Well, we arrived at our B&B about two hours ago, and are both absolutely exhausted! Even on the best of days, air travel is exhausting for many people… we are both wiped, feel disgusting, and really just wanted the opportunity to sprawl as much as possible.
In preparation for this trip, we purchased MuttMuffs for Jenny, as the past couple of trips she has not been a great traveler. We won a contest that provided us with two Roam Mobility Sim cards so that we can call and be reached while we are here, and we made sure we had talk, text and data plans at the ready so that we can keep in touch with friends and family. And exchanging money? Yeeeeesh! I have never in my life had to fold money before; Canadian money includes Loonies ($1 coins) and toonies ($2 coins), and the new $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills are made of a plastic-feeling material that includes braille symbols that can help someone who is visually impaired identify their money immediately (even our previous currency had these markings). Here, the money is paper, with no markings, and the smell gives me a contact high (is it the ink?) Thankfully, I have folded my bills into cool different shapes which thankfully were not held up at the airport…
I have mixed feelings about traveling in airports with my guide dog, but thankfully Jenny has matured sufficiently in the past six months, and handled security with the professionalism she possesses. Our first flight, to Denver, was a bit of a gong show; we sat very close to the front of the plane, and Jenny was very very cold. Even though I used her jacket as a blanket, it was still too cold, too confined or too loud for her on the plane, and she nearly vibrated the whole flight.
Once getting to Denver, we had a bit of a problem. Jenny was giving me all the signals that she needed to go outside, but the animal relief area was both outside security and at the far end of another terminal, and we only had less than 1.5 hours to get to our next flight (cane users thankfully don’t ever have to deal with this…). I tried to improvise a “pee-pad” in a bathroom, and she wouldn’t go… she turned around in circles and just sat down; I could see the wheels turning in her head, thinking “Well, this is a very very bad idea…” This ultimately resulted in a dog that desperately had to relieve, no where to do it, and a hope and a prayer – or several – that the 3.5-hour flight ahead would be as uneventful at the end as it was at the beginning.
But I didn’t need to worry; the plane departed and landed on time… and without incident. There were several extra seats, so we did a little bit of musical seats amongst our row, which enabled Jenny to have the space in front of two seats – mine and the one in the middle! I know some people who wouldn’t accept this, but why cut off my nose to spite my face? And anyone who is not sure their dog will benefit from MuttMuffs – they have earned their keep FOR SURE! Jenny used to always sit up and squirm during takeoff and landing… today, NOTHING!
We landed at Newark, and Jenny was pulling SO hard on the harness – a typical “take me out now!” sign. Thankfully, there was an exit door right by the baggage carousel where we found a great patch of grass for her to happily answer nature’s call. As soon as that was done, she was a very very very calm dog, taking me back to my husband, who unfortunately ripped an unimportant zipper on our duffel bag when carrying it off the carousel.
Then… the organized chaos of the Passenger Pickup area of Newark Airport. It was honestly crazy… there were attendants constantly yelling “If you’re not dropping off or picking up, get out of the way!” and I could tell that this had been said multiple times every day. We chatted up one of the attendants, and he said that he uttered that phrase “all day, everyday.” Our hired car picked us up and got us to our B&B, talking about driving in the city, his homeland (India), asking questions about Canada. My favorite line – just based on his tone – was “I don’t like the south of India… it is WAY too hot! (emphatically) I am from the north! (quickly)” I doubt I can adequately convey the humor of it, but it was just so priceless! In the 30 minutes in his car, I heard more horn-honking than I do in a month back home.
Upon arrival at our B&B, we were met by the innkeepers, Kipp and Margo. Once we got inside and started to settle, the first thing they asked was if they could say hi to Jenny. Normally I wouldn’t, be OK with this, but Jenny had been in work mode for 12 hours straight, including air travel, so I took off her harness and let her go. She ran up the stairs and played “Doggie for Mayor”, promptly endearing herself.
Since then, we’ve ordered and eaten New York-style pizza – unfortunately the delivery driver didn’t want to accept our groupon, but did in the end – watched cheesy game shows, and unpacked our suitcase. Jenny is now fast asleep on her blanket on the floor beside my bed, and we will live to face our first full day in New York City!