Pets, Dr. Weil says, enrich our lives. Here at Weil Lifestyle - an 11-person company devoted to helping Dr. Weil with his Web sites and licensing agreements - we could not agree more.
So the company encourages staffers to bring their pets to work. On any given day, visitors to our Phoenix offices will find as many as three dogs roaming the premises, ranging from a beagle puppy to a Shiba Inu to a Labrador retriever. We've discovered that nothing breaks the ice at client meetings like a friendly pooch, and no staff lunch is complete without several dogs showing up to request their share.
Still, for me (I help manage the site's editorial side), something was missing. Though I love dogs, I am principally a cat person. So I was happy to end the dog monopoly in early April.
That's when I brought in George.
George was born in the attic of my friend Marco's home. The kitten had apparently crawled, or rolled, away from the litter when barely a day old, and fallen into a wall cavity. There, he mewed for an indeterminate time - perhaps as long as two days - before Marco heard his cries and sawed through the drywall to free him.
By then, George's mother was long gone with the rest of the litter. Marco was not in a position to raise the kitten. My wife Laurie and I volunteered.
Both of us work full time, but my office has more space, kitchen facilities, and the aforementioned pet-friendly policy, so I became George's new mom. Each day, I would put him in a box and drive him to work, then put his box behind my desk. Every two hours, I fed him kitten milk replacer, available at large pet stores (the picture above shows five-day-old George finishing lunch; below, he's twice as big at two weeks). He fought off an eye infection via a micro-dose of antibiotics - when his eyes opened on day eight, they were beautiful and clear.
In the office, George quickly achieved superstar status. My email correspondents required me to send updated pictures of him weekly, and every visitor promptly fell in love with the feisty white kitten with the gray smudge on his head. Dr. Weil, a dog man by default (he likes cats, but coyotes surrounding his Tucson-area ranch tend to make feline life perilous and short) offered congratulations and encouragement. From the back of my office, I grew accustomed to George's running commentary on my literary output - the mewing was as useful as anything I got from New York editors during my freelance career.
Now, at five weeks, George is too big for his box. My son Alex, just back from college, is helping to raise him at our home, and working on getting him weaned. But George will never forget the exciting first month of his life in our offices. He is also becoming quite a tough guy. If he can overcome an unfortunate tendency to lead with his right, I will bring him back with me to work - I'm sure he'll be able to hold his own with the Weil Lifestyle pooch pack.
By Brad Lemley
Update: At press time, the veterinary consensus is that George is actually a girl. Name under development.