We’ve been in California a little more than a month, with only the possessions that would fit in my car, but it’s time to finish the job. There is still a 10 by 30 foot storage unit filled to the door and ceiling with comics, furniture, a life’s worth of accumulated crap, all waiting for me OR the auctioneer if I stop paying the rent, and one more Minnesota Comic Book Convention to sell at. So I’ve been looking into whether I should take Bob with me on the plane to ride back across the country again in the giant rental truck? I’ll be gone almost 2 weeks, so my new roomies are only slightly more familiar with him than random strangers. I think he wants to come! He can help! He’s a super dog, after all.
I would never put him in cargo, so I had to find an airline that would allow him in the cabin with me. He had to get certified by the vet that he’s disease free and healthy, so we visited our new local vet, the Grove Way Vet just a few blocks from home, near the 7-Eleven and Trader Joe’s. They also gave me a gentle sedative for the flight, and suggested I could give him only half a pill, since he is not typically a hyperactive, nervous, barky dog. I agree. Nice people, and a good place.
In a fit of independence and frugality, I decided we could take the BART train all the way to SFO. No one else was home, and I left with plenty of time to walk about a mile to the Castro Valley BART station. Bob has to be in a soft-sided “kennel” to go UNDER the SEAT on the plane, so I have that strapped over one shoulder. Once we get to the airport, he’ll be in the bag for about 10 hours, so I’m giving him as much freedom as possible before that starts. Then my computer was in a rolling bag over the other shoulder. I had Bob on a leash, and I was pulling my rolling suitcase behind me, first on the pot-hole ridden streets and then on the even bumpier, cracked sidewalks. You do NOT walk a 20 minute mile under those circumstances! My shoulders hurt, it was hot and I was dripping with sweat, and Bob had to stop and pee or sniff at least 10 times. It started to look like an hour and I began to worry that I had about missing the flight. Next time, I’m at least hitch-hiking! At the train station, I had to put him in the bag and carry him, too! On perfectly smooth floors with lots of room, I could perch Bob in his bag on the suitcase if I went slowly and didn’t turn. But any bump or torque would send the bag off its perch, swinging down toward the floor and causing the suitcase to veer off course. We negotiated the escalator up to the track level and began an hour long stretch of quiet time on the train, with a whole bench to our selves. I waited until near the end of the trip to give Bob his pill.
The new BART station at SFO is pretty cool, and there is the Airport “mini-BART” one flight up, so getting from BART to the terminal was fairly painless, but if the crowds were much thicker, it might have been difficult. We checked in at the gate and Bob was a hit with the agent. Once we checked the suitcase, I had to carry him all the time and the gate, of course, was another mile away. Oddly, they don’t want to x-ray dogs, so after partially disrobing, and putting my computer in a tray, I had to hold him as I walked through the body scanner. That must have looked cute, or stupid, for the random people who happened to see it while they were waiting in line behind us.
Years ago, I moved a cat from Minnesota to California on a flight, and there were plenty of empty seats, and she sat next to me the whole time. Not today. We were fairly late in boarding, and when I reached our row, I set the Bob-bag on the empty seat while I began to stuff my computer bag up above. An officious flight attendant came by and barked “Put the dog under the seat.” like I didn’t already know, or like I had time to do it yet. Okay, I get it. So as I write this, Bob is curled up under the seat in front of me, and therefore, my legs are pretty much going straight down, without much room to stretch. If I slip out of my shoes, I can gently squeeze my feet in around the bag, but that’s not so great, either. The pill has done it’s work and Bob has slept quietly for hours. I hope his little bladder can hold it for another few hours!