Odin on the threshold and the kindness of strangers.

This week I headed out to visit with my daughter at her college, and decided to bring Odin (my 5-month old leonberger pup) with me.  It was a super hot day, and decided it would be better to have him with me that sleeping in a crate all day, saving up all his energy for when I got home.

So we visited with my daughter, and she and some friends got some huge puppy kisses.  After that, I planned to visit a (kind of) nearby brewery to buy my husband some of his favorite beer.  For those of you who have never visited a craft brewery to stock up on beer, let me just say, it can be an experience.  Having been there before, and knowing they were dog friendly, Odin and I set off for Tree House Brewing.

As I expected, the line was long.  It was estimated at 30 minutes or so (uh, let’s call it closer to 45) in a late September, full-sun and 86 degree day.  I had a full bottle of water, and as I anticipated Odin was living up to his near-perfect puppy status.  It’s amazing that this pup, at close to 80 pounds and two weeks away from his 6-month birthday is so well-behaved on a leash, around dogs, and with people of all ages is sweet and easy going. 

I was making small talk with the people around me — a guy who had dashed out of work to get some refreshment, a woman and her 8-month old daughter in a stroller happily sucking on a cracker among others including some other happy-go-lucky dogs.  I kept Odin in my shadow in an attempt to keep him cooler and out of the sun, and shared my water with him (he drinks it as it flows from the bottle into my free hand and hardly lets a drop go to waste).

We finally made it to the part of the line where we get in the building, and know that within 10 minutes or so, with beer in hand, we will be on our way home.  Or will we?

Yeah, this is where the lesson comes in.  Again.  We stepped into the vestibule and ah, the glorious air conditioned air.  We spent hardly a minute in that area and then it was time to move into the actual brewery.  We get to the threshold, I walk through, and Odin stops.  And when Odin stops, there’s no moving him.   And he causes a little human traffic jam. 

Have I mentioned that Odin has an issue with shiny floors?  Yup, he does.  It’s a funny thing actually.  When Angus (my soul dog) was getting near end of life, I used to tell myself that for all the horrible things I would experience with no longer having him in my life, the one thing I wouldn’t miss was having all the runner carpets in my house that created walking paths for him.  Well, let’s just say my house has all those runners back for my newest soul dog and his loosey-goosey joints that made him slip on my hard floors when he was younger and made him fearful of floors without traction.  Yup, I’m there again.

So back to the brewery.  Odin wasn’t budging, and I was sitting there thinking about what I would do.  I knew there were a couple of dogs further back in the line, so I decided that we would hang off to the side until those dogs caught up to us.  Maybe if Odin saw them go on the floor, he would know it was safe and follow them in.  Makes sense, right?  Didn’t work.  Though the people were so awesome and I swear that one of the dogs was trying to show him how nice and cool the floor was. 

While Odin is getting a tutorial from the two dogs, the woman with the baby who had been behind me in line previously, came up with a treat saying that maybe I could lure Odin in with the treat.  Didn’t work.  Then the guy who had skipped out of work and was almost at the front of the line came back to me and said that when I he gets to the front of the line he is going to come over and hold Odin’s leash for me so I can take his place and get my beer, then he will get back into the front of the line.

I am not a person who likes to ask for help when I need it; and in this case, I wouldn’t even have known what help to ask for.  But I didn’t have to ask.  People just offered to help. People were kind.  To a stranger.  A stranger with a cute dog, but still a stranger.  That people who didn’t know me were willing to help changed the course of the rest of my day.  It was a silly little thing really, a dog who wouldn’t walk on shiny floors.  An hour and a half from home.  After 45 minutes standing in line out in really hot, sunny weather.  A line to buy beer.  Have I mentioned that I don’t actually drink beer?  And so you might be able to see a little how my day might have not gone quite as well without those kindnesses that were bestowed on me. 

What a great reminder that people really are good and kind.  Be good and kind yourself, I know I will be.  You never know what difference it can make for someone.

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