Traveling with a puppy is much like traveling with a baby—you need to take lots of extra stuff to make things easy once you get to where you’re going. The night before for Charlie’s big trip to the city, I found myself packing a “puppy bag.” The next morning before the sun was up, Charlie and I left on his longest trip yet—to my office near Washington, D.C. He is 12 weeks old, and I felt he was ready for the experience.
We arrived in the parking garage of the building just as the sun was peaking over the far horizon. The city was just beginning to wake, so the streets were relatively quiet. “Perfect,” I thought, as Charlie and I walked out of the garage toward the only two 2 x 4-foot grassy patches in that area of town. As we approached the sidewalk, Charlie stopped and craned his neck upward as if in awe at the enormity of the skyscrapers all around him. He kept looking at the shapes—some smooth stone, many with repeating color patterns, some reflective, all very tall. In his world, our ancient oaks at 80 feet are the giants on the farm. Here he was in a strange land were the trees were barely 12 feet tall and dwarfed by buildings so gigantic he couldn’t bend his head up enough to see the tops.
A garbage truck rumbled by and broke his stare. He looked at it, appearing amazed by its size. This was certainly the largest vehicle he had ever seen. He turned to look at me and his expression clearly said, “Mom, what kind of strange Land of Giants did you bring me to?”
As the streets began to fill with people, he was so fascinated he stopped sniffing the grass and just sat and watched. I wish I could have read his mind as he saw his first bicycle rider with a strange pointed head (helmet) and a woman jogging behind a tented tricycle pram. He cocked his head from side to side. So many new things to experience and it was all happening rapidly! Behind him a bus chortled by, and more people of all sizes and shapes crowded the walk. All the while, Charlie sat calmly, taking it all in and contemplating what it all meant.
Finally, I had to remind him to “get busy” so we could go inside. Entering the building my office is in, he negotiated his first obstacle—a revolving door—then turnstiles, guards and two elevator rides. After what must have seemed like a tremendous journey for a little pup, we arrived at my office. I had already placed his crate under my desk and had his favorite toys spread out. He jumped with glee at them, relieved I am sure to see something familiar. He seemed very content to lie at my feet and play with his toys. Few people in the office even realized a puppy was in their midst.
Later, as we roamed about the office complex on our way to my many meetings, he got much practice with the elevators and revolving doors, handling and adapting to them like a good student. By lunchtime, however, this little guy was tuckered out. On our return to my office, he headed straight for his crate, grabbed a corner of his blanket, rolled over and snuggled down on his back half covered for a long nap. I ate lunch at my desk and finished up the last of my work while he continued to nap. It had been a very stimulating day, and I’m sure he was in sensory overload trying to assimilate all the new things he had experienced.
When he finally woke up, we made our way back to the parking garage for the journey home. By now, he handled the elevators and doors with the aplomb of a veteran. I couldn’t help but be impressed. There was no pulling on the leash, no barking and no jumping on people, just calm self-assuredness of a tiny puppy in the Land of Giants.