Four Dogs, One Hero

Posted 05.18.2011

This has been quite a week for high profile people in leadership positions behaving like dogs.  

First, we have the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss Kahn, charged with sexually assaulting a housekeeper in his $3,000 a night hotel room.  And, with that, what I would suspect is the only recorded episode of someone staying at both the Sofitel and Riker’s Island within a 48 hour period.  As Maureen Dowd writes in her New York Times column, the housekeeper was a young West African woman trying to make her way in the United States. Since Strauss Kahn was arrested at JFK less than four hours after the alleged assault, I can only assume that the management of the hotel immediately backed up and acted on the housekeeper’s report. Kudos to them for supporting their employee.

Next, we have the case of the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, acknowledging that he fathered a child with a household staffer over ten years ago. I first learned of that story when I was with a client who had a flat screen in her office tuned to CNN.  As I said to her, you could have knocked me over with a feather that Schwarzenegger was involved in such a situation. Not.

Then, we have the shocking announcement that Donald Trump made at NBC’s annual meeting previewing its Fall TV schedule.  Apparently, Trump believes that he can best serve Americans by coming back as the host of Celebrity Apprentice rather than running for President. Of course, as he pointed out, he would have won if he had decided to run.  It’s always good to have options.

Dog-cairo Finally, we have a dog who is a hero and is actually a dog.  You’ve likely heard by now of Cairo, the highly trained German Shepherd scout dog who went in with the Navy SEALS who got bin Laden.   Earlier this week,  I read an article in Fast Company about dogs like Cairo and the amazing high tech bullet proof vests they wear.  The vests enable the dogs to be harnessed in with their handlers so they can both repel down lines from helicopters into dangerous places like bin Laden’s compound. Once they were on the ground at bin Laden’s place, the SEAL handler sent Cairo ahead to scout the situation. As we know, that  worked pretty well since the vest Cairo wears is equipped with a high def, see in the dark camera and has audio speakers that enable the handler to whisper commands to Cairo about what to do next. (Too bad some of the leaders mentioned above weren’t equipped with a similar bark and act on command vest.)

Apart from the obvious, what’s the difference between hero dog Cairo (along with the Navy SEALS who went with him) and the figurative dogs mentioned earlier? Unlike his human counterparts (who give dogs a bad name), Cairo knows what the rules are and understands that he has to play by them.  I’m also guessing that if he has any ego at all, Cairo has it under control.  Finally, on those rare occasions when he might do something stupid, I suspect that Cairo is immediately corrected and set back on the right path. Can you imagine how things might have turned out for Cairo if he was surrounded by enablers and sycophants who reinforced his bad behavior on a regular basis? Good thing he’s a Navy SEAL dog and not running the IMF or the State of California. He might do a great job, though, hosting Celebrity Apprentice.