Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bless Has a 'Mini-Me' - Custom Original Sock Dog

My Custom Bless Original Sock Dog
How many lucky dogs have their own mini-me?  Well our Bless does!  A while ago, I was reading through my News stream on Facebook, and noticed the photos of some of the most amazing personalized works of art called, "Original Sock Dogs", which are lovingly designed and hand-crafted by Stacey Hsu. Just look at the attention to detail. Amazing!  I messaged Stacey in April, and she delivered my Bless Sock Dog to me in mid-May.  She takes the time to make sure that your dog is exactly what you want. She also has "Original Sock Dogs" that you can purchase/adopt. Even more, for every dog you purchase, 10% will be donated to the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, a no-kill shelter. You can read Stacey's story here:  http://www.sockdogs.com/our-story.html

Thank you, Stacey! We love our Bless Sock Dog and have a very special place to display her. I might mention that Bless would like to have her as a toy! ;-)
Bless' Mini-me Looks Just Like Her!

Even Has Her Name Tag
Captures Bless' Spirit
Has all of Her Special Markings
So Sweet! You just have to have one. :-)
Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Visit to Spain, Spring 2012: Day Nine - Last Trip to Scooby Medina del Campo (on this visit) & Journey Back to the USA with Benji and Rayo

Rayo and Benji - Ready to Travel to the Big Apple, New York City
On Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday, we went to bed at 7:00 p.m. and our alarm was set for 2:30 a.m.  Had a nice rest, and then the pre-Easter fireworks began. Luckily, they didn't last long and we could still drift off to sleep in spite of the hoopla. We only wished we could have been out celebrating with the Medina del Campo folks and our UK Scoobettes, but rest was our priority. It would be a long day tomorrow, traveling to the USA and bringing back Benji and Rayo.

Alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. on Easter Sunday. We were ready to go by 3 a.m. Checked out of the hotel and headed out to pick up the dogs for their journey to their new homes in the USA.  Drove to Scooby HQ, unlocked the gate, had leashes ready and retrieved Benji and Rayo. Of course, we roused the chorus of other Scooby dogs, and felt bad that we had disturbed their sleep. We put coats on both of them so they would stay warm. Grabbed the frozen water dishes, locked the gate and off we went.  Rayo rode peacefully in the back of the van with the dog carriers and Benji rode in the back seat.  Benji was very excited and inquisitive and made several attempts to be the driver and/or passenger in the front seat along the way. ;-)  
Scooby Lovebugs Arrive at Madrid Airport
Beware Regarding Returning Rental Cars at the Madrid Airport
Thank God we decided to leave so early! The drive to Madrid was a breeze, but once we got to the airport, it was *so extremely* confusing. We burned up an extra 90 minutes with this drama... Thankfully, our Delta flight did not leave until 10:30 a.m.

[gripe warning]
We knew that we needed to get to A1-A4 Terminals, but the airport is so spread out and the signage is not so good, so we ended up getting lost and then finding our way, but still circling the airport terminals several times.  Our dilemma was that we could not find the entrance to the Avis rental car lot to return the car. We stopped three times and got three different sets of directions for returning the car.  

Needless to say, this was the biggest calamity of our trip.  We were so frustrated, and the dogs so wanted out of the van. It was intense for all... Finally, we drove into the short-term parking lot next to the Avis parking lot. Stopped on the other side of the small barrier posts that separated one lot from the other, ran to the booth and asked once more for help. There was another customer in the Avis booth trying to figure this out. He was from Australia and was even more frustrated than we were.  We asked if the agent could just ride one minute with us to help us find our way (answer was, "No!"), or if we could just leave the van where it was so that we could take the dogs and get checked in. Two stories: the rep in the booth said it would be 17E to leave the car, the rep in the terminal said it would be 26E.  Huh? 

We were so extremely frustrated, tired and at wits end, so decided to leave the van there for their retrieval with the rep at the booth.  Outcome on our bill one month later. OUCH! -- All said and done, they charged us for "damages" of $197 USD, which is not only outrageous, but which I am also disputing. Very unsatisfactory customer support when you call with an issue.  Friends, I will be not be booking with Avis in the future, unless there is a dire reason to do so. If they resolve this issue in a satisfactory way, I shall let you know. Otherwise, they are on my "do not use" list. Biggest lessons learned: 1) Make sure that you get really good directions for returning your rental car at the Madrid airport. 2) Take photos of the vehicle when you get it and return it so that you have proof that there are no damages. The van we had was brand new, and we had no damages, so why the extra charges? We shall see...
[gripe over]

Sorry for the rant - but it was extremely disconcerting because our entire trip was such a delight otherwise! Now back to the story... :-)
Darrell with Rayo and Benji at the Madrid Airport
We brought the dogs, carriers and bags into the airport and checked in. Had about an hour to walk the dogs around. Let them relieve themselves outside and relax a bit. Many people stopped by to pet them and asked about them.  Folks were excited to know that they were traveling to their homes in the USA.  The Delta reps were awesome!  They gave us extra special attention and took us to the front of all of the lines to make sure that we had time to put the carriers together, load up the dogs and then get to our gate on time.  We made it to our gate just as they began boarding.  We had middle aisle seats, but had paid for extra leg room, so it was a good trip to NYC. Another nice touch -- they now give you a boarding confirmation that your pets are on board the plane. We could rest now that the babies were on board and safe. 
Angels On Their Way to the USA
Once we arrived in NYC, we went through Immigration, retrieved our bags, and then waited for the dogs to go through Customs. They brought each dog separately, and both traveled like the rock stars that Scooby dogs are -- calmly and patiently.  We contacted Barbara, once we landed, to let she and Debra (adoption parents) know which terminal and gate we would be arriving at.  We paraded the dogs through Customs, and then out through the gate. We met Barbara and her husband, and Debra and her friend to hand off the dogs. Only had a few minutes to get to our next flight to SFO. Took a couple of photos, gave hugs, kisses to Benji and Rayo and then off we went.  
Barbara and Her Husband Take Benji for Placement in his New Home - Thank you!

Debra Meets Rayo and He Goes to His Forever Home - Thank you!
Busy weekend for travel -- Spring Break for many. We rechecked our bags and then went through security and then to our gate. Had enough time to get a slice of New York pizza - yummy!  Boarded the plane and relaxed. Sat next to a nice young man who was a college student and Internet entrepreneur. Had a nice discussion about Trance and Techno music, which I love. Fell asleep from NYC to SFO with a big smile on my face, knowing that we had brought yet two more Scooby dogs to loving homes.;-) 

Sorry for my much delayed posting.  But I think that I've procrastanated because I don't want it to end... ever... 

Darrell and I plan to return to Scooby next year to do more work and bring back more dogs.  

You see, it's obvious...
we have Scooby Fever, for which there is no cure, except to return again and again to experience the animals, the place, the people, the everything...  I miss it already and cannot wait to return! 

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog! More to follow. Bless sends her blessings.
Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!
Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food?  Please let me know.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to Bless!

We Interrupt this Blog to Wish Bless a Very Happy 5th Birthday! 

We don't actually know Bless' birthday or age, but we are celebrating on her one-year anniversary of coming to her forever home in California from Spain. We love you *so* much Blessings! :-) Here's a short version of her story.