We’re back, and we are tired! I have so much to share with you about Emmett’s road trip and all the stops along the way, but I wanted to address first the question we’ve been asked most often: What was the highlight of the trip?
Now, I can’t speak for Emmett, of course. But for me, the best part wasn’t a single moment. Rather, it was the collection of small moments that let Emmett’s personality shine through.
Here’s an example.
We arrived at our hotel in Philadelphia on Tuesday. I wanted to take him for a walk – ideally, to JFK park to snap a pic at the Love statue – but it was pouring. I waited for a break in the rain and dragged him around the blocks surrounding our hotel, looking for a patch of grass for him to go to the bathroom. We turned a corner, and a group of construction workers were breaking up a slab of cracked concrete while a police officer idled on the corner.
One of the workers looked up and said, “What a handsome dog!”
So Emmett did what Emmett does.
He walked over to the man, sat down in front of him, and looked up. “Pat me,” his eyes said. The guy laughed and obliged. His coworker watched the whole exchange, set down his tools, and walked over. Emmett turned to him and got some scratches. Meanwhile, they’re telling me all about their pets at home, at which point the officer walks over and starts to tell me about his Persian cat. All three men crouched down over Emmett, patting him like they’ve been friends forever. When it was time to go, Emmett left reluctantly, and all the men said, “Bye, Emmett!” or “See you later, buddy!”
Every time we came in or out of the hotel for the next two days, Emmett stopped to introduce himself to any of the bellmen or valets who happened to be near the entrance. He’d stop in front of them. Stand there, wagging his tail. Staring. Waiting. Inevitably, whoever was in the doorway would look, smile, walk over, and start rubbing him. By the time we were leaving, all the lobby employees would see us coming and say, “It’s Emmett!” or “How’s my favorite dog doing?”
He befriended two women looking for the Hard Rock cafe – to the point that they were afraid they’d miss their reservation! At our hotel in New Jersey, he cajoled a tiny little girl into gently patting his nose by lying down in front of her so she couldn’t step around him practically without patting him first.
Over the course of the trip, Emmett was patted by probably 100 different people – all of which he requested by walking up to a someone, sitting in front of her legs, and staring up into her face.
We saw friends and family, too, but for Emmett, not one person we met the entire time was a stranger.
That, to me, was the best part, seeing Emmett’s open, loving spirit shine through. He doesn’t get chances like that very often during our daily routines, especially since retiring from therapy work, so watching his outgoing, friendly personality glow in every city, hotel, and restaurant was by far the best part of the entire trip.