An unremarkable administrative assistant finds her life going to the dogs both literally and figuratively in actor/screenwriter-turned-director Mike White's dark comedy drama. An inexplicably cheerful office worker whose somewhat sad excuse for a life seems to revolve around her pet beagle Pencil, Peggy (Molly Shannon) seems to relate better to her four-legged friend than she does to most humans. Most of her person-to-person interaction revolves around doting on other people's children and treating her co-workers to daily donuts, and Peggy just doesn't find much solace in the company of her know-it-all sister-in-law Bret (Laura Dern) or her anxiety-prone boss Robin (Josh Pais). When Peggy's dog Pencil is taken before his time, the devastated dog-lover is wracked with guilt. Now desperate to fill the gaping void that has suddenly opened in her life, Peggy agrees to a date with her gun-nut neighbor Al (John C. Reilly) that ends in disaster when she begins to suspect that the boorish brute may have in fact poisoned her ill-fated pooch. Later, after adopting every dog at the local pound and transforming herself into an overzealous animal-rights activist, the increasingly unhinged Peggy reaches out to asexual activist Newt (Peter Sarsgaard) in a last-grasp attempt at forming a human connection that is met with casual indifference.