Last week people on my team at work flew in from around the country. While everyone was here we decided to take a little time out from work and get outside to see some of the beautiful outdoor sights around Portland. We chose Multnomah Falls as our destination. The Falls are about a half hour drive outside of Portland. In exchange for being one of the drivers to get our team out there, I was told A.J. could come along.
The morning of our outing I started the day by taking A.J. to the park. I wanted to make sure he got some good “run around and do what you want” time before he had to behave for the rest of the day. We went for a walk, we had off-leash time at the park, then we came home and left for work.
When we arrived downtown we parked on Level 6 of a nearby parking garage. The elevator is glass and A.J. alternated between watching outside and sniffing at the door as we went down the six levels. He also happily greeted the other person who got into the elevator with us who asked to pet him.
We got to my building just as another person from my office rode up on his bicycle. A.J. was happy to greet him, too, and enjoyed the attention from another dog lover. We all got into the elevator (bike included) and went up to the office. A.J. was curious about the elevator again, but had no problem being in the enclosed, crowded space.
When we got into the office, I walked to my desk and started setting up my laptop. At home, A.J. knows that when the laptop is open I’m not going to pay any attention to him and he needs to just hang out and wait for it to close again. He carried that same knowledge into the office. I sat down at my desk and opened the laptop, and A.J. immediately laid down on the floor by my desk.
I worked for a little while, during which time A.J. didn’t move. Eventually, members of my team arrived and started coming over to meet A.J. He calmly greeted everyone, his stumpy little tail of course wagging non-stop. As each person petted him, he looked up at them to let them each know that they are the greatest person in the world.
When we left to go to the Falls I took the serious dog lovers in my car. (Those who didn’t mind the idea of being covered in dog hair by the time we got back.) One coworker got into the back as I got A.J.’s harness on. When he got in the car he went right over and sat as close to her as he could without actually sitting on her. I had to call him back over to his side of the car and harness him in.
He rode quietly in the car. At the Falls he waited patiently while everyone arrived and gathered together. We hiked up the trail to a bridge that crosses in front of the Falls. I worked my way through a crowd of people, A.J. calmly working his way alongside me. (Multnomah Falls is a huge tourist attraction, and rightfully so, it’s a beautiful spot.) After admiring the Falls we hiked back down.
As we were leaving, A.J. and I were bringing up the rear behind the other members of my team. When we got to the parking lot I was told “You don’t hear this, but I was out ahead of you and heard all the people coming towards you who would see A.J. coming and say ‘Aaawww!’”
I’ve mentioned before: just seeing A.J. brightens peoples’ day. He’s the happiness dog.
We drove back to the office, where we immediately got together for a team meeting. Dogs aren’t actually allowed in our office building, so I took A.J. straight into our meeting room and closed the door. I set out some water for him and let him wander around the room. We ordered in lunch, so A.J. did a little bit of begging, but eventually everyone, including me, was busy with the meeting and paying no attention to A.J. After a while I realized I hadn’t seen him recently. I looked around, and there he was lying quietly in a corner of the room.
Just before the meeting started I did try to leave A.J. with other people in the meeting room while I went to get myself something to drink, but it didn’t work very well. As soon as someone else tried to leave the room, he darted past them and came running after me. So I went back into the room and asked someone else to bring me a soft drink.
After the meeting I stayed in the room for another hour working. At that point I decided it was time to get A.J. home, so we left and I finished out my work day at home.
All in all I could not have been more proud of my boy. Everyone who wanted to got to pet him, and he was happy with all the attention. He was calm and unobtrusive, and knew when it was time to lie down while everyone worked. I wish I could bring him with me all the time.
He really is a very special dog.