Saturday, November 17, 2007

Playing Catch up II

On the road again,

We got back from Bedford and less than three weeks later headed back out again. This time to Soddy-Daisy, TN. Sanity and I are getting pretty good about this travel stuff. So good, in fact, that the standard travel stuff just stays in the suitcase ready and waiting for the next trip. So good that the "best chair" doesn't even get shipped back here. Instead it just goes on to the next stop on the list all by itself.

Our trip from BWI to Chattanooga was not anything to remember. Just another trip, so to speak. The time spent in Soddy-Daisy, which is a suburb of Chattanooga was wonderful. Amy was a true super southern hostess with the mostest. Her small, but very adequate training building was just right and all the students worked their b*tts off.

Here's a dog who "gets it" and is liking what is happening.

A partial view of some of the students being bored by the lecture portion of the morning's lesson.

Lecture over, they get to try out what they just learned.

For some dogs and handlers, trying to figure out the what, where, how of the "place" command takes a bit of work. When it finally comes together, the success is just that much sweeter.

Can you say "fast". In this case, the blur gives you some idea of the speed.

OK, so it was a tad bit warm. I think someone said it was about 97 when this picture was taken. But hey, we had good shade and a nice breeze. Besides which, by now you all must know how much I love summer and hate cold, wet, winter. Certainly you didn't expect me to say it was hot, did you?

And then it was over and Sanity and I were headed home. After experiencing the wonderful hospitality of Amy, her neighbors, the restaurant owners and a host of others, the shock of Memphis was truly hard to take.

I don't have enough ways to say hostile environment. I don't have enough ways to say rude, cruel people. I don't have enough ways to say I really wasn't at all prepared for what happened when we deplaned in Memphis, TN.

Here is some of what I wrote about the experience:

"...Margot just got home at a little after 5 p.m. this evening. Yes, that's right. I left Amy at the airport in Chattanooga at 3 p.m. yesterday to catch a plane to Memphis and then on to Baltimore. Didn't get out of Memphis until after 9 a.m. this morning and then "they" sent me to Detroit, tried to leave me stranded in Detroit and I finally managed to get on a plane to Baltimore at about 2 p.m. Talked about busted, Sanity and I are both more than just a little bit tired."

And I wrote:

"...The one thing on this last trip that I flat refused to do was to remove collar and leash and send her through the metal detector by herself. BECAUSE there was one of those nasty GSD security dogs only about 30 feet away and it was barking and lunging in her direction and the damn fool of a handler was just standing there letting it happen with a stupid grin on his fat face. Head of TSA was called to make me comply and I still refused on the grounds it wasn't necessary since she was perfectly able to stand for wanding and I had no intentions of risking her safety when I had no way of knowing what the other handler was planning on doing. I don't have words strong enough to express how much I have come to hate and loath those officious bullies."

What happened was that once we arrived in Memphis we were rather unceremoniously dumped on a bench off to the side, along with one blind woman and two others with mobility issues and then left there until all of us had been forced to miss our planes. When we finally showed up at the complaint desk those behind the desk tried to say it was our fault we missed our planes.

When it was my turn to step up to the desk and talk to the Northwestern agent, she tried to insist I would just have to wait until the next day to catch a plane. Not only that, but as far as she was concerned I could do my waiting right there in the airport. I was pissed, to say the least. Ask her just where she would suggest I take my service dog to relive herself or was I supposed to tell her to relieve herself right there in front of the desk?

After something of an "uproar" from not just me, but all the people in line behind me, they finally gave us tickets for an overnight stay in a Holiday Inn, dinner and breakfast, plus transportation to and from the motel. There were so many people in the same boat that the motel van only had one seat left by the time Sanity and I got there. This meant standing around for yet another 15 minutes. Yes, that's right. It took 15 minutes of standing around before it finally occurred to the people already in the van that I couldn't get on with Sanity and the two of us fit in the very far left hand seat of the last row. DUH! So finally a couple of people moved and this left us with the first seat for me and the door well for her. No kidding! She actually had to sort of sit/stand/squat in the door well because there was on other place for her. Thank goodness we have been practicing the "fit in tight places" stuff since she was a puppy.

Of course, we also were faced with having to go through the security check point from H*ell not once but twice. The second time around was even worse than the first time.

Would I be willing to go back to Soddy-Daisy if I am invited? Of course. Will I ever fly Northwestern again? Not on your life will I give them a penny of my money ever again. They really were at the bottom of the Memphis mess. Course I would be looking for another way to get to Soddy-Daisy all together. The Memphis airport is the pits for people traveling with a service dog or anyone in need of any sort of assistance. Shame on you, Memphis Airport. Shame on you.

Next on the catch up list is Florida. A trip that came only a two very short weeks after Tennessee.

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