Fire Dog Tryouts

We recently had to travel to Plattsburgh, NY for my job. This is where the “home office” is and so from time to time, we travel there so they remember what I look like and why they hired me to begin with.

Now I did say “we” went to Plattsburgh. Among the many things I love about my job is that they let me travel with the four legged kids. In fact, Girly Girl and Blue may very well be better traveled than the motif/mascot on the sides of those buses….

My pups are pros at staying in hotels. In fact, I suspect that Blue would rather live in a hotel. In hotels, he believes he can jump up onto the bed. Blue has a mental block that white dogs cannot jump. When he isn’t paying attention or he is distracted, or in dire straits, he can jump like a grasshopper. When he thinks about it, he freezes up and has to be able to step up or he won’t go there. Luckily, he can step into the back seat of my car, or else I’d have a hernia by now. There are days when even that is a challenge for his poor afflicted mind. For whatever reason, he suspended belief during one of our early stays in a hotel. I think it was out of pure jealousy that Girly Girl had this giant bed to herself. After he whined and I refused to lift him onto the bed, he gave up and launched himself. A monster was born.

Since that day I’ve always had to get a hotel room with two beds in it. One for me and one for Blue. I know what you’re thinking. “For heaven’s sake, it’s a dog! Make him get down!” There are two problems with that theory. First, greyhounds aren’t really dogs and second, they can be more stubborn than the most ornery mule ever thought of being. Wrestle him off the bed (and I do mean wrestle) and he’ll run to the other side and jump up. If he doesn’t wear you down with that trick, he’ll definitely be fighting with you for pillow space the very second you fall asleep. Until then, he will stand and stare at you from the end of the bed. Pretty soon you wonder if he’s going to eat you or sneak up on the bed when you fall asleep.

I decided that I never really wanted to find out which way he’d go, and so we get two beds. I get a good nights sleep, I keep life and limb and the big dog is a happy boy. 

We were on our last night in the hotel for this particular stay. The plan was to drive home the next day, having completed our work visit. It turned out there was some big concert in town and thus the hotel was full of young people drinking in their rooms, running the halls and generally being obnoxious (yes I realize I am in danger of sounding like my mother here). We had to change rooms because our first neighbors turned out to be concert goers holding a rousing game of beer pong prior to departure. We were not excited about following the progress of the game. We moved to a nice quiet wing. The night desk clerk wished me good luck sleeping.

He wasn’t kidding either. We had been sleeping for some untold number of minutes, or maybe hours when slumber was ripped violently apart by a horrible buzzing/ringing/pulsing squall. It’s never good when you wake up saying, “What The F____??!!!?!?!?!?!” In my confusion I start groping around for my phone to either answer it or turn off the alarm. Ooops, I left the phone out in the car. OK, so the hotel alarm clock. No wait, I unplugged that to plug in my computer.

Then….OH CRAP! THAT’S THE FIRE ALARM! I spring out of bed. Hounds do same. Big excitement. Rush to the door and look out the peephole. Wait, are you supposed to do that in a fire. Oh well, too late. No flames, but holy cow, there’s smoke. Feel the door. It’s not warm. Crack the door open, yep, definitely smoke and something seriously burnt. OK, guess we’ll be vacating.

Ever wonder how fast you can get two greyhounds into coats, harnesses and leashes? Try it when you think you may be in a burning building. Once we were all fully geared up, throw the door open and prepare to run the gauntlet of flames. OK, no flames. But more smoke and the smell of something very burnt. The hounds were incredibly brave considering the noise from the alarm, which was directly outside our door, was deafening. They followed my lead and never showed fear.

It seemed we were the only people on our wing who wanted to live. Either that or we’d taken longer to get ready than I thought. We make our way down the hall (of course we’re at the VERY far end) to the lobby. More smoke and that awful burning smell. Two hotel employees are loitering about in the lobby and they direct us to go outside. They didn’t seem very alarmed. We joined the ten or fifteen other hotel guests sitting along the curb out front. This was definitely not the full complement of hotel guests.

Blue immediately began working the crowd. He demanded attention from everyone he could reach within his leashes radius. For him this was like a bonus meet and greet, only later and colder. Girly Girl had been about as brave as she could muster and she proceeded to stuff herself into my lap. There she stayed shaking like a washing machine on spin cycle.

Pretty soon every fire truck in the city of Burlington rolled into the hotel parking lot. Girly Girl found a way to get inside my coat with me and then attempt to keep an eye on those noisy trucks out the sleeve. More fire fighters went into the hotel than there were hotel guests milling around outside. They had all manner of gear and hoses and poles and axes. Blue tried sneaking in with them but as usual, mumma ruined all his fun. They came back out a few minutes after they went in, still lugging all their gear. The verdict? One of the concert goers microwaved an unknown substance to the point where it went from charcoal, to carbon to a diamond. Since the microwave resides in the lobby where, presumably, the night desk clerk also sits, this had to be some kind of trick.  

We got the all clear to return to our rooms. Girly Girl was practically dragging me towards our wing. Blue had other plans. Standing in the lobby was a fire man, waiting for the small herd of hotel guests to come in so he could go out. Blue zeroed in on him as though he were a meaty bone. Apparently, for Blue, here was his big chance and the fire man never knew what hit him. Before the man knew it, he was fully charmed by this 80 pound skinny walking sculpture and he was down on his knees in full turn out gear giving Blue all kinds of love.

I never knew that Blue harbored a secret desire to be a fire dog. I guess it never really came up. But I suppose he figured he was almost as spotted as those Dalmatians (at least his skin is, but he has to be soaked down to really show this to his best benefit). And he could certainly do whatever it is that the Dalmatians do, only much faster. In the end the fire man reluctantly joined his compatriots on one of the many many trucks and Blue got no offers of employment. If we are lucky, he’ll never get another opportunity to apply.

1 comment:

  1. ok, at the risk of NOT sounding like your mother...who the hell do you think was hosting that wild party next door?



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