Who’s Claire? Meet Our Office Dog and the Canines That Came Before Her
to. He was just happy roaming around with us kids, and while he was essentially useless as a working dog, he was just as important to us as those energetic, protective sheepdogs had been. Over the years, my family adopted a number of dogs. Some were goofy pets that never did much other than offer comfort and a good laugh. Others were energetic, trained hunting dogs that would retrieve ducks and have to be kenneled somewhere safe so they wouldn’t destroy the house. Throughout my life, I have always loved dogs of all types. Many of you may have noticed our holiday cards were also signed by the office dog, Claire. She’s a German shorthaired pointer, and she came to my family by way of my youngest daughter, Sam. When she was 8 years old, Sam begged us for a hunting dog. I wanted one as well, but I didn’t want a dog that was going to destroy the house. So, we agreed that we could get a dog, but Sam had to scoop the yard, take care of the pup, and feed her. If she did, she could pick out the puppy and name her. To her credit, Sam has kept up her end of the deal (most days.) For the past two years, she and Claire have been inseparable. Claire sleeps in Sam’s room every night, and since Claire is not allowed on the furniture, we’ve gotten in the habit of checking on Sam to make sure she hasn’t snuggled up on the floor next to Claire. (We’ve found her that way more than once.) Sam has even taught Claire a few tricks, such Thus, we found Claire. But it wasn’t until much later in my life that I was introduced to our office dog, Claire.
I lived my earliest years on a sheep ranch in rural Montana. It was the kind of place that shared a party phone line with about 15–20 other farms, and every time you tried to make a phone call, you had to check to see who was on the line. (Of course, you could never be certain no one else was listening in!) The sheep and horses on our farm were protected by a small pack of 10–12 dogs. These weren’t regular, cuddly dogs you would welcome into your home. They were scruffy, hardworking dogs that knew their place on the farm was to keep the sheep safe and protected. They were happiest working, and we were happy to take care of them so they could continue to do so.
as sitting up with her paws in the air, begging, and many others.
But the rancher’s sheepdog is as valuable to his ranch as the family pet is to his family.
Claire would do anything for Sam. In fact, the minute I walk through the door with Claire, she becomes Sam’s dog. Likewise, Claire knows that when her paws hit the truck, it’s time to work. She’s either going hunting — which she is great at — or is coming with me to the office. We’ve set up a little bed and area for Claire to laze the day away at the Albrecht Law Firm, and everyone on the team gets an extra smile when Claire shows up. It’s amazing what a dog can do. Some herd hundreds of sheep into the right pasture, steering them away from danger. Others teach a little girl responsibility or offer a best friend when someone needs it most. Some just bring a few smiles to an office. Somehow, dogs just seem to know what we need.
When my family moved to town, we adopted our first real “pet” dog. This Australian shepherd was the calmest, most easygoing dog a kid could ever ask for! You couldn’t make this dog bite you even if you wanted
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