me that afternoon when I arrived home for lunch.

“Where were you? Why did you leave? Are you leaving again? Did you bring me anything?” Stella quickly barked at me.

It took a lot of explaining, and even more treats, to finally get her to settle down. The questions continued to pour in — from the made-up voice mentioned earlier — as we ate lunch.

Day after day, the pattern continued. She wept as I left, even though her mother was still home working.

It was difficult for us both most mornings, but she’s starting to understand that I need to “leave” to pay for her pup cups at Culver's.

Regardless of the changes, or how sassy and dramatic Stella can be, it’s a special type of feeling to come home after a long day at work, open the door and hear four paws running as fast as possible to greet you with slobbery kisses.

Having Sarah there is nice too.

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