This is FAR more important than a visit by the Upgrade Fairy.
I'm about to kiss a manila envelope and send off my entry in this years NATJA/EWNB travel writers' competition.
(No surprise, it's the story from Cruise Travel about our own Erin, "Island Dog.")
I don't want to win so much for me as I do for Erin and Bunny.
For those who don't know, Erin is a Seeing Eye dog who is a world-class cruiser along with her human, Bunny and their talented support staff, "T". Their story is so wonderful and so inspirational ... I was so honored to be able to tell it.
It's sorta like "Win one for the Gipper." If by some random act of chance or choice, this story does win, it won't be about me. It will be all about Erin, Bunny, and "T".
So, cross fingers, send good thoughts, the odd prayer ... whatever.
I'd love to read this story. Will it be posted somewhere accessible to we common folk?
I have one question? Does the cruise line furnish a exercise run with cedar chips for the doggy's bathroom needs??? Just curious...
This sounds like a wonderful story that you might want to send to some of the guide dog foundations like guide Dogs for the Blind un San Rafael, Ca. I bet they would love such an article.
My fingers are crossed, Pam, after having cruised my first with my friend Amy who is blind. She decided to kennel the dog (at a VERY reputable fun place) and have some alone time. I'll order the article and maybe she'll cruise with her next time, but she really enjoyed the no dog-care days (after 30 years of it) and Vera had such a great time at the kennel she was exhausted for days. <g>
One obvious question though... where does the dog, um, 'go'? No giggling please, serious question.
I'm surprised, Denise, that your friend kennelled her dog. My understanding was that dog guides are almost never separated from their humans except under extreme circumstances.
OK, where do doggies do it? Not surprisingly, this is about the #1 question.
It depends upon the ship. On Millennium when we sailed with Team Erin, some crew members went ashore and brought back flats of grass to create a "lawn" on their balcony. On other ships, the dog will "go" on a private crew deck out of sight of other passengers which will be cleaned up/hosed down immediately.
Dog guides have extremely controlled diets (which is why you should NEVER offer a dog guide a "treat" unless approved by its human) because their functions must be carefully controlled for obvious reasons. They "go" on command. (Sometimes, on cruises, I wish *I* could !!!)
I hope I've phrased this delicately enough. Otherwise, Erin will lash me to death with her very busy tail the next time we see each other.
Thanks, Pam. I don't think she's kenneled one before, which is why it was actually a treat for her. And perhaps her info on all the rigamarole involved with the 'going' was the deciding factor. She likes to be just one of the gang and does it QUITE well. Having to bother staff for private facilities would have made her uncomfortable, I think. I should probably ask.
And yes, not just controlled diets but controlled everything when on the official harness. No rolling around with other people. They have to make sure the bond is strong. When off the harness, it's play time! But she does have to make sure she does all of the care. I was admonished for providing treats when they spent the night.
Another thing to note is that guide dogs' services are over long before their lives are, and when I met her she had three (one passed recently), one on duty and the others just pampered to the nines and loved until they pass.
I didn't see a place to order the issue with your article, so I E'd them. I'll let you know when they respond, and thank you again!
We consider it an honor that you wrote the article and even a larger honor that you are submitting the article!
Thanks for everyone who commented on the article. I believe the article is a winner!
In reference to kenneling a service animal while one travels - I have never heard of anyone doing this. The bond between the service animal and individual is so strong, I am amazed that this happens. I can't imagine separating the 2 for a week by choice. I can't imagine the school that the dog came from thinking this was a good idea. The dog would continually be searching for their individual and feel lost. Everything I have learned from my mom's experience and friend's who have service animals is that the service animal should always be with you. You shouldn't pick and choose "should I bring the dog to the grocery store today or leave them at home". They always go where their individual goes.
Erin is not an inconvenience when my mom travels, she is an extension of my mom and my mom would never consider doing this. She would never go on any vacation without Erin. This isn't even an option we consider. Erin has traveled the world with my mom and is an excellent traveler. It would not be a "treat" for my mom to travel without Erin nor would it be a treat for Erin to be kenneled for a week to play.
It is not an incovenience to ask for special accomodations - not any more then a person in a wheelchair asking for a wheelchaired cabin or a hearing impaired individual asking for special needs in their cabin. Cruiselines that dock in a US port must comply with ADA regulations - this is part of that.
Erin comes from the original Seeing Eye dog school in the country and one of the best in the US - the "Seeing Eye" in Morristown, NJ. I know several who have gone through "Guide Dogs for the Blind" in San Rafael and they also would never be parted from their dogs for a "vacation" because being parted would "not be a vacation."
I do know that the Seeing Eye has copies of the article. Pam worked with them when writing the article and they were very pleased with the article when it came out. A friend of mine went through training last month with "Guide Dogs for the Blind" in CA (another great school)- he brought the article with him and shared it with all of his classmates and instructors. These friends are getting ready to bring their new partner on the Grand in December and they can't wait for the experience.
Again, thanks Pam for writing a great article and for exposing the world to how great Seeing Eye dogs are as cruisers/travelers. We can't wait to have the opportunity to travel with you again!
I can't reply to your confusion, since I'm not the owner. But I am curious if Erin is your mother's first dog? Amy has outlived quite a few and I do trust that she did what she thought was right, having had years and years of experience. Perhaps, intimately knowing the personality of her dog, she decided this wouldn't be a good experience for her.
Boy do I feel privledged-- I was with Theresa , Bunny and Erin-aka Island dog on two cruise---both of which were mentioned above-- It can be very overwelming to say the least-- Erin is a celebrity in her own right-- and if you win-- which I hope you do---- whos going to suppy the salmon treats ???
This is my mom's first dog but I know many who have service animals (some on their 3rd and 4th) and they would never leave their service animal behind during a vacation or anywhere. Their service animals go everywhere with them and all the time.
Amy (blind since three years old) has two pe-teen children, a husband, a mother-in-law 5 days a week, her mountain retreat on the weekend, school 5 days a week (mid-life career change) a horde of friends and other animals besides the two (well one now) retired dogs. That may be the difference. Someone who has only their dog might feel differently, I don't know. And I don't know why I feel so offended at your judgementalism. You don't know her, or her dog, or her life. But yes, I feel very offended that you would suggest she doesn't know how to treat a guide dog. She's one of the most amazing people I've ever met. And I guess that's all I have to say about this whole thread besides wishing Pam good luck.