Canine Companions volunteer leaders from all over the country traveled to Texas for the 2017 TEAM Volunteer Leadership Conference and so did Foley and his puppy raiser. This was Foley’s first big trip and what an adventure it was!
The trip started early in the morning when Foley and his pals jumped in the Chrysler Pacifica and headed to the airport. Once at the airport, Foley was introduced to an environment he’d never been exposed to before. But it didn’t faze him! After dropping off the Pacifica at long term parking, Foley rode his first shuttle bus. Surrounded by luggage and other passenger’s feet, Foley settled in and took a nap. At the airport, Foley and his puppy raiser navigated the sidewalk, past luggage, cars and people to offer Foley his final opportunity to “hurry” before heading into the airport. After he checked that off the list, it was on to the security check point. Foley waited patiently while his puppy raiser loaded laptops and shoes onto the conveyor belt. When it came time, he walked through the metal detector, and because he is a dog, the TSA agents had to pat him down. Foley thought this was great! He loved the opportunity to sneak a lick to the agent, who also snuck a pet for Foley. Once cleared through security, Foley made the long trek to the gate. Along the way, many people asked to pet Foley and asked many questions about what Foley would be doing in the future. So far, Foley thought traveling was great!
When Foley arrived at the gate, his puppy raiser had him do an “under” so he was out of the way while they waited to board. They waited and waited and waited. The flight was delayed but Foley just rested quietly and enjoyed the pats and reassurance he received from his puppy raiser. Finally, it was time to board the flight! This was another new experience for Foley. He walked like a pro down the ramp and onto the airplane. He was greeted pleasantly by the flight attendant, who seemed excited to have such a handsome pup on board. Foley followed his puppy raiser down the narrow aisle of the plane to their seat at which point Foley was asked to do another “under.” This time the space was a little tighter, but Foley made the most of it and curled right up and settled in. Unfortunately the waiting happened again. They waited and waited and waited. The flight attendant stopped by a number of times to check in on Foley, who was doing just fine. When it was finally time for takeoff, Foley lifted his head to check in with his puppy raiser who reassured him that all would be fine and offered him a piece of kibble to reward his wonderful behavior. The flight continued uneventfully, and they touched down safe and sound. A celebration was in order, Foley had successfully taken his first flight!
They departed the airplane and headed to find a “hurry” spot. Then off to another shuttle to pick up the rental car. Much to their surprise, it was another Chrysler Pacifica. Foley jumped right in and immediately felt at home. Next stop, the hotel. Foley had never stayed in a hotel before, another first for Foley! Once in their room, he was free to explore the room as he wished. He thought maybe the rules were different in a hotel room and tried out the big bed. He was gently reminded by his puppy raiser that the rules still existed and that he wouldn’t be sleeping on the big bed that night.
Over the next few days, Foley practiced “under” and “down” while his puppy raiser listened to the conference presentations. There were so many other dogs at the conference that Foley was tempted to go visit with them. His puppy raiser reminded him it wasn’t the right time and would reward him with a kibble when he was making the right choice. He did have the opportunity to visit with other dogs, including his brother Finnian, which was likely the highlight of his trip.
After a few days of hotel living, long days at the conference and the thick Texas heat, Foley was ready to head home! The return trip looked a lot like the trip there but with no flight delay. Thank goodness, as Foley was ready to be home with his familiar toys and comfy dog bed.
Foley, now a true jet-setter, was a real champ for his first big trip. He was introduced to many new people, environments and situations and he handled them all with ease. Good boy Foley!