“It is against company policy to allow dogs in our warehouses,” the HR Director said with a short exaggerated sigh.
I looked at him and smiled. “I know, but she is not actually in the warehouse.” “She never leaves my office. Well, rarely leaves it.”
“By warehouse, we mean the whole facility,” he said frowning.
“I’ll tell you what, I said.” “John will be here before the other executives, and I will talk to him.” John was my peer and his manager (Dog hierarchy and corporate hierarchy are very similar). Unbeknownst to him, John was also an AVID dog lover.
“Alright,” he said, as he slumped slightly in defeat and turned to leave my office.
I glanced over to see Lulu staring at me with her face mashed against the kennel gate, maintaining a well practiced, pathetic “let me out” look.
Our company executives (as uptight as many executives) would be visiting tomorrow, so I stayed late and built a cardboard box around Lu’s kennel…similar to the concept of a camouflaged duck blind. I then collected all of her toys scattered across the floor, and stacked some other boxes around the office to hopefully draw attention away from the large one in the corner. I would bring a little Lysol in the morning, and we would be all set!
Lu and I were up at 4AM to burn off some energy…hers, not mine. She would be spending more time than normal in the kennel. I was hoping she would sleep most of the morning…quietly.
All three men arrived right on time, and lounged at the conference table in my office…right next to “the box.” As everyone settled down, I glanced over to see a pair of dark eyes peering over the cardboard through the bars of the kennel door. I silently wished her back to sleep. The eyes disappeared.
In mid-conversation the box rattled. Only John looked over and then back at me questioningly. I just shrugged slightly. “Just settling probably. This is California.” I said knowingly.
I had made one mistake. I had left the shades up on the floor length window. I looked over and saw the bright eyes again. Sudden movement to my right, and a small squirrel ran across the concrete outside the window. The box shuddered hard and the song began. Stan leapt about 3 feet out of his chair. Lulu now had everybody’s attention, but could care less. The eyes were fixated on the prey at the window.
John headed over, pulled off the cardboard and opened the cage. Who just opens the cage of an unknown animal without asking?! Lu’s attention was diverted from the squirrel, and she bolted out in a wriggling mass of muscle. I think her tail left welts on Stan’s leg. John dropped to his knees and wrapped his arms around Lulu. His navy suit would soon be white.
The next ten minutes went “ok.” Stan kept his distance from Lulu. Bill gave her a brief rub, while also asking why I had a pit bull in my office. John completely melted and refused to put her up for the next half hour, completely unfocused on any business related discussions. Lulu had his undivided attention. I think that is probably the only reason that Stan and Bill did not boot her out immediately.
I mumbled something about finding a home for the poor little abused animal, while trying to wrestle her from John and get her back in the cage. She of course recognized a kennel rescuer when she saw one, and did everything she could to keep John between us so she could not be reached, grinning and wiggling innocently the entire time.
I was sure this would be Lulu’s last day with me. I’d had her for several weeks at this point. It was everyone’s opportunity to turn her in to the corporate authorities. Surprisingly, nobody uttered a word, even when specifically asked by Bill what they thought of a pit bull in the office. Many smiled, and those I was sure would jump on the opportunity to voice their displeasure, just shrugged and avoided eye contact. I breathed a sigh of relief, happy to still be employed
I knew for a fact that there were many that did not approve of her in the office, and a couple that were afraid of the breed. I always kept her in my office, leaving only to go for walks between meetings. I wondered what was causing the change in attitudes. Over the next few months the office culture would be changed by this little rescue dog and her antics.