Monday, April 14, 2008

Trip to Iowa

This trip was pretty much like all the others in that space was at a real premium.

Here Sanity comes up for some air and then once again vanishes into the tiny, black hole that represents the space where my feet and a carry on bag would normally go.

Here is a patient Sanity waiting for us to finish our dinner and get back to the motel so she can finally have her dinner.

It is a joke, and was fun to do.
Sanity had been complaining that I didn't move anyway near fast enough when we would get back to the motel at night. She wanted her dinner and she wanted it NOW!
No, she really isn't able to use the key card to unlock the door, but I suspect she would sure have given it a good try if only her nose wasn't so long it kept getting in the way of her seeing the key card slot.

This is a pretty good shot of most everyone working on "close order" drill. Close order drill work is one of the best ways I know of to help people clean up their act when it comes to walking. Pity the poor dog who is expected to maintain something approximating heel position when the person they are supposed to be heeling beside can't walk a straight line, much less avoid stepping on them, bumping into them and never, but never maintaining anything that even comes close to a reasonable cadence.

An impromptu demonstration on just what a working or force fetch will get you at one point had Curtis Johnson's Ruby and Sanity out in the middle of the class area doing their fetch of Edgar the obnoxious chicken. We sort of ended up using Edgar because it(he?) was something neither dog had ever seen before and it was important to make a clear distinction between a play retrieve and a working retrieve. Good old Edgar was just the ticket. Sure wish I could find an Edgar to play with.

I love these next two pictures just because dogs and handlers are pretty much airborne in both of them.

Even though Seeker is lagging behind Lauren Whittemore, he is staying with her and not showing any interest in wandering off to check out other things. Besides between the two of them they have 6 legs and only 2 legs are actually touching the floor.

Here is Susan Franck and Lilly doing a very nice figure 8 and again, it actually looks as if they are floating.

Here are a few of the things being said after the Iowa Bedrock Training Method School:

What a great weekend!! I want to thank Margot Woods for the wonderful training school she taught here in Iowa. There was a neat group of people here and it was interesting to hear the different view points in training. I have come away more focused, energized, and renewed in my determination to be a better trainer and make my clients better pet owners. Margot has a unique method of teaching that makes you think about what you are doing. She doesn't "spoon feed" you the info she challenges you to work it out and truly understand why you are doing the things your doing. I hope that she will consider coming back to Iowa some time soon to do this again. I also hope to see you there.

Don't miss a chance to learn from Margot.

Thanks to all that came and made this a great weekend!! And Thanks again Margot and Sanity.

P.S. Edgar says "Hi"

Kathy Evans
IACP #2908
North Liberty Iowa

I enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Margot and make some new friends in the process. Everyone was a joy to work with. I implemented some of the things we learned last night in my group classes. Big thanks to Kathy and Tim for having me and to Margot for making it a fun experience.

Sarah Burger
Dayton, OH

I returned on Monday from the Bedrock Training class in Iowa. What a great experience.
Margot is an outstanding teacher and helped everyone understand the whys behind the lessons. She is also a great advocate of structured training which has a proven history of producing results. She is a wealth of information and a generous instructor.
Kathy, the event host was fantastic as well. We were well taken care of and had an unbelievable facility to use.
If you have an opportunity to take in a Bedrock training class you will not regret the investment (the critters you work with will thank you as well).

Curtis Johnson
Minneapolis MN

I had the opportunity to attend one of Margot Woods Bedrock Basics Training
Seminar last weekend. Some of you should remember Margot from her posts to
this list. She is so knowledgeable about dog behavior and has such wonderful
training methods. If you ever have a chance to attend one of her seminars,
jump at the chance. You will not be disappointed. I'm still trying to digest
everything I learned.

Suzanne Franck

I can't leave this report without saying something about the trip home. Seems the last few trips Sanity and I have done have started out with a reasonable trip going, a great school and then the trip from h*ll on the way home.

At least this time we didn't end up stranded in a strange city far, far from home over night. Instead, this time our flight was several hours late leaving Cedar Rapids. First we waited and waited and waited in the Cedar Rapids airport. Then we were allowed to board the plane. Said plane was PACKED full. Said plane taxied to the end of a runway and waited. And waited. And waited. For an hour and a half we sat on the end of the runway. Finally we were allowed to take off. By this time I had already missed my connecting flight from Chicago to BWI.

Landing at O'Hare the entire airport was in a turmoil and packed. Our little commuter plane had to taxi up to the terminal and we had to deplane using those dreaded steps instead of the easy skyway because there was no room for us to get close enough to the actual terminal.

So I figure, okay we have had to do this more than a few times, no problem. Took Sanity's shoulder pack off her and then left her on a sit/stay. Hanging tightly to the two hand rails I slowly made my way down the ladder/stairs and plopped into the waiting wheelchair, I then called Sanity. Her flying down the stairs gravity assisted, meant she had to be very nimble on her feet to not fall face first into the pavement.

Totally ignoring everyone and everything around her she made a beeline straight to me. I was vaguely aware there was a scream behind me, but was busy putting her shoulder pack back on her and hooking up her leash and so didn't really pay that much attention. Guess I should have, because as it turned out the scream was from the person who was to take us to our departure gate. Believe me, should something like this ever happen again I will insist on a different escort. This fool simply refused to walk like a normal person. She would push for a few yards then turn the wheelchair into Sanity and letting go of the handles would jump back. When we finally made it to the departure gate she all but flipped me out of the wheelchair in her rush to get rid of us and get away. Did I tip her? Not on your life.

After waiting at this first gate for an hour plus, the announcement board starts flashing the departure gate had been changed. Well, there is nothing for it, the chance of my finding another escort in an airport gone mad was slim or none and slim was already on a plane out of town. I did the only thing I could think of to do. I took Sanity's leash off and clipped it to the carry-on and then carrying her bed, pulling the carry-on behind me and with her in heel position we made a very slow and painful, shuffle-step way many gates further down the concourse and to the new gate. Stood in line and got checked in again. Found a seat. Two hours passed.

The announcement sign begins to flash. The flight has been cancelled and we are to go to yet another gate and will be put on a plane there. Get up and repeat the above routine once again. Make it to the new gate and this time I beg for an upgrade thinking the added comfort of a first class seat would be well worth the extra money.

A very kind man who already had a first class ticket offered to trade tickets with me and I just wanted to kiss him. And the the unbelievable happened! I was told that on the United plane we would be flying service dogs weren't allowed in first class! No, I didn't complain or make a fuss then, because it was getting on towards 11 p.m. and we had been in transit for 12 hours already and still had the longest part of the flight still ahead of us. All I could think about at that point was how much I wanted to get home and into my very own bed.

Finally we were allowed to board the plane. As I am trying to get Sanity and myself seated and out of the way along comes the plane's captain. Silly me. I think he is going to say something nice about our being on board, or sorry about the long delays or something else nice. Instead he begins to quiz me. Why do I have the dog? What does the dog do? How much barking is the dog going to do during take off and landing? How many times is the dog going to have to get up and use the aisle to exercise?

I tried to answer all his questions as politely and you had better believe as briefly as I possibly could. Then the, to me at least, unbelievable happens. This hostile captain leans down and proceeds to poke Sanity three different times in three different locations. No warning. No request to touch her before the first poke. Nothing. Just poke! Poke! Poke! He then straightens up and informs me I will have to tell all the people around me that I have a dog at my feet.

That was the last straw and I said, "Why on earth would I do something like that? This dog already has thousands of air miles on her and has been traveling by air for more than a year. In all the years I have traveled with a service dog I have never had to do something so foolish. The point here is that the dog gets on the plane and vanishes, not to be seen nor heard from until we get off the plane at our destination."

He just gave me a dirty look, a grunt and stalked off.

We took off, flew, landed and waited our turn to get off the plane. There was a wheelchair waiting, but no one to man it. So one of the attendants was sweet enough to get us to the baggage area. At that point an escort was located, I got my luggage and it was off to find my ground transportation. At this point it was 1 a.m. We have been in transit for about 14 hours. I was praying I would get one of the good drivers. But that was not to be.

First the driver insists I am not to get in the van with a dog. Then she, yes I said she, isn't able to put my suitcase in the back by herself. Next she decides she is going to take on a second fare. Finally we leave the airport and thank goodness she takes me home first. I have to give her directions because she doesn't have a clue as to where she is going and then drives passed the driveway. I complained. She backed up and then drove passed the driveway again. She backed up a second time and when I realized she was about to drive passed the driveway yet a third time I sort of lost it and started yelling at her to turn.

"I can't turn in there", she tells me. "That's a park and I can't leave you in a park at this time of night."

"I don't care what you think it is, just turn in that driveway, stop and let us out", again I am all put screaming. So she turns in. A second van pulls up right behind us. Seems she wasn't supposed to have picked me up and she also wasn't supposed to have picked up the other fare. The two drivers plus dispatch get into this big argument. All I want to do is pay my fare and go in the house and to bed.

By the time I finally got her paid, the other passenger was transferred to the other van, my stuff was unloaded and Sanity and I got through the gates and started up the ramp to the house it was 2:30 a.m.

Thus ended another adventure. I realize other people just go on uninteresting trips. Seems I all most always manage to have my trips turn into an adventure.

Gee, I wonder why both Sanity and I were so tired?

1 comment:

  1. Bedrock looks great, next time you are anywhere in the SE I will be there.

    And then your trip home: Margot you showed remarkable patience in the face of idiots. I would have lost it at the first class refusal. That airline would be getting a letter from me cc:'d to my lawyer.

    Cynthia M