Some companies have Bring-your-daughter-to-work day. Others have Bring-your-dog-to-work policies. I get a version of that, people who bring their dogs to my book events.
One of the most fun parts of my job is when people bring their Great Danes to my signings. (For those of you who don't know, one of the characters in my books is a 170-pound Harlequin Great Dane named Spot.)
I've had people as young as 11 and as old as 70-something show up with their Danes. It's a joy because the dogs are always so fun to meet. The sweet, lean-against-your-leg friendliness of a Dane that's just met you is what immediately wins the affection of everybody, even those who claim to not be dog lovers.
One hot summer day in Sacramento, Jon, an 11-year-old, brought his Dane to one of my signings. The store owner had left on an errand. It was so hot outside that I made an executive decision and let the dog into the air-conditioned bookstore. The dog lay on the floor, soaking up attention from every person.
The tiny store cat walked right over, sprawled on the carpet next to the Dane, whose jaw was stretched out, chin-to-carpet. The cat stretched out his head, and the two animals sniffed each other's noses. Seven pounds of cat nose-to-nose with a 150-pound dog.
When the store owner came back, he was astonished that his cat had come up to lie next to the Dane.
“He always runs and hides from any dog,” he said.
“Not from Great Danes,” I said.
The store owner wondered why.
I explained when a cat sees a Great Dane, they often feel a sense of safety. I told him about our own cat and how he instinctively knew that seeing a terrier was like looking the Grim Reaper in the eye, but a Great Dane created the opposite reaction.
When our Great Dane was snoozing, sprawled out on her side, our cat would climb right up on the dog and lie down on her. Other times, when our dog was curled up in a semi-circle, our cat would step into the center of her curved body and curl up in her embrace.
Great Danes are imposing because of their size. But a cat can sense the personality separate from size. Just maybe, to a cat, a Great Dane's personality and size add up to a safe zone, especially important if a terrier comes into the room.