Taking our granddog, Kodiak, to the airport for his flight home to Puerto Rico, was such an experience, it still has us laughing!
We were able to get to the airport, in spite of a snowstorm that left alot of our area businesses closed for the day. The airport is about 2 1/2 hours from our home, so we left in plenty of time. 6:30 am, for a 12:30 p.m flight. It was still dark out, and very cold. Kodi was visibly nervous as we got into the van, but he calmed down and slept on one of the back seats. Big white dog...with a scared puppy face!
We were able to travel at the high speed of 35 mph, and actually got to the airport in plenty of time for Scott and Kodiak to fly out, but due to the extreme measures it takes to fly a german shephard out of the states, Scott had to spend a large amount of time at the counter getting a new flight that would allow them both to go.
Kodiak weighed in at 95 pounds, crate and all. We had found an airline approved crate for him last summer, thinking eventually Kodi would fly home. Scott was really missing him, and when Kodi first saw Scott when he flew in for Christmas, he kept "talking" his shephard howl, and couldn't get enough of his time with Scott.
Ah, I am gonna miss that dog.
So, at the airport, Kodiak was slipping and sliding on the slick tile floors, totally out of his element. Big dog, timid as a mouse. Every now and then a tiny lap dog would peek it's head out of a posh carryon, causing Kodi to bark in hysterics, wanting to play. I think the other dog's owners thought he wanted to eat their tiny treasures, but not Kodi. He is a big dog with a gentle heart.
At last we were ready to place Kodiak in the hands of a seasoned professional. Andrew appeared out of nowhere, calling Kodi "cute" and rubbing his back. As soon as Kodi would turn his head to face Andrew, he would draw his hand back and take at least two steps further from Kodiak, obviously overwhelmed by his size.
Incidentally, Kodiak was 10 pounds over the limit, but they agreed to let that go. For a time, we figured Kodi may be living with us an additional 2 1/2 years of Scott's time in Puerto Rico, so we kept our fingers crossed. Big dog, living in a little house with 2 other dogs, 4 cats, 7 kids and a bunny. He had to go home.
Andrew tried to set our minds at ease. He obviously wanted us to feel comfortable in his ability to care for Kodi, although the entire time Andrew would have Kodi would be while he was caged. Anyhow, Andrew told us he had raised many breeds for over 30 years, his favorite being his breeding of a shephard and a "doverman" dog. Interesting combo....and Andrew also prided himself in his ability to know exactly what a dog likes.
The conversation went something like this:
Andrew..."I love dogs. I breed dogs and raised many breeds for over 30 years."
us..."Oh, that's nice."
Andrew..."I made them a new years easter bread. It has flour and real orange peels."
us..."Wow, and the dogs like that, huh?"
Andrew..."I know dogs. You know that bread? It has real orange peel. Made it myself."
The entire time I couldn't get the Dustin Hoffman "Rainman" out of my mind. Very similar!! But he took his job seriously, and was determined to get Kodiak safely stowed in the belly of the plane.
As he gave Kodi a last tickle and a "cootchy cooo", we placed him in the crate, and waved goodbye.
"See you in Puerto Rico, Kodiak" and away he went.
Scott called later to let us know they made all their connecting flights, and were safely landed in PR. Kodiak seemed no worse for the wear, and is now adjusting to a life in 80 degree weather in January. Poor dog.
It is obvious that our home is lacking a big dog. I will miss him. But I am so glad he is back with his owner, who missed him so very much the last 6 months.
But mostly, I miss Scotty, my oldest son. He maintains a high standard of excellence in everything he does in the Coast Guard, and he continues to make us proud. It was wonderful having him under our roof, and I am grateful he left his wife and kids here for another week so we can get more loving in on those grand babies. It is always sad to see him go, not ever sure when we will see him again.
But thanks to Kodiak, we laughed until the end, and we know that our family ties will keep us together even when we are apart.
We will miss you Kodiak. And of course, Scotty.