Sounds like the first line of a Toby Keith song, doesn't it? Well, they're also three of my favorite things. Last month, my family had to say good-bye to a member of our family. For nine and a half years, Duchess was the guardian and unconditional love giver to the Bush clan. Although my boys could ride her like a horse and enjoy rough housing without fear of being mauled, unannounced visitors of shea-Bush would take pause before entering a home protected by a 120-pound Rotty. You were loved and will be missed Duchie. Upon hearing of our loss, John Wyatt reminded me of a past article titled "Drywall Dogs." For those of you who missed it, here is a snippet from the March 2002 article:

"Every bona fide drywall contractor has a dog, and the drywall dog is the definition of man's best friend. It's said that to be a true drywaller, you must be in possession of a truck, a Budweiser and a dog. If the dog has a limp or missing limb, that's a badge of job site experience. If the dog wears a bandana, that is further validation that you've spent years in the trade. If the Budweiser wears a bandana, you should see a psychiatrist."

Anyone with a dog has a dog story. We've all run into the folks who start these stories that seem to commence at the dog's conception, complete with lineage or pedigree, and chart the dog's daily movements. These are the same people who would probably have no appreciation for the quality of a pound dog. They'd rather have AKC papers, presumably to prove the dog's worth but we'd have to guess that these people are uncomfortable with their own heritage.

The good drywall dogs are like mud-they're all purpose. They don't cost too much and you can use them anywhere. They're your alarm clock on the hangover mornings, your warmth on the cold ride to the job, your trusted companion when you feel everyone else is screwing you, and the only creature with a pulse that won't tell you to shut up when you start whining. They can usually scare up a dead bird for lunch, and rely on you for little else than an occasional belly scratch. They'll guard your tools at the supply yard and attract sympathetic women as an added bonus. In short, they are vital to your existence.

Wyatt suggested asking the readers for any photos/stories pertaining to man's best friend on the job that we could share with the class. I'll go first.

Duchess: Surveying her domain.

Dog days

My first job-dog was named Rowdy. I was living in Nebraska and the ranchers would breed Blue Heelers with Australian Shepherds to make the ultimate cow dog. These are dogs that live to be asked to do something. They especially love to herd cattle.

I remember a rancher I knew named Owen. He could drive into a field and say nothing more than "gettem in dog" and open his door. The next thing you knew, a whole field of thousand pound cattle were moving. There are few things funnier to watch than a 20-pound dog put a death-grip bite on the end of a bovine tail and swing back and forth like a tether-ball. Rowdy was the runt of the litter, not deemed proper cow-dog material.

I was given the chance to have her and I jumped at the opportunity. She had just enough Spaniel mixed in to give her the floppy-eared look that made her so special. She was smarter than most of my friends back then. As a matter of fact, she was smarter than most I have now, too. I had her for years and she was a faithful job-site companion. Her head was visible in the rear window of my pick-up every morning on the way to the job. She never got underfoot, and could be counted on to never leave the site. At breaks and lunch, Rowdy would sidle up for some attention. A few gleaned tidbits and a belly rub were all she asked. And what was my reward for this trifling bit of attention? A wag of the tail, a lick on the face and a smile. She spent her latter years with my sisters' family and a whole other generation got to enjoy her company.

Please tell me that’s not a remote for your stereo.

Not Tonka toys

Next comes trucks. Much has been written jokingly in this column about the proclivity of messy trucks on and off the job. We've all seen trucks pull up ala Starsky and Hutch, only to have the doors flung open to empty beer cans and useless lottery tickets being spewed onto the ground. But in fairness, this is the exception not the rule. We are going to offer readers the chance to show off their professionalism, and their pride and joy. There are few things that can get a drywaller misty but a sharp truck will do it every time. I have seen some impressive truck/office setups in my travels. Here is your chance to brag a little. Take some pictures and jot a few words. The best will be featured in the magazine.

Maybe just a little too neat—can you say “obsessive compulsive”?
I saw one such sharp rig on a trip to Utah. The owner's name is Jeff Eastham, and he resides in Fairplay, Colo. Jeff does a lot of work at ski resorts. He's a hands-on drywall contractor and as such does much of his office work while pulling his rolling office/warehouse over the continental divide. He jokes about his truck being his office but I've seen it, and it is. If you have to do it this way, it doesn't get much better than a crew cab diesel-powered Silverado.

Everything but the kitchen sink.
Following closely behind is a trailer better equipped than most shops, complete with fishing pictures taped to the walls for inspiration. Nice job,Jeff. You will now be able to brag to your grandkids you were the first winner of the AID "Trucks to Brag About" contest.

Tools; look at the picture of the inside of his trailer. Enough said.

Last month, you saw a cartoon character asking for you to participate in the Third Annual Dry T-shirt Contest. His name is Gonzo and he will from this day forward be the AID Drywall Dog. This mascot was created and penned by my brother Rob; thanks Bud. Gonzo will be a permanent fixture attached to AID.

Remember: every dog has its day- let yours have it here.