Friday, June 3, 2011

5/2/11, Leaving Scooby - Bless and Me - Our Journey Home to California

Bless' Last Day at Scooby
Traveling to Her Forever Home in California

5/2/11:  Bless' Journey Home to CA

When the alarm rang, Diane and I crawled out of our bunks and got ready for the trip. Gathered up my belongings. Grabbed Bless' water bowls out of the freezer for the trip. Put her carrier into the back of the van. Bless sat in the back seat, and we headed out. Diane is an angel for getting up so early to take us to the Madrid Airport; especially since she and Lydia have to do the same thing the next day, and they are bringing back three dogs for adoption in the US.

Hasta Luego, Beautiful Madrid!
Will see you again soon.
Rush hour traffic wasn't too bad, getting in that early. We found our way to the Delta departure terminal. I grabbed a cart, loaded it with the crate and bags, took Bless on her leash, gave Diane a farewell and 'thank you' hug, and then we went into the terminal and found the Delta counter.  

Bless was my conversation piece. Almost every traveler, from every nationality in that airport, gave her a look and a smile. She is so beautiful and has such a unique look about her, she attracted a lot of attention.  Many stopped to ask me if I traveled with her often, because she was so calm.  Then I had a chance to tell them her story. They were intrigued, and they smiled when they heard about it. 

Thank you, Delta Airlines and Staff!
You were so good to Bless and to me.

The Delta staff were absolutely fantastic to us. I can't thank them enough!  The kind young lady who checked us in told me that I had 15 minutes to take Bless outside for a walk so that she could relieve herself. Then when I returned, she escorted me to the Security area, and they so kindly and gently put Bless in her carrier, locked it up with wire ties and bungee cords, and let me kiss her before they took her to the gate.  

Had a chance to grab some coffee, and then it was time to board.  Immediately when I boarded, I asked the Attendant if he could check to make sure that my dog was on board. (The Captain can always confirm this, as he/she has a manifesto for all cargo.) He came by twice to let me know that not only was she on board, but the Captain said she was doing just fine. Lucky me and Bless! And even luckier, I got an aisle seat on the left side, and no one sat in the seat next to me. So I could lay down and relax in two seats all the way from Madrid to NY.  Watched a couple of movies. Ate a nice breakfast and lunch, and began to reflect on my adventure.

It was bittersweet to leave Spain. I know that this experience has changed my life, and that I will return to Scooby again soon.

Welcome to America, Bless!
New York City, NY
We arrived early at JFK in New York. Was thankful for the extra time between connections.  Went through Immigration and then waited for my bags, and for Bless to arrive in her carrier so that I could take her through Customs. There was a very nice Steward who had greeted me and offered to take my bags. I explained about waiting for Bless, and he said that they had pets come through the airport all the time. He knew exactly what to do.  We retrieved my bags and put them on his cart, and then went over to the elevator, where Bless came down in her carrier. She did great on that long flight from Madrid. The Steward loaded her up, and off we went. It was well worth having him assist, and giving him a generous tip. We had the VIP treatment. Went to the front of the line and breezed through Customs with our Passports.  Then on to the gate area, where we had to leave the carrier for cargo shipment.  He took us into a special area, not far from where we had arrived, and the TSA Officer who inspected her carrier was great to us.  She let me take Bless out of the carrier and walk her to the restroom, where we refilled her water dishes.  She gave Bless hugs and treated us so well.  Then we put her back into the carrier and locked it up for the next leg of the journey.  Four more hours to San Francisco. 
My Travel Seat Mate's Good Luck Sock Monkey

Hazel, my good luck charm/travel companion

When I boarded the plane, asked the Attendant to confirm that Bless was on board.  He came by before take off to let me know that the Captain said she was on board and doing just fine.  Once again, I was stuck in the middle seat on the left side of the plane. Blah!  There was a nice fellow from Manchester, England, sitting next to me on the right. We struck up a conversation. He was going to visit friends and manage the sound systems for some concerts in smaller clubs in San Francisco.  I told him about my journey to Spain and that Bless was on board.  I also shared about Hazel, my good luck charm. Serendipitously, he also had a travel good luck charm, which was his niece's sock monkey. It was in his backpack, as was my Hazel.  We shared stories and laughed well about it.

My, but I was *so* ready to be off of that plane near the last couple of hours. So uncomfortable!  I could only imagine how Bless must feel in her carrier.

San Francisco
Welcome to the Hotel California, Bless! We live 45 minutes from SFO in San Jose.

Finally, we arrived in San Francisco. I called my husband, Ted (Darrell), to see if he was on the way. Made my way to the luggage claim area. Picked up my bags, and then waited for Bless.  The cargo door opened, and magically, she appeared. She looked great and traveled like the trooper that she is.  After a few minutes, Ted arrived and guided us out to the car.  We loaded up the carrier and Bless slept in the back seat on a blanket.  She was so calm and peaceful, and Ted fell in love with her immediately.  Once we arrived home, it was just early evening, but I was *so* tired. Went to sleep for a few hours. Awoke briefly and then went right back to sleep for the night.  I let Bless sleep in our office the first night so that she could get used to her new home and to give her a chance to adjust to all of the change. So thankful that everything went so smoothly, as #1 priority was to get Bless home safely.

All is well with the world. God is in Heaven. He gave us a safe and uneventful journey home, and Bless is with me in her new home in San Jose, CA. Life is great!

More to come. Thank you for reading my blog!

Please support Scooby! Muchas Gracias.

Hasta Luego!
Bless sends her blessings!

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