Thursday, November 29, 2007

Leaving Atlanta

Stephen drove Travis and I to Anne Jone's house at 6 AM and we transferred all of my stuff to her van. Anne competed Kira, the #3 Ridgeback in AKC agility in 2007. Anne has the bigger van and can fit all of our stuff, 2 dogs, and 3 people easily. Stephen drove us to the Atlanta airport.
We each had an airline kennel and a dolly for it to ride on, a soft sided crate, and some luggage. As soon as we got out of the van we were immediately told by some woman that the dogs had to be in their kennels in the building that they could not walk indoors on leash for fear that a child may pull their ears. Okay, do you really think I would allow a child to do that? So we basically took off in the opposite direction and entered the building a few doors down so she could not see us. We were then immediately greeted with "your dogs will probably have to be inside the kennels while inside the building". Probably? We said ok and continued on our way. At the check-in counter, we got our paperwork taken care of and paid $150 one-way for each dog and another $100 each to ship the dolly/soft crate combo. Such a rip off! I also learned that Delta assumes you put the 2 required bowls in the crate. Number 1, I definitely do not want my dog fed. Number 2, I do not want water put into a bowl so that later it can be spilt on him and his bedding. Plus the bowls take up space. So I had the bowls in my bag just in case, but never had to get them out. Finally a large woman came by and demanded that the dogs be put in their kennels. We finally relented. The kennels were taken to an inspection area where the dogs were taken out of the crates while the crates were inspected for explosives and so on. We then loaded them back up, Travis' crate was duck taped for extra security, and a Skycap came to get them. We tipped him $20 each and told him to take good care of our dogs.

Animals are suppose to be loaded last. We chose our seats because they gave us a perfect view of the dogs being loaded. Sure enough, as soon as I got to my seat, I could see both crates, and saw each one being loaded. So we were satisfied that each was on the plane. A short time later, a flight attendant brought us our conformations that the dogs were on board.

The flight was no full so we were able to spread out, but it seemed to take forever. We arrived safely in Orange County, CA around 11:00 AM. The dogs come out of a raised chute. I let Travis out of his crate so I could put the crate down on the dolly. We were again immediately scolded and warned that we could be ticketed for having dogs out of crates. We thanked her for letting us know and continued doing what were doing. Travis seemed just fine. A little whinny and definitely not tired (is he ever?). We could not check into the Westin until 3:00 PM, so Anna (my CA best friend since age 14/15) and her husband, Mark, picked us up. It took 2 small SUVs to carry us and all of our stuff. We went to Anna's parents' house and let the dogs hang out inside, play in the yard, and Anna's mom provided us with a yummy lunch. Travis went crazy running circles on the typical postage stamp sized CA lawn...... he's definitely not tired.

We checked into the Westin at 3:00. I thought it would be busy, but it was super quick an easy. In fact, the whole trip thus far had been so seamless and simple. The room was big and very nice. At $154 a night, it better be...... way out of my usual Motel 6 price range. The bed was very comfortable and very WHITE. But we were being charged another $75 for a pet cleaning fee, so I let Travis sleep on the bed. The bathroom was nice and the shower had 2 shower heads. I'd never seen that before.