Is Koala ‘Quiet Quitting’?

Koala, a black Lab, studies her iPad
Sometimes, a girl just needs a day off

Koala is ready to retire. She’s not enthusiastic about going to work lately, especially when travel is involved. I definitely empathize.

She might be part of the “quiet quitting” phenomenon — what managers have dubbed the increasing number of people who are showing up and doing their jobs, but no longer taking on extra work, making themselves available 24×7, and consistently going over and above what they’re being paid to do. It’s an offensive term, especially since many organizations are short-staffed and/or haven’t given many raises or promotions in the  past couple of years. Irritating or not, it’s definitely a thing.

But I don’t think that’s what Koala is doing.

She is, to be fair, doing her job but not eagerly offering new services or thinking up shortcuts, as she used to. So it looks a little like a mini quiet quit.

But her job has gotten a lot more challenging and stressful. She’s spending far more hours at the office than ever before; working more late nights when she’d rather be at Rally class; and hanging out under far more of the nicest restaurant tables in St. Pete until past her bedtime.

I don’t think she’s quiet quitting so much as pushing for a better work-life balance. And she’s not worried only for herself; she knows that Deni is also stressed and exhausted from the frenetic pace of their work life.

Some might say that she’s “mirroring” Deni or taking on some of her stress. But I don’t think that’s it exactly, either.

I think that Koala, a sensible and extremely intelligent dog, is doing what dogs do, far better than most humans: She’s living in the moment. And when she doesn’t like what the moment holds, she pushes for changes the only way she can. If she needs to slow down, she slows down … and (she hopes) pulls Deni into the slow lane alongside her.

 

Early Retirement

Alberta_closeupThe one constant in life with dogs is change — and that can be tough sometimes.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Alberta is retiring. Alberta and Deni are a match made in heaven if ever there was one. They adore each other, and Alberta is a cuddly, affectionate Mommy’s girl. For all her goofiness and antics, though, Alberta is an outstanding guide dog, a creative problem-solver, and the life of any party (or classroom … or faculty meeting …). In harness, she’s a consummate professional; off-duty, she’s an eternal puppy. Her love of fun will serve her well in her early retirement.

Alberta has a rare type of tumor in her eye. She will have surgery to remove the tumor (and the eye) this week, and she will retire from work as a guide dog. She will move to Montana later this summer to live with her cousin Mack and Mack’s parents.

Bayboro_Blonde-smAnd, knowing Alberta, she’ll figure out a “retirement job” soon enough. Maybe she’ll build on her experience as the model and spokesdog for 3 Daughters Brewing’s Bayboro Blonde Ale. Or further her media superstar career, launched by an article in the Tampa Bay Times, frequent blog appearances, and a USA Today story.

I’m sure she’ll continue to delight and amaze everyone she meets. I’ve learned a lot from her about doggy humor, intelligence, and empathy. She taught me how dogs can pass the marshmallow test, which turns out to be pretty similar to the way young children do it (they distract themselves). She taught Deni, the Dog Training Club of St. Petersburg, and dozens (hundreds?) of dogs and handlers that Rally and other dog sports are a great way for guide dogs and their humans to let off some steam. She’s helped Deni navigate torrential downpours, bizarre obstacles, and hostile vehicle and foot traffic, especially in crowded airports; in fact, she’s so good at it that Deni has no idea how many (thousands of) people Alberta has gently but effectively nosed out of their path over their too-short three years together.

While she’s leaving her job, she’s not leaving this blog; I hope to continue to follow her adventures from afar (and sometimes in person). And I’ll continue to tell Alberta stories whenever they’re relevant to revealing the amazing cognitive abilities of our canine friends.

Deni has a tough few weeks or months ahead: getting used to life without Alberta, waiting for a new guide, then adjusting to the new dog. Despite her delicate, petite physical appearance, Alberta leaves some pretty big paws to fill.