I’m Flying!

This morning is full of all those little last-minute odds and ends that you have to do before a trip, the ones that you think are OK left until last but turn out taking up the most time to get done.

For me, some of those revolve around Ecko. This morning, I trimmed his toenails, and I’ll be combing him one more time before we leave. Last night, we had a housewide search for his favorite toy so I could take it with me. It turned up under my dresser, and you should have seen his eyes light up when he saw it. He proceeded to play with it for a few minutes, tail wagging with delight, then curl up on his bed with it tucked safely under his belly and fall asleep.

I have a rule in packing for trips. I try to finish the day before I leave, only keeping out the things I absolutely can’t pack until just before leaving. I lock my suitcase before bed, and if I’ve done things right, I don’t have to reopen it to add anything in the morning.

I also figure that, if I get to my destination and don’t have something, I either really didn’t need it or I can go find it and get it if I do wherever I am.

I only take one carry-on, and usually, it has a change of clothes for me, Ecko’s stuff (food, bowl, etc.) and various odds and ends that I don’t want in my checked baggage.

This trip will last almost a week, and between Ecko’s food, blanket, bowl and toy, there’s no room in my bag for anything of mine. So I’ve packed one outfit that I can wad up into a tiny ball without it showing any wrinkles and a pair of socks. That should be fine if I end up somewhere other than my planned endpoint, although I’m not expecting any glitches.

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Traveling with a dog is a lot like traveling with a small child. You have to pay attention. Once, flying in first class, Ecko thought he’d escape from his nasty ordeal and crawled under my seat and popped out in the row behind me. I don’t know what other people think, but I’ve noticed that usually the passengers in first class are there on business, and they have the attitudes to prove it.

So I had my doubts when I leaned over the back of my seat and casually said to the man and woman there, “Excuse me, could you please pass me the dog that just came back there?”

I shouldn’t have worried; the woman ended up treating me to lunch in the airport after the flight and we had a good laugh over it. But these days, I tend to keep my foot firmly on Ecko’s leash at all times and never, ever let him turn around so his head is pointed toward the little crawl space under my seat.

Before the first flight I took with Ecko, I decided to use the ladies room. I knew Ecko was big, but I got a great object lesson in just how big when, no matter what I did, I couldn’t close the bathroom stall door with him in there with me. So, I made his leash longer, put him on a down-stay outside the stall door, closed it, and went about my business.

The woman who walked in to use the bathroom after me must have done a double-take: closed stall door, big black dog lying outside it, no person? You just see the darnedest things when you travel these days!

Even with the extra attention I have to pay to keep Ecko stress-free and behaving well, once we’re up in the air I can relax. I’m on my way, I’ve checked all the appropriate little boxes, gone through all the lines, clicked on the right buttons (at least I think I did!). Eventually, Ecko usually settles down too and sort of sleeps.

But the real rest will come late tonight, after I’ve figured out the best route out to a spot where Ecko can leave his mark in some California grass, I’ve learned my way around the hotel and know how to use the room thermostat, I’ve gotten dinner at some crazy hour, called my husband and my mom (“We’re both fine … a little tired, but fine”, and I stretch out on my “borrowed” bed until morning.

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4 Comments on “I’m Flying!”

  1. ombudsben Says:

    You are in northern California now? If you need any local advice or help, please let me know. Assuming you get an email notifying you of coments, you should have my home email address; we can swap phone numbers.

    I might be able to help with finding a place to run Ecko abit. I know what a difference it makes for the pups.

  2. tobeme Says:

    Quite the trip! Hope you have a good time!

  3. halfnotes Says:

    Ombudsben,

    Well, I got this one a week after the fact. Thanks so much for your generous spirit; Ecko was delighted to run in his own yard when we got home today. He found ways to amuse himself (and us) while we were away, including a quick paddle around my friend’s swimming pool. He must think I take him on plane trips and make him sleep in strange rooms just so he can visit the water holes of the world! Ah, the unencumbered life of a dog!

    Glad to be back in New York, although it’s FREEZING!!! No fair that we had seventy-degree weather yesterday in San Jose. Oh, well, always good for an excuse to return …

  4. halfnotes Says:

    Tobeme,

    It was indeed quite a trip. I’m pretty tired right now. Also, my body never quite got the California time change down. I woke up every day at 3 A.M. and couldn’t go back to sleep for over an hour. Then, I’d fall asleep and end up waking up late, like after eight in the morning! But lots of fun and meaningful experiences that I’ll cherish for a lifetime. I’ll probably be writing about them here soon; just too tired to do the whole trip tonight, and besides, too much happened for one post.


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