June 8th, 2012

We (the puppies and I) rose in the wee hours this morning in order to get Kicker (Addy x Steele) and Chili (Mia x Ike) ready and leave by 3:00 AM to arrive at Green Bay, WI’s airport in time to have a potty break and check-in by 5:15 AM—in time to make their flights to their new homes. Kicker will get to live and hunt in Missouri and Chili in California where she gets to live and hunt with Foxy (Addison x Steele) that flew out a few weeks earlier.

All went smoothly—Kicker and Chili already had their bath and nails trimmed before bed, the crates had been assembled, lined with newspapers and a blanket, food dishes attached, and in the truck, all the paperwork completed, health certificates obtained. Backup supplies are always stored in the truck such as some towels, water, shampoo (in case of a mess), etc. The truck fueled up and ready to roll. All I needed to do was get myself ready, myself fueled (with a few cups of strong coffee),  remember the water cups for the crates from the freezer, check the weather and temperatures at all of the points the pups would be on the ground during their trip, get the pups into the truck and get out the door. Which doesn’t sound like it would be that difficult, but it isn’t easy getting just two of eleven eager and curious Llewellin Setter puppies out the door in the middle of the night. All of the pups wanted to come along. Not this time, darling little alligators.

We made great time. There was no fog, very little traffic at this time of day, no deer, and good weather. Kicker and Chili were perfect little angels the entire drive. They still had sleep to catch up on, after all! They ride upfront with me in a crate I can situate pointing forward from the back to front seat. They can see me and are facing forward and I rarely have a pup get car sick this way. There is an area at the airport I am able to get pups out and allow them to “go” and stretch a bit before transferring them to their flight crates (I use a different crate for the ride just in case a pup would get car sick. That way the flight crate stays clean and dry), then into the terminal I go trying to carry two crates, all the paperwork, puppy food bags, etc. I’m sure it’s a comical sight and even more so on this day with the nagging back problem that won’t go away.

I never know how I will be greeted when arriving at the ticket counter. Today, I was greeted with kindness and it made the experience delightful. Up until about two  months ago I had not been greeted kindly at all and finally had my fill of the airline personnel being rude, unprofessional, and changing their policies on me whenever they felt like it. After seven months of being treated like I was the last person they wanted to see when I walked through that door to fly puppies, I finally made a few calls about the situation. I am a customer. I am a good customer. I arrive in plenty of time with all of their required paperwork  completed ahead of time. I do not have to have their paperwork done before I arrive–after all it is their job–but, I want to help with the process as much as possible. My puppies are crate trained already. They are quiet, clean, and happy and cause no problems what-so-ever. I always have everything in order and still, every time I would arrive to fly puppies, eyes would roll, the personnel were grumbly, grouchy, and very unfriendly. One time they would tell me I was too early and would make the puppies and I wait. The next time they would complain I was rushing them and should have given them more time. The next time I went earlier and after checking the pup in, they asked me to take the pup with me and find something to do for an hour, then bring the pup back. I was given a different story every time. I arrived just short of 90 minutes once and they told me I was too late after the very day before they told me 60 minutes was plenty of time!!! I looked it up on the website and it states 60 minutes before a scheduled flight. I was livid over that incident. They weren’t just rude to me, either. Every person working at that particular airline counter was rude to all customers. They acted like they hated their jobs and dreaded every traveler. I finally had enough of it and made a few phone calls. Sorry, but it just isn’t right to be continually treated that way. We are the customer! They wouldn’t have jobs without customers, right? If I had a choice, I would not have given them my business. But, the only other choice (another airline) I do have for flying puppies at this location would cost puppy customers approximately $100-$150 more.

Well, I guess it did some good because the last two times I have taken puppies, there is a whole new attitude from them. The complaint I filed seemed to work because now I am greeted with friendlier attitudes and they actually introduce themselves by name. It makes the entire experience much more pleasant. I hope it continues.

 

Chili all checked in at the airport
Chili all checked in at the airport

 

Kicker all checked in at the airport
Kicker all checked in at the airport

We got all checked in. Off Kicker and Chili went to board their flights. They were so good and didn’t make a sound except for the squeaking of their new toys.

Lovely morning
Lovely morning

I was off to text the awaiting families with the flight info and tracking numbers, then to make the return trip. It was a beautiful drive. I got to see peaks of the sun rising along Lake Michigan’s Green Bay. The sky was beautiful and I enjoyed watching the North woods come alive in the early morning hours and if it hadn’t have been for the insanely painful back and leg pain I was enduring, it would have been a perfect morning. I seriously considered pulling over somewhere to take a nap in the back of the truck on the cot.

But, my pack was eagerly waiting my return and ready to start the morning fun runs. I was ready to go back to bed with an ice pack! But, that’s my fault for not getting to bed earlier in the first place. Sleep would have to wait. All the dogs that wanted got to take a dip in the freshly-filled baby pool and have their morning run and breakfast biscuit. The puppy pack had their breakfast while I cleaned up the mess they had made while I was away… but, that’s my fault for leaving the giant box the crate came in with some newspapers sitting there. Even though that box was on top of the puppy food-can and out of their reach (or so I thought), it sure looked like they had a total blast turning every bit of it to shreds. ::sigh:: my fault. not theirs. I shouldn’t have left the box there.

In the meantime, I keep checking on Kicker and Chili’s flight progress via the computer. All went smoothly. No delays. No cancellations. Kicker and Chili made it to their new homes. Hooray!!

I didn’t get much else accomplished. It got way too warm for me way too quickly. I gave up on the massive projects I have going on everywhere—house (where I am in the middle of tearing out all of the carpeting, painting, etc.), barn (electrical and someday water project going on there), sheds (who left all this crap in the sheds anyway?), and garage (that I am trying to turn into puppy-whelping and rearing areas, along with kennels for some of the gals (especially the ones in heat), etc. It was too warm for me and I was too tired. I worked on a Website project I need to wrap up this weekend. I struggled to keep my eyes open, but did make progress. Then, it was finally time to give the pack their dinner, let them all out again, clean the kennels, etc. It actually rained a bit just as I was finishing up around 10 PM.

Good Night
Good Night

It was a good day. Although way too warm for my liking, everything went well. All the dogs are happy and well. Kicker and Chili are in the loving arms of their new families. All is good.

Hug your Llewellin tonight.

Hug your favorite humans tonight, too.

Because you can and you never know when you might not be able to.

And a hug makes most things better.

🙂

-LML

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