I was recently chatting up readers when I was exhibiting books at an art & wine festival. Somebody asked about Spot, the 170-pound Harlequin Great Dane in my books. As I began to answer, I noticed a crowd of people across the street. They were all congregating around something I couldn't see. Whatever it was, it had people excited. I heard shouts of, "Oh, my God, look at that dog!"
Some people shifted, and I finally saw what all the fuss was about. A huge Harlequin Great Dane.
So of course, I had to go over and meet Wagmore, a gorgeous two-year-old Dane who, it turns out, just happens to weigh 170 pounds.
Wagmore is a Therapy Dog In Training, and it was easy to see that he would calm and soothe anyone suffering any kind of stress or anxiety. In the course of 30 minutes, I watched as several dozens of people pet him and hugged him, all while he performed his magic of giving everyone loving attention completely free of any hint that he was a substantially bigger carnivore than a mountain lion and he had huge teeth to match.
The collective blood pressure of the entire crowd dropped in Wagmore's presence. The smallest children ran to him and reached up to pull on his jowls or yank on his tail. The largest men wrapped their arms around him as if they'd known him since he was born instead of having seen him for the first time seconds before. Women leaned on him and didn't want to leave even after they'd had multiple photos taken.
I spoke to Wagmore's owner, who told me that these street events were part of the socialization of a therapy dog. As a result, Wagmore was comfortable in any size crowd for any length of time. Because Wagmore was calm under all circumstances, he brought out the calm in people.
Getting to meet Wagmore was a gift. If you want to know more, Wagmore has his own Facebooks page here.