“All my bags are packed”
This big boy had the largest bag of all because my bed was stuffed in it ,
“I’m ready to go”
I am going to San Diego,
“I’m leavin” on a jet plane”
Southwest airlines with outstanding flight attendants,
“Don’t know when I’ll be back again”
Judging by the amount of food my puppy raiser packed for me I should be away for six to eight days.
August opened with a very successful Hero Dogs, Inc. 6th Golf Classic and Silent Auction at the Norbeck Country Club in Rockville, Maryland. I had the privilege of meeting Todd Rosenthal who is the Senior Communications Specialist from Bae Systems. He gave me individual attention which of course I loved, and he quizzed me on a few of my skills which produced a smile upon his face. It was especially nice to meet Mr. Todd since Bae Systems is my sponsor. Yup, I am one lucky pup to have so many wonderful humans from Bae Systems care about me, my welfare, and my future… and they read about my adventures!
A few days before leaving on that jet plane, a four year old human girl visited me from New York City for the weekend. Because of one bad apple she was afraid of us canines, so in advance of her journey to Maryland she studied photographs of me posing with small humans, read about my exciting adventures, and listened to me sing on my Jammin’ June blog! All this made her laugh!
Not long after her arrival she was playing fetch with me in the yard! She kept reminding herself out loud that I was a good boy. I kept reminding all my body parts that I coordinate that she was a petite human girl.
At first she thought that my name was Dog but then she learned to call me Louie. We were a perfect match! This trilingual little human was quite articulate, and I listened to her intently when she asked me to sit and wait for a treat. I know that she loved me because she talked to me a lot, pet me, and sad tears soaked her cheeks when it was time for her to travel back home.
Yet another ‘first’ which began in the wee morning hours!! On August tenth, twenty minutes after eight o’clock in the morning, I, Louie, earned my wings!! Not exactly in the most graceful way but I did indeed earn them! I did not receive a license like when my Joanie earned her wings, nor did I jump out of the airplane like my Billy, though there were moments while ascending and descending when it seemed jumping ship might be the better choice. Ear pressure is not a pleasant feeling but luckily I did not have to endure this pressure for long.
Louie’s NO PROBLEM Check List:
Five hour flight – CHECK.
Foregoing food and water as if I were going into surgery – CHECK.
Waking before the sun rose – CHECK.
Automobile, shuttle, taxi, security, trollies, ferry, countless concerts – CHECK.
Turbulence – CHECK.
Take off and Landing; CHECK TO SAN DIEGO
I even posed for a snapshot with the pilot while debarking. Debarking is probably not the best word choice from the English language in referring to what I – a canine – had executed! No worries – my vocal cords remain quite capable of expressing the thoughts and feelings of my coordinated body.
With thousands of flutists from all over the world congregated in San Diego, the National Flute Association’s president told my puppy raiser that I, Louie, was the hit of the convention! Would not you know – with all those thousands of singing silver pipes – I had already met many of the hands that held them! And with all those flutists, I made sure to say hello to the membership manager to help relieve her daily stress. Naturally they fell in love with or deepened their love for this debonair big boy whom everyone referred to as handsome.
My Billy asked one human where the ‘lady with the dog’ was, and another human instantly answered with the question, “do you mean Louie?” Once again my reputation had preceded me, leaving my Hero Dogs vest pocket hungry. Hero Dogs business cards seemed to have grown wings and flew right out of the vest’s pocket and into the hands of humans despite the zipper closure. The pocket’s hunger was satisfied the next morning.
I attended over twenty concerts in three days, helped my puppy raiser with an announcement, was reunited with my human friends from Georgia (remember them?), and enjoyed fine dining. My personality transformed depending on which august flutist I was with at the time. Yes, I posed with august flutists in the month of August!
A serious pose with classical flutist Carol Wincenc, I performed ‘say hello’ with jazzer Ali Ryerson, and I gave beatboxer Greg Patillo’s face an unexpected lick. I greeted composer Kathleen Mayne who wrote “Four Scottish Airs for Four Scots” with a hello and quick sniff. Each Air – ’The Huntress’, ‘A Gentle Soul’, ‘Let’s Play Ball’, and ‘The Feisty One!’ – portrays the personalities of each of her four Scotties. She must have had some ‘splainin’ to do once home!
Each morning I insisted that my puppy raiser enter the same convention door despite her wanting to deviate. I much enjoy keeping a routine.
During the convention I even had a chance to practice some of my skills such as walking up and down a curved, open staircase one step at a time, wait, down-stay, sit-stay, return dropped keys and leash, under, paws up, hup, and work on ‘say hello’.
We played hooky on the last day of the convention and boarded a ferry to the beautiful Coronado Island. Once debarked there were canines of all shapes, sizes, and colors everywhere I turned. I wanted to play! Instead, I enjoyed a cool breeze as I dined outdoors under the awning of a wonderful restaurant. After a nice meal and nap, I felt refreshed.
One island canine in particular caught my attention; an overweight, off-leash, five year old yellow lab with impeccable manners named Rusty. Rusty first appeared as he walked toward me. The two of us observed each other as we communicated telepathically. He listened intently to his human so I did not even attempt to play. I followed him to a crosswalk where we waited side by side – Rusty still off-leash. What else could I do if we could not play? I imitated his fabulous demeanor – of course! The trailing commenced once the little human shape lit up by white lights appeared in a tiny box at the top of a pole. One block later, after a quick glance, I turned left toward the ferry and Rusty continued straight ahead, never to be seen again.
It was flight #987 – the return to BWI with its incredibly long and drawn out descent – that was my challenge. My ears had sent a distress call to my body, which caused all the body parts that I coordinate to rebel, which in turn caused my entire body to tremble like an earthquake. My puppy raisers held me tight and massaged my ears while feeding me bits of apple. I was not alone with this uncomfortable feeling since one flight attendant had an ear infection and had also felt uncomfortable.
My puppy raisers and I were extremely fortunate to have sat next to a sweet, kind-hearted human lady with a gentle soul. My flight attendants Darlene, Kathe, and Candida loved me and were fantastically compassionate, sharing pictures of their own canines, and offering their wisdom. They even offered an apple slicer!
The moment the airplane rolled down BWI’s runway the rebellion ceased. After debarking I had a smile on my face, periodically glancing at my puppy raiser as we sprinted through the airport, through the baggage area and out the door to the pet relief area. I then returned to the baggage area for water and a meal before collecting our trunks. I felt like myself once again!
I intercepted a shuttle to the final leg of our journey – our transport vehicle – which brought us home safe and sound. The very first thing I did was run to where my oversized tennis balls are kept on the porch to play fetch! I AM HOME!!!
Back in town I had an opportunity to visit with my very first human mommy, Kimberly Summitt, who had helped with my grand entrance to earth. Her last visit was long ago during ‘Novel November’, so Kimberly’s transport vehicle returned her once again to me during my fourteenth month here on earth.
She was amazed at how big my head is, and I am quite confident that she was referring to its physical size. She shared pictures of my siblings, my birth mum, and my pop with my puppy raiser who was surprised to see a yellow lab from my mum’s litter of five. I was the largest of the litter; however, my brother is now larger than me – and I weighed in at 70.4 pounds this August! I love Kimberly, it was wonderful to see her again, and she clearly loves me!
The weather was so beautiful one afternoon in particular that we were transported to Pennsylvania for an outdoor lunch with my puppy raiser’s sister. One can not say enough about mother nature. New, yet familiar sounds and scents stimulated my ears and nose. My feet enjoyed lush green grass; my eyes witnessed colorful flowers and majestic trees. After lunch and play, I fell into a peaceful, deep sleep in the shade on the deck, curled up between my puppy raisers.
Held under a large white tent up on the rooftop of the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center parking garage, many humans gathered on August’s final Thursday to celebrate Chuy’s Rockville October opening. Chuy’s employees’ smiling faces gave me and all my buddies a very warm welcome throughout the evening… almost as warm as August’s steamy heat.
I dined at home with friends on August’s final Saturday. They left their tiny canine, who wears a hand-knit sweater, and night time pull-up at home in order to enjoy my full affection. For them I performed several skills including ‘clean up toys’ and ‘find it.’ They cherished my adorably manipulating expressions which caused them to laugh out loud.
A movie followed dinner, so I settled on the floor rather close to our guest who himself was settled on his back perpendicular to me. As the movie continued, my guest’s vocal cords laughed out loud with such force that it caused his legs to flail. I found this human’s behavior immensely fascinating. Though I remained on my belly, my body inched its way closer to his. Now only a few inches away, I was laughing with him – my head moving up and down holding a wide smile as my tail swayed side to side. Laughter is contagious no matter the species.
The very next morning was steamy, its temperature high and sun bright. The transport vehicle took me to the National Harbor for the Carhartt and Hero Dogs Fashion Show where I accompanied my puppy raiser while he walked the runway, modeling clothing from the Carhartt store. National Harbor’s Debbie Topcik was fantastic, and the Carhartt employees were extremely friendly, helpful, and generous.
The clothing was for a cooler season – such is the job of a fashion model. I offer no sympathy though, since I don a one-of-a-kind, shiny black fur coat 24-7… and wear no shoes.
An added bonus was that my buddies, myself, and our humans all dined together before the show. The thoughtful server brought each of us a styrofoam cup filled with ice water, and placed them under the outdoor high top tables in front of our noses. My buddy, Mitch, was ever so graceful not spilling a drop. My Golden buddies had a drink leaving just a little water around their cups, and my other buddies did the same. I, Louie, chewed some ice then dumped the water out and chewed the cup in half. In my defense, I am an adventurous boy and it was hot… very hot. The cold water felt good to all my coordinated body parts. I had to keep them happy after all.
The Carhartt Fashion Show proved to be a success, and much fun. All of my buddies and their humans had a grand time.
Yup, this debonair big boy is loved! I, Louie, received five emails after my journey to San Diego!!! My puppy raisers do not Facebook but that did not stop two posts from growing wings and finding their way to me! I have new friends – and possibly a pen-pal!!
Email #1: Jerry, a very thoughtful human gentleman who I had met in the BWI airport is a special police officer and canine trainer himself. He took the very same flight #2675 to San Diego as I. When I arrived home there was a forwarded Hero Dogs email from Jerry:
“Met one of your great dogs at the airport yesterday. Louie and his handlers were wonderful and
Louie did great on the flight.”
Email #2: Cindy, a human lady who holds singing silver pipes in her hands, and who shared lots of kisses and hugs with me at the convention wrote to me twice! Here is one of her two emails:
“HI Louie: I met you in San Diego… you are an amazing dog! I loved listening to your improv…
it made my dogs listen too. We have 3 labs who are quite lazy and spoiled and they love it…
they are in awe of a working boy like you.. Keep your sweetness dear Louie, and I’ll keep reading about you.
Another communication was via email from Cindy’s California Canine named Tosca the lab. I have not shared Tosca’s video here but her email reads:
Here’s a video of me playing
I wish we could play together
Tosca the lab
Ps my sister Summer shows up here too”
In addition to my new silver and gold-pipe-holding friends, my ever-growing happy list now includes a second Canadian couple, and one Australian couple … and you know just how happy it makes me when I spark smiles!
August was Amazing indeed! What a Wonderful World!
I am Louie, Louie I am, and I Love you all.