The gate attendants in ABQ decided that Sasha was too big for her carrier. I am glad they were concerned about the well-being of an animal being transported, though as callicrates has noted, she had more room ratio-wise than I did in my seat. Anyway, we had to buy (cash-only) an old beaten-up medium-sized hard case and check her as luggage. They promised me that the cabin is separate from the actual luggage and is pressurized.
Anyway, the TSA folks adored her and one of them wouldn't let me put her in the crate until he had petted her. Before the first flight took off they handed me a cute little card informing me that she was onboard. The stewardess added that the baggage guy said Sasha had given him liberal puppy kisses as he loaded her on the plane. A gate agent at the next airport said that I couldn't visit during the layover, but that Sasha was kept in a secured area with climate controls. I wish Sasha could talk so I could ask her.
Just after we'd pushed off from the gate at DEN a trouble light went on in the flight deck, and we ended up being delayed such that I finally got off of the plane in ORD at the time my plane to SYR was supposed to be taking off. Luckily it had been delayed. I checked to make sure Sasha would get to the correct place, then waited as the delay time climbed; apparently the plane from Grand Rapids had also developed problems and was delayed. The flight to SYR after mine was canceled.
[Conspiracy theory: The delays were all actually due to Reagan's flight from DC to Ca; even if his plane was higher than any commercial aircraft can fly, they're so stupid about anti-terror precautions that it wouldn't surprised me if they grounded all flights from airports at various stages in the flight path.]
We finally touched down at 01:00 local time in Syracuse. Sasha was brought out immediately, and was happy and sweet and managed to ensnare the whole flight crew, who asked all kinds of questions about her and in general adored the socks off of her (well, if she had socks). Incidentally another woman on the flight had the same soft-sided carrier as we had, down to the color. Her dog, although an adult, was Sasha's size exactly. He got to ride as under-the-seat luggage. Hmmmph.
I had decided to check my suitcase since lugging it and a puppy around wouldn't have been fun, and Andy had loaded it on the belt when we got there. I brought along a backpack with a day's worth of clothes in case the luggage got lost, but for some reason also put Sasha's puppy pads and food into the suitcase instead of into the backpack. It took nearly an hour after we landed to get the luggage going and mine was one of the last to be loaded. Had I thought to put the pads and food into my backpack we could have just told them to deliver the suitcase and left. As it was, we left the airport at 02:00. Next time I take a puppy anywhere, if I'm ever dumb enough to do so again, the puppy's food and training pads go with the backpack.
It took me a while to get to sleep, and I had to be back up at 08:00 at the latest. Sasha slept in my room with the door closed since Pamela had by no means even remotely puppy-proofed her house. By way of the current stage Sasha is in; Myrtice had to replace her health records because the puppy ate the first set. Sort of puts countless school childrens' excuses in a different light. Mom said when she came in to wake me, Sasha was all the way under the bed except for her little head.
When we got to Rome we took her to visit Uncle Doug and Julie. CJ, their now nearly-two-year-old son, loved her, since she is closer to his size (and, in fact, smaller than him) as opposed to their two full-grown Aussies. Then we took her to meet her new Mom, Mrs Jevens. It was love at first sight for both, though Myrtice has noted before that Sasha has never met a stranger. Mrs Jevens had to go out of town overnight and her next-door-neighbor is watching Sasha, who is now Musette. She warned Mrs Jevens that her husband may not let her return the puppy since Musette is exactly what he loves most in dogs, personality-wise. I swear that puppy has a charisma of 21 on the standard scale of 3-18.
Oh, and boy do I have pictures. I can't get them off of the camera for now, but once I get home I'm sure Andy will want to see them and will offload them quickly, possibly even before I get smooched ;).
I napped while Mom went to work. Then I got up and we went to a dinner sponsored by her work. It was a buffet at Vernon Downs, a local racetrack. As I watched the horses warm up I was confused, since the jockeys were in a cart behind the horse rather than riding. One of mom's co-workers explained that Vernon Downs does a different kind of racing; I forget the term for the one I saw, but he called the type folks like celebra and dreamswept write about "flat races". We left after the third race since we didn't feel like betting.
I had decided to implement a plan code-named "Let's not kill Kimmy". Kimmy is the cousin closest in age (she was born in October of the year I was) and closest overall, and she's severely allergic to just about every external thing possible. Her allergy to cats is so bad that last time she visited, mom and I held her infant son, then passed him back to her, and she went into a severe asthma attack just from Justin's exposure to us.
The plan was to pull clothes directly from the dryer into my suitcase, before the kitties got a chance to sit on them, and then leave the suitcase at Pamela's house since mom has cats. I convinced mom to come back to Syracuse rather than spend the night in Rome, especially since being here cuts the trip to PA short significantly, so I was able to pull off that part of the plan. Also, Pamela and Dave have a cable-modem, so I was able to log on without having to worry about keeping the phone line clear.
Once this post is done I plan to go to bed and hopefully sleep better than I did last night. Tomorrow we go to a restaurant in Pennsylvania and have a mini-reunion with mom's sister and one or more of my cousins, then return to Syracuse. Monday we're having lunch with Grandpa's widow, Mary.
Oh, and Noia hasn't beaten me up yet. Unlike other times this is not for want of trying; she has not even attempted to swat me... yet.