Harvey, who is an excellent judge of character, nearly knocked the man over in his effort to make friends. The man responded by dropping to one knee, scratching Harvey behind the ears, and baby-talking him while Harvey nuzzled him and leaned against him with one paw on his foot.
In the midst of this charming scene, Harvey’s frantically wagging tail somehow got caught on Joey’s map and sent it crashing to the floor, scattering pins everywhere.
Chaos ensued. Harvey, frightened, took a wrong step, came down on a pawful of pins, and went into a blind panic. A split-second later, Joey walked into the lobby, took one look at his map and his dog, and went into full-on meltdown mode.
I ran to get Harvey’s muzzle. When I returned less than 30 seconds later, a much calmer Joey was coming back from the kitchen with a broom, and Harvey was lying quietly on the couch, a makeshift muzzle wrapped around his snout, while his new friend — minus one Birkenstock (!) and his left sock — gently extracted the pins from Harvey’s pawpads.
As he worked, the man was talking to Joey: “It’s OK, buddy. We can get all your pins back where they belong. Just sweep them up, and we’ll put the map back and fix the pins as soon as I finish taking care of your puppy.”
I stood there staring at them for a moment, not sure what to do. I had never seen this man before in my life, but he had just witnessed a disaster in my lobby, taken charge of the situation, and restored order in less than 30 seconds. Apparently he was Superman.
Before I could catch myself, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind: “I really hope you’re the guy interviewing for the principal’s job.”
The man laughed. “Grant Loucks,” he said. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
I sat down beside him and helped him pull the remaining pins out of Harvey’s feet. When we finished, he handed me his credit card, released Harvey from his makeshift muzzle, and pulled his sock back on while I rang up his room.
Then he took the guestbook from the counter, hung the map back on the wall, and stood in front of it for the better end of an hour and a half, helping Joey figure out where all 87 of his pins belonged.