One of the neatest things about our new book “Maxnificent! The Polka Dot Pyrenees” is that we get to do many events. We love them! Especially meeting the children and reading them our story. The only thing better is when we get to take Max, the star of our book, along with us. He absolutely loves meeting everyone. What people do not get to see, is the amazing transformation that takes place leading up to these public events. You see, Max is a very lovable, slobbering, running in the house, breaking the furniture, rambunctious type of dog. He rarely does anything half-speed. He likes to bark at strangers, roll in the mud, and chase squirrels. If he doesn’t want to come inside when you call him, he ignores you. If you are walking him on the leash and he doesn’t want to go in the direction you are leading him, he will just go all ‘statue’ on you, or worse, run full speed in the opposite direction! My shoulder is healing nicely, thank you. Then one day he gets taken to the groomers, and bathed and brushed, and, well, he knows. He knows that he has a work day coming up. I don’t know how he knows, but trust me, he knows. When the big day comes he doesn’t really want to eat; when he is let outside to do his business, he hangs close to the gate, eyeing the car. He sees Dianne getting ready and then I arrive wearing my lucky shirt…and begin loading the car.
And then he really knows. He walks just a little taller; his chest puffed out just a little more. He will walk over to Bo and then Libby as if to say, “Sorry guys, I can’t play today. I have to work!” He even has a slightly smug look on his face. I call it his “after all it is my picture on the cover” look. He stays close by, watching us, as if to say, “Now?” He waits patiently by the door, or if outside, by the front gate. When he sees me with the leash, he walks to me and actually tries to help me put it on properly. All I can think is, “Who are you and what have you done with Max?” I walk him to the car, he jumps in and settles down with the biggest smile you ever saw. When we arrive at the event, he works the crowd, staying for just the appropriate amount of time before moving on to the next person. He is serene, gentle, and amazingly calm. When Max hears the inevitable
“Can I pet him?” he instantly turns in their direction and walks towards them lowering his head, waiting to be adored. As story time approaches, the children will sometimes gather around him and pet him while they listen. Sometimes, he will have 10 to 15 kids hanging on him. He just basks in all the attention.
As the event starts to wind down and we are saying our goodbyes, he is watching for any opportunity to get one more hug in. Max is in character and this is his stage. As we approach the car, he is reluctant to get in and seems genuinely sad. He doesn’t want it to end. We give him lots of praise and tell him what a great job he did, but it doesn’t seem to be the same coming from us.
As we were leaving the last event, I said to Dianne, “I think Max just loves to be adored.” She smiled and said “No, ‘I think Max has just found his purpose.”
What a wonderful thought. I wish we all could feel that way!