Greg and The Pack travelled to the local NBC studios for a segment during First Coast Living! The Pack consisted of Koa (of course), Faith, and Redford (two long-term boarders with me right now). Through my expertise on the law enforcement security and safety side, I have been interviewed often over the years so I knew what to expect. What I was curious to find out is how the dogs would do in a very different environment (lights, movement, people, shiny/slick floors, etc.). I was certain about Koa, since he buddies up with me almost everywhere I go.
When we arrived in the lobby, all of the dogs were careful and respectful. After signing waivers and such the other guests and we were escorted in the direction of the studio. When I say escorted, the producer held the door and while the other guests waited and we kept walking straight past them. Koa seemed to know his way: past the news desk cubicle area, left into a multiple studio area, right into the ante area of that day’s studio and left into the waiting area on the set (maybe I should Google Koa’s name to see what he’s been doing at NBC late at night…).
Amazingly, Redford and Faith were completely calm (as in they sacked out on the carpet) while Koa was taking in all the sights and seemed at home (once again, this concerns me). Lisa was able to come and watched over the pack while I went over graphics and correct spellings with the producer. Everyone was very congenial and respectful to the dogs and they were respectful in return. Co-host Curtis Dvorak (who, for 19 years, was an amazing Jaxon DeVille for the Jacksonville Jaguars) stopped by to chat and mugged with the dogs, trying to get Redford to kiss him while Koa stretched out on his other side.
I mentioned shiny floors in studios before, and that was on my mind because that is Koa’s kryptonite (besides thunder); he has always been a little iffy on floors that are slick. Between the waiting areas and the sets are slick floors where the cameras and the production staff move around. Since after the opening remarks and the weather it would be our turn, when the producer told us to take our place in the “living room” area of the set, I got up and walked forward with a purpose – since we only had one minute. Koa and the pack moved right along and although Koa seemed to be picking his steps, he plowed ahead and took his place. Stretched out on the rug in front of the couch, much like he does every night on a different rug. Redford and Faith sat calmly while the producer was adjusting the mike and make-up, and then the countdown began.
If you have watched the segment, Faith decided that once the photos started rolling on the monitor behind us, that she would fixate on the one that shows me walking the five dogs. If fact, she looked like she was looking out a window and wondering where everyone was walking without her, while showing her butt to the camera the whole time. What you COULDN’T see, once the end of the interview came and they cut away to the graphics, Faith decided to explore behind the monitor to see what was behind “the window”. Clearly finding nothing, she came back to the set and sat down for some pictures. She’s no dummy…
Leaving the set, the dogs had no problem following calmly (even Koa over the shiny floors again) and we turned over the mike and started out. This time we were not escorted and once again the dogs, without pulling but clearly showing me the correct way back out and in reverse without a misstep, lead me out of the maze of a building. In fact, at one point while I stopped to consider my options for the way out, Koa essentially displayed the “follow me” attitude… and he was right! Once out the door we ran to the car for treats, and the rest of the whole day was a nap-fest for all of them. (Click here for the segment!)
This was actually not a journal for the appearance, but a teaching point inside of a story. Being a Pack Leader is more about listening than it is telling. Yes, we have to direct our packs but often leaders who don’t listen to their packs don’t get a clear picture of their packs’ direction. Pack leaders don’t know everything but they ARE in charge of everything. Trust in the dog is a major component of leadership, and trusting that Koa would be okay with the shiny floors and not babying him is better leadership than many alternatives. The dogs also knew the way into and out of the studio… how? And why? I don’t know the answer to that, but I followed at the right time and then went back to leading at the appropriate time. They lead at the right time, and they went back to following at the right time. That’s not just leadership in action, that’s teamwork in action. Many human teams wished that they could work so well and so seamlessly than that… I’ve been on some of those kinds of teams that don’t do well.
Until the next time, stay calm and trustworthy to become the leader your pack needs!