As I begin my routine each morning, I am flanked by two yellow Labrador Retrievers. They alternate positions, but one tucks under the drop-lid of my desk and splays across my feet while the other plays sentry behind my chair. The Ragdoll-Himalayan watches my back from the wood-slat box under the window ledge. Or he saunters in to the annoyance of the vigilant male Retriever who is ever-ready to charge the cat with a rumbling order to comply with protocol and not disrupt my quiet. (He means well.) Such as they are, these are my writing companions. Sometimes they distract more than they help. Yet, there are several benefits for keeping this roustabout rabble around.