Mom and Dad dropped us off. One kennel, one bigass suit case containing our Xmas presents, and three smaller, more reasonably sized suitcases. Did I mention that in addition to Xmas presents, the bigass suitcase also had MANY pairs of shoes that Mom had given me, sandals that she no longer wanted to wear? Fred went to find a cart as HRH and I sat beside the mound of luggage looking forlorn.
A skycap approached. I told him my husband was off looking for a cart but his cart looked better. I called Fred. The deal was made. The skycap directed us to the special needs line where we ended up getting the attendant from hell.
"Hi," I said, walking HRH up to the counter. HRH was looking spiffy. Miss teflon hard ass was having none of it.
"Is that your kennel?" she asked. She nodded over to the kennel we have flown with for three times and never had anyone question us about.
"Yes." I'm thinking, "Do you see anyone else here with a dog? I don't." But I don't let any of that show on my face.
"It looks big."
"It's the proper size for a Labrador dog. We've flown before and not had a problem with it. In fact, they considered it an assistive device since she is a guide dog in training." That popped her head up and got me an immediate scoffing laugh and partial eye roll.
Great. She's a hater.
"It's too big. Hey Bob! Look at this. Can you measure this for me?" What happens next is a back and forth between Hatezilla and Bob about what the dimensions of the crate are and what the actual TSA limits are:
"33 by 23 by ... whatever... that's 72. The limit is 75. They are ok. "
"I don't think that is the limit. Did you do the front measurement right?"
Remeasures. Same result. "73, 72. They are good."
Hatezilla calls in for reinforcements. Nope. Limit is 68. Hatezilla looks at us. " That will be $100."
Fred says we can take it apart and clamshell it and make it smaller. Bob says, "OK. You really don't want to send it down there and then have it rejected."
I say "It's flown three times and no one has cared!" No one is listening to me.
Fred starts to take it apart. Problem. The screws that hold it together, aren't long enough now to hold the two pieces together. I start to feel all my clothing become two sizes too small as all the people in line behind us stare at our backs. My breathing gets a little rapid. "What is going to hold these two pieces together?"
"Tape?" Fred says.
"TAPE! Do you have any tape? Because I don't." This in my I am about to melt down right here voice, when all of a sudden, hatezilla says, "here's some tape." NOW she is helpful.
So Fred starts taping and I try to calm down and pull suitcases over for her to check in. "This bag is three pounds over." It's the Xmas bag. I start yanking out shoes, shoes, shoes, and more shoes. I can feel those people in line whispering. I want to turn around and say, I didn't pack all these shoes! I'm not a moron. I don't change shoes every two seconds. They were a gift! But they wouldn't believe me.
We put the crate up on the scale and Hatezilla says, "That tape won't hold. You should tape further down."
In a frenzy I grab the tape and start wrapping tape around the entire freaking crate. The passenger at the next counter has the temerity to lean over and say, "You should tape it around the edge of the two halves," but his wife yanks him quickly back away from me when I glance at him. Really! Is THAT what I should do?
Finished taping, I shove the crate over the edge toward Hatezilla and she hands us our tickets and ID.
"Have a nice flight."
I just walk away. We will never see that crate again. Fred says not to worry about it. People are smiling at us because of HRH. I need to get over this.
Fortunately, the TSA at Sky Harbor are very friendly. The people working the scanning line were super sweet holding everyone back and asking us how we wanted to have HRH go through the machine. She ran through wagging her tail and making everyone smile. I managed a small smile.
Then we met Bruce.
Bruce was the agent on gate A7. When we got to the gate, I went up and said that we had a service dog in training and did they have the bulkhead seats available. Bruce looked and said they were free, touched a key and said, oops, they disappeared. Then he looked at me in total silence.
Ok... Thanks for checking.
I returned to my seat. When we got on the plane the flight attendants completely ignored HRH as well. A complete city of US Airway dog haters....or at least people who don't care one way or another about them. It's just a shock from being treated so nicely to being completely ignored, but, that too I guess, is a good thing. You shouldn't get used to special treatment. And you definitely shouldn't expect it.
HRH curled up in row 15b just fine. In fact, she slept through the whole flight and was a dream. She didn't need the bulkhead. The guy in the seat next to us made my day when he said, "I was hoping I would get to sit in your row." That made up for Bruce and Hatezilla. Plus the little girl in row 14 turned around midflight and told me how pretty HRH was and how she had a black lab named Buster. She smiled at me the rest of the flight.
Here is Fred carting it off the baggage claim.
Here is a close up of my amazing hyper-mad, "tape the whole frigging crate" tape job! Good job, huh?
More of my handiwork. Notice how low down I taped it. Fred's stopped midway. 8-)