I waited anxiously for Ross' stunt double to arrive in the mail. I had searched the internet high and low to find JUST the right dog - one that was life-size, realistic, and looked just like Ross, and I found him! I was so excited!
When he finally arrived, I tore the large box open like a child at Christmas! Under a wad of packing paper, I found a large stuffed dog sealed in a large plastic bag. As I started to tear the bag open and pull him out, I noticed Ross watching from the doorway. Watching in horror as I pulled a dog out of a bag, out of a box! Watching in horror as the dog stood staring intently at him, not moving a muscle! Ross growled, barked, and scurried away. He slowly stalked back, only to retreat again! He was sure that the dog was real! (Wow, I did find a good one!)
I coaxed Ross closer, using my confident "there's nothing to be afraid of" voice, while gently petting the stunt double. Ross gradually inched closer, staying back on his hocks for a quick retreat. Eventually, he inched his way close enough to sniff the dog. Evidently he smelled OK, because Ross decided that the stunt double wasn't going to attack, but he must not have smelled stuffed...
I took the stunt double to work, where I sat him outside my office while he waited to be presented to his child, as my office is way too small for two large dogs (even if one is stuffed). I spent the day mostly behind a closed door, frequently overhearing gasps, screams, and comments about how people thought the dog was real! (Wow, I did find a good one!) I must admit, it was rather amusing :)
The next day, I drove to our other campus. During a call later in the day, I found that people had continued to be startled by the stunt double in the hallway, and the medical director kindly asked that I put him somewhere else until he was to be delivered to his child. The following day, I found him in a meeting room, where he had evidently been startling people as well :)
Despite many professionals being scared by a stuffed dog, Ross decided that his stunt double wasn't so bad after all, and might actually be his friend. Ross began to lay in the doorway of my office, gazing at his friend just outside the door. When he was off duty in the evening, he decided that it would be a great opportunity to play with his friend, while mom continued to work for free after 5:00. Ross got his tug ring for his stunt double. He sniffed his stunt double in the rear, and invited him to play, prancing around him with his tug ring. Ross pawed at his friend, and nudged him with the ring, continuing the invitation. Initially, his friend ignored him, just as his brothers do at home, but after a couple of minutes, his friend actually grabbed the tug ring as he lay on the floor (Ross accidently looped the ring over the stunt double's muzzle after knocking him to the ground). Ross was SO excited! His new friend wanted to play! He pulled hard, and low and behold, he won the game of tug it pulled loose from his friend's mouth! Ross was so proud of himself, and he continued to prance around his friend, nudging and poking him to play some more.
I was actually sad to take the stunt double to his child - I knew Ross would miss his friend (whom he still had not figured out wasn't real), and I would miss Ross' sweet naivety as he smelled his stuffed cotton rear and poked him to play :)