This is the last post in a series of posts documenting my travels to Guide Dogs for the Blind, where I received my guide dog Simba.
I know that I didn’t post as much as I normally do when I take a trip. That is for two reasons: the first is that I hate sitting down to write, since I normally do it before bed so I am tired. The second reason why I didn’t write too much this trip is because While it was fun and amazing, it was essentially the same thing every day for two weeks (which I’m not saying is a bad thing, but it makes for boring miniblog entries).
The thing that is most important and newsworthy is that Simba and I graduated on Saturday, June 15 as members of Guide Dogs for the Blind class 765. It was a wonderful ceremony for so many reasons. While there was an amazing sense of accomplishment, and my classmates (and the class puppy raisers) gave incredibly moving speeches, the highlight of the day was meeting in person, and getting to know the Grahams, the family who raised Simba, and made him the sweet, goofy, outstanding guide dog and companion that he is today. (How’s that for a long, probably run-on sentence?) They are fantastic people, and I am so happy that they were able to celebrate the day with Simba and me.
So, the day after graduation, Simba and I left to head home to NC. We left the school at 4:15 for the airport. We had two flights and a layover at Dallas/Fort Worth. The first flight, I was sitting in the bulkhead row, on the far left (next to the window). Unfortunately, the gentleman to my right was pretty unhappy that I had a dog with me, and suggested that I put him in the hold under the airplane, and when I refused, that I put him on the other side of the bulkhead. I politely thanked him for his suggestions, and had Simba curl up at my feet. It was pretty squishy, to the point where I had to take off my shoes to put my feet under Simba. I am happy to say that the entire flight, Simba slept at my feet, and didn’t once move into the gentleman’s space. At DFW, we rode the carts around the airport for a while. The gate kept on changing since the flight was delayed, so I felt like I was chasing my own tail (gate B13, now D17, now D20, etc). Simba really liked the carts, since he constantly wanted to stick his head out the side to see what was going on, and to feel the wind (I was much less than enthusiastic about him doing that). Eventually, when we arrived at the gate, I asked to be taken to a relieving area. When I found it, it was a little four-foot-by-four-foot mulch area, with a fire hydrant smack in the middle. Simba took one look at it, and glanced up at me as if to say, “You must be joking.” Needless to say, he refused to relieve there, and held it until we reached Raleigh.
The second flight actually went really well; I was in the bulkhead row again, but this time on the right of the aisle. Since the flight attendant really loved Simba, he was allowed to sprawl out, right in the aisle. In fact, he spent most of the flight sleeping, with just his head in the first-class area (I made sure he was out of the way of people walking around). About an hour out of Raleigh, he woke up, and was a bit antsy, which was completely understandable since we had been traveling most of the day at that point. He sat up, and walked around my feet (while I held the leash), stretched, and then went back to sleep until we arrived. I am so proud of him, and am confident that he won’t be any problem traveling in the future.
Now that we’ve been home for a day, he has adjusted pretty well. We’ve been out to eat twice now, and both times, he was perfect. I am very happy, and know now more than ever that I made the right choice to get a guide dog. In the near future, I plan to introduce him to the rest of my family (which by the way, my sister loves him), and his new four-legged brothers.
As always reader, thanks for reading this miniblog of my journey. I hope that the next one allows me to write a bit more, and continue to keep you entertained.