I am NOT a snack....Scooter's Adventures in South Korea

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Days leading up to the Big Flight

March 7th 2008 1:39 am
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The purpose of this blog is to document and recount my various adventures Stateside and Beyond.

Dad is active duty in the United States Air Force. We are moving to Seoul, South Korea. We will be there for two years; plenty of time time for a little guy to have some big adventures.

Mom started by packing and repacking her two big bags. Then she packed a smaller bag and we took a quick trip to Florida. I didn't get to see my beagle sister, Lola, but I did get to see "Grandma" Pat and Uncle Steve. G-ma Pat's brother came out of his rooms to see me. He's in a wheelchair, so I'm always careful to watch my toes.

We left my goldfish there with Grandma Pat. Bretta got to play off-leash and meet the cows. I met them several months ago when Mom and I came down for a visit. I'm not impressed with them. Bretta seems to think she's special since they followed her around.

We went to one of Mom's favorite places to have supper. She saved me a bite of steak since she won't give me anything while we are in a restaurant. She feels it doesn't set a good example.

We went to see Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jack. It is always fun to go to their house. Uncle Jack always sneaks me some good treats. Bretta had to work for her treats. All I have to do is stand there and look cute. They fall for the "Beagle Eyes". Mom ancd I left Dad and Bretta there while we went to Mom's orthopedist appointment. We were waiting on her prescriptions when I alerted her. I didn't understand why she didn't immediately take her meds or head to the car. I got pretty insistent with her. She finally took them, but I knew it was too late to stop it. By the time we got back to Aunt Bonnie's, Mom was having problems seeing out of her right eye.

Aunt Bonnie believes in cooking. So she made us eat. All of us. (Big Smile) The ride home (back to Maryland) was weird. Mom was drugged out. I was mad because I was seat belted into the backseat and couldn't reach her. She finally managed to get her arm and hand where I could touch her. The craziness continued when we got home. Dad got busy packing and doing some stuff out on the deck/porch. The vibe was pretty urgent.

Mom and Dad woke up really early on Saturday and left....without me. Mom came back by herself. I asked her where Dad went. She kept telling me and Bretta that Dad had to go ahead to Korea so things would be in order when we get there. I miss him.

This last week has been even crazier. Starting 2/18.

Mom has been packing boxes and moving stuff around. Tuesday she actually left me at home. HOW RUDE! She said something about taking those large boxes to the post office.

Then some guy shows up and Mom lets him in. He starts loading it up. Mom actually crated me and told me to make myself comfortable, that I'd be spending some time in there over the next couple of days. Great.

We ran to Target for a couple of things. Mom found this kewl little soft-sided crate for me. It is too small for me to travel in, but it will fit in her pack and will give me my own space if we get tired of each other.

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008

The movers didn't leave until late. Bretta and I were crated ALL DAY! Mom managed tp grab a quick shower and tried to sack out on the floor in the sleeping bag. She left my crate door open, but I slept with her. Yes, I'd rather sleep on the hard floor with her than in my crate with soft bedding. She's soo stressed that I won't leave her.

She realized that the movers had packed our backpack. My kewl crate is out in the Jeep, but my back up toys are gone as is our binky.

Thursday, Feb, 21, 2008

The movers got done early. Mom loaded up our bags and off to the hotel we go. Now, this is my idea of roughing it. We've got this huge King size bed, a mini-fridge, microwave, and a couch. I jumped up and down on the bed while Mom sorted through her bags. We ran out to get another pack and binky, then back to the old place to get Bretta and her crate. Mom also cleaned out the freezer. She did well at rationing out the RAW. I'll get it until we leave! YIPPEEEEE!!!!

Friday, Feb, 22, 2008

The weather is NASTY! It started raining, then it froze. Mom had to drop off the cable boxes and get us to the vet for our health certificates. She had a mini-breakdown. No one told her that it had to be stamped by someone in Annapolis or it wouldn't be legal. Thank Dog the ladies at the clinic were nice. They called around to make sure someone would be there and printed out directions for Mom. They went above and beyond. Everyone was wanting to close early because it was supposed to rain some more. Mom ran Bretta back to the hotel and we were off to get the stamp.

We went back by the apartment. Mom cleaned out her Jeep while we were waiting on the guys to come get them. She called Uncle Jay about getting the stuff from the Jeeps.

I got to take my first cab ride. It cost $25 to go 10.5 miles from the apartment to the hotel (by the airport).

Mom took a shower and fed me (and Bretta, but she doesn't get RAW). Later, like really late for Mom, we went down to the restaurant. It is strange for Mom to eat alone. I was a good boy. I grabbed a nap since it was soo quiet. Mom brought me back a small bit of roll.

We just hung out. Bretta has finally had a breakthrough. Mom tethered her to the desk. Bretta finally realized that it was nice to just HANG OUT. She realized it was cool to just be still. That is a major thing for her. She's also figured out that she's been rude by constantly dropping her Kong in Mom's lap. So, for the moment, she's not being soo OCD.

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008

Mom called the airline to make sure they had us in the system. We then went down to the "Business Center" to make copies of our paperwork. Seriously, she has at least 6 sets of copies of everything. While we were down there, we had to watch out for the wedding party in the wing by where we have been going potty. We were accosted coming back inside. We weren't vested. Mom let Bretta greet them. I wasn't interested in being molested so I backed between Mom's feet.

Speaking of standing between Mom's feet. That is what I've started doing in the elevator. The hotel elevator feels like a roller coaster (even to Mom). It also keeps me out of the way. Mom has told us that we need to get use to it since Dad has informed her we will be living on the 4th floor. Bretta does ok with it; Mom just reminds her to watch her tail. Then again, most people tend to try to get as far away as possible from her. We don't understand it. She's the most polite Mal you'll ever meet. The chicks at the vet office are card carrying members of the Bretta Fan Club.

Mom had pizza tonight. She also stayed up late. She was still up when there was a knock on the door (like at midnight). It was another pizza guy. Mom didn't open the door. I was right there with her, growling loud enough that I could be heard through the door. He heard me and started acting nervous. Bretta barked once. It was one of those sharp, "I'll mess you up if you don't leave" barks. That made him leave.

After we were sure he was gone, Mom took us out to potty. Bretta was on high alert, intently watching EVERYTHING.

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008

We woke Mom up bright and early. Mom spent a bunch of time repacking. I know something is up. Mom double checked Bretta's crate and then zip-tied it. I guess Bretta will be traveling in it. Poor Girl. Mom made a big deal of laying out my working gear and choosing which sweater I'd be wearing.

Uncle Jay came to get some of our stuff. I'm going to miss him, but Mom says I'll see him in a few months; that he's coming over for a year.

I ate the last of my buffalo meat. Also had a few medallions. Gees, I love this diet. She said something about making me run around so I'd poop before we get on the plane.

 

The Flight...or how to hold it for 22+ hours

March 7th 2008 2:00 am
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Wednesday, Feb 27 8:08AM Korea time
Tuesday, Feb 26 6:08PM EST.

Mom woke us up REALLY early. Bretta must have been a bad girl, because she had Mom pretty aggravated. Bad enough that Mom made her work through her commands. Later, Mom took us out together. Bretta didn't want to do all of her business. I guess B doesn't understand that she's not going to get a chance later. She was also wanting to just try Mom. Not the best idea at 3AM. Mom made her work again. This time she didn't stop until B was tired. I just sat there looking at B, trying to mentally tell her to just stop being such a pain and do what Mom asks; especially when Mom does it at weird times. Bretta just wants to turn everything into an opportunity to try to up herself in the grand scheme of things.

We go back to our room and Mom uses the phone. Pretty soon there is a guy at the door with carts. I growled at him. Let me explain. It is about 3:15 in the morning and I wasn't dressed for work. Mom and I have a deal. If I'm not dressed for work, then I can do what I please, within reason. It's a long story for another day. With Dad gone, it is up to Bretta and I to take care of Mom. I'm the mouthpiece and Bretta is the enforcer, though I don't think she has realized it yet.

All of our stuff gets loaded and the guy takes off. Mom got us dressed and we headed downstairs. While Mom was checking out, I spied our stuff. It disappeared again when someone grabbed it and took it out to the shuttle bus. There was an older couple on the bus when we boarded. Mom sat down right behind the driver so that Bretta had a bit of room. B needs some practice on backing into small spaces.

We get to our airline and there are no skycaps on duty. Mom got a cart and managed to load 2 large suitcases, a smaller suitcase, Bretta's crate, a bag of electrical cords and other stuff that have to be dumped into a bin otherwise, it looks like Mom has a bomb, and our backpack (with binky). She got all of that (and us) across a bus lane and into the building and to the first class line. She pulled Bretta's crate off the pile and used it to sit on while we waited for them to open.

There was a father/daughter team waiting down from us. She got peeved when she realized she chose poorly. She had picked a counter space to wait at, and when they opened, it wasn't manned. So she starts with, "But we were here first." when the guy waits on us. The agent looked over and asked her if she was flying first class. When she said no, he told her that we were. Mom just smiled.

We had to accompany Bretta to special TSA screening in this little windowless room. They checked her crate, including feeling around the rim(s) and stopped short of patting her down. They did make Mom make B stand up on her hind legs so they could see her belly. The TSA guy was a jerk. He told Mom that I couldn't just walk around; that all dogs have to be crated. Mom asked him if he could read. It made him sputter and turn a couple of shades of red.

Mom checked the time and told me we had to boogie. We went downstairs and out the baggage claim doors, across 6 lanes of thankfully non-traffic (this time of morning) so I could take care of business. We then went back upstairs and through security. Mom stopped outside of the line to take off my ID collar(cuz of my slider tags) and put my nylon slip lead on behind my work collar. So when we got to the point where Mom had to take off her shoes, she took off my collar and lead and just used my nylon one. We had 3 plastic bins. Mom's shoes, my collar, and her jacket. Her computer. And "The Bag". It was fun trying to get everything back into "The Bag".

In the past, Mom has always brought my Samsonite bag for me to lay in while flying. It is like my safety net. It has a soft crate pad that she always covers with a pillowcase. She didn't bring it. She packed it in a box and sent it to Daddy. I was a little confused. She carries me around Atlanta airport in it. I got a little worried. I walked like a big boy onto the plane. Mom told me when to turn into "our" row and I sat down until she pulled out my "restaurant" pad. She laid it out and I hopped onto it and laid down without her saying anything to me. A stewardess came by and gave Mom a little card saying Bretta had been loaded. I did get a little nervous when we took off. I sat up and put a paw on her leg. She told me it was going to be OK. So I laid back down and we both napped.

Mom told me that we lucked out. We taxied to the international terminal at Atlanta. WHOOOHOOO! No having to change terminals and it wasn't that crowded. Normally, Mom doesn't let me walk due to the amount of traffic. Unfortunately, there wasn't a chance for me to go potty. Mom wishes I could learn to use a human potty. We took care of Mom then got her a drink before going to the gate and doing "the wait".

Some guy sat down on the floor across from us and was being RUDE. He kept staring at me (not Mom). Not in the way that a lot of people stare (looking at my vest and trying to figure out how I help Mom), but in the sheepdog/predatory way. Mom noticed the hair on my butt was standing up, so she redirected my attention to her which made the guy look at her. They had a brief stare down; Mom won.

The plane was HUGE! We could see it parked outside the window and we watched as one of the pilots do a walk around. We got in a special line when they called our "zone". Then we got called to the desk to get the sticker saying Bretta was on board. This meant we had to go to the back of the line.

There were two sections of business class. 120-130 seats plus at least another 200 coach. Business class was 6 seats across. The ends were normal with two aisles so that the middle two didn't have to step across each other. That's where we were, plus we were on a bulkhead so I had plenty of room. It looked like this. (Seat, Seat, Aisle, Seat, Seat, Aisle, Seat, Seat)

These seats had footrests and reclined WAAAYYY back on a remote. Everyone had plenty of room. There were monitors that popped up and to the sides with lots of movie choices. Mom wasn't feeling very well. Between toting the backpack and her sinuses, she was pretty sick. She managed to eat a tiny bit of the first meal before going to sleep. I curled up on my mat.

What is champagne and Mimosa? They were passing it out when we boarded, but Mom didn't have either.

Mom woke up to take some meds and to go potty. (That was interesting. I don't see Mom ever doing that with Bretta. I thought we were going to have to stand on our heads to make it work.) We got settled back down when Mr. Staredown walked down the aisle staring at me again. I assumed a very Aussie/BC position. I wanted to tag him, but Mom told me to knock it off. She asked me if I wanted to lay in her lap for a bit. She covered me with my thermal binky (she had our binky on her lap) and we slept until the mid-flight snack. We woke up for that. Mom put me back on my pad while she ate. She decided that since it had been 11+ hours since I'd had a chance to potty that I might decide to use a piddle pad. We even found the "handicap" lavatory. Compared to the other one, it was HUGE. I refused to even entertain the thought of soiling inside.

The flight attendants took advantage of Mom being awake to fawn all over me. Mom asked for a bottle of water. They were passing out the little 8oz bottles like Halloween candy. (Mom never drinks water, but she did manage to drink 3 of them) They brought Mom a real china bowl to serve me. Mom declined the bowl in favor of digging out my cup. It takes up less room and there is less chance of spillage. Mom then released me to visit with them (in the galley of all places). That was a big deal. Normally, I don't like strangers touching me, but I was feeling especially outgoing and I knew they were doing a good job taking care of Mom. Smoozing done, I curled up for another nap. Yeah, Mom and I slept the flight away. 14 hours in the air (Atlanta to Seoul) and I think we slept at least 12.

We finally landed and got off. We had to walk (and walk) before getting to this place where we have to choose a long line for Immigration. We finally get to the person and she is having problems processing us. She is on the phone for the longest time. It seems like forever. She finally tells Mom that she needs to go to "The Office". Mom's head is killing her. That pesky left side headache is thumping, the sinus headache has her off-balance and her ears won't pop. The chick at the desk didn't speak the best English; Mom speaks no Korean.

We are in the office, are asked to hand over ID, Passport, and a copy of Dad's orders. They finally ask, "Why no visa?" (yes, like that.) I'm thinking..'.visa. Mom has a visa in her wallet. What's the problem?' That's when I learn that there is another kind of visa. Mom has to explain that she didn't know; Dad told her all she needed was a copy of his orders. They processed the visa in the office and sent us on our way. We took the elevator downstairs to baggage claim. (OK, what is the deal with baggage claim always being downstairs? Just an observation)

The carts are small, but free. Mom managed to grab her three bags and get them loaded. She then "snagged" the nearest guy and asked about Bretta. He had already put her on a cart and was looking for Mom. He walked us through quarentine where they checked out our paperwork and took their copy of our international health certificate. Next was customs. No stopping. We then come to this big set of doors. He can't take her any further. He pushed her through the doors. Mom spotted Dad. They did some sign language that only we would understand. Mom had me walking as close as possible to her, behind the cart so I wouldn't' get run over. She handed me and the cart off to Dad so she could get B.

Once they got clear, I went back to Mom. So we had to walk about a mile to the counter for the buses and taxis. Keep in mind it has been about 22 hours since I last had a chance to pee. Mom is a little peeved at Dad about the visa thing and is feeling like she is going to pass out. Dad gets in the bus line. Mom tells him not no, but hell no. She also reminds him I need to GO. We finally get outside and Mom sends me to the nearest bit of something other than concrete. There was this weird tree...it didn't matter, a tree had never looked soo good. I actually propped my leg and took a wide stance.

Taking care of B was Mom's next goal. Thank Dog Dad remembered to bring a knife to cut the zip ties in the door. Bretta ended up riding in her crate in the backseat with me and Mom. Dad rode up front. We got stopped at one point, right after we got moving. Something about a motorcade for some president who was leaving the country. (That may explain the dudes in uniform with what appeared to be Israeli-made hardware.)

Mom tried to check out the scenery, but she passed out. She was in and out of things. I hugged her neck and licked her face, trying to wake her up. She whispered that the mountains reminded her of Vegas. Since we weren't in any danger, I decided to just let her be. Luckily, she had given Dad her backpack, so he had her passport and ID. She needed 2 forms of ID to get in the housing area. The taxi gets to our building so I wake Mom up. She got me out ok and got Bretta out. Dad grabbed a bag and just took us upstairs. Bretta ended up tethered in the living room while Mom fell out on the bed.

Dad got us fed and watered and got Bretta bedded down for the night. I made myself at home. It was about 7PM local time or 5AM EST.

Bretta woke Mom up about 2AM needing to go out. They got downstairs and took care of business. When they get back in the elevator, Mom hits "6" instead of "4". We had been staying on the 6th floor at the hotel. Mom goes door 605 and tries to open it. She was about to knock when she realized her mistake. Thankfully she didn't wake anyone up. She and I made a quick trip out and made it back to the right floor without a problem. We went back to bed until Bretta woke Mom up again at 5AM.

 

First Days In a New Land

March 7th 2008 5:38 pm
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Wednesday, Febuary 27th

We finally got up and ate some breakfast. Dad had to run into work to take care of some paperwork, but was back pretty quick. Mom got me dressed in a sweater and my vest, so I knew I had to work. We got about 10 yards from the bus stop when someone stops us and asks, "Do you live here? You can't have pets." Mom had to choke back the "Can you read?" retort.

So I got my second bus ride. I guess I should explain. We are living a couple of miles from the main part of the base in a compound that was fixed to house American Military personnel. They have shuttle buses that run hourly to the base. The housing area is No Pets, but Bretta and I aren't pets. Dad went through a bunch of rigmarole with the compound managers (it is now privatized and manged by a Korean company, but they have to honor US rules as far as we (Bretta and I) are concerned).

We got off the bus at the Dragon Hill Lodge. It is a HUGE hotel and is where Dad stayed before our apartment was ready. We went to get Mom a cell phone that would work over here, then across the parking lot to another building to get Mom and Dad put into some system so they don't have to have two forms of ID to get on base and to get them doing the processing for a Ration Card. We went back to the Dragon for lunch. I'm soo happy. I did my first mechanical revolving door. Mom let me watch it for a minute, then Dad went through it. That was all the cue I needed. We did have to explain that I'm allowed in the restaurant, but it wasn't too much of an issue.
Next we were off to the PX. The greeter (gees, just like Wally world, except he's checking IDs) was adamant I wasn't coming in the store. Dad went to find the manager and Mom did something she doesn't normally do, but since we are soo far away from home, she figured it might shut the guy up. She pulled out my ID. The manager got there pretty quick and saw my vest and said "Off you go." We made our purchases and took a taxi home. We ended up going to the little shoppette (mini commissary) on the compound and had to explain that I was allowed. The employees are all Korean. While we were checking out, one of the baggers tried telling me to sit. I just looked at Mom and rolled my eyes. She had to explain that I only listen to her. The words polite and well behaved were discussed (in Korean).

Mom is putting us on Cranberry pills for the next couple of weeks to make sure we don't have any ill effects from holding it for soo long. IF she had thought about it, she'd have started us on them a week before the trip.

We put our stuff up, then were off again, this time to the "Lending closet" to borrow pots, pans, dishes, and silverware. Now Dad can cook.

Several pups have asked us how the place is. Institutional is the word Mom likes to throw out. The floors are institutional grade tile over concrete. The walls are off-white with gray trim. It is screaming for some color. Mom has threatened to buy some blank canvas and do oddball modern art or better yet, let Bretta and I paint. I've done paw painting before. Mom joked Bretta could paint with her tail.

Think about how the Eastern Block apartment buildings look in all of the old 80's movies. That is sorta what this place looks like.

Mom and I napped. Then we got up and ate and tried to spend some time with Dad. We all went to bed, but then Bretta woke Mom up in the middle of the night (again). She just wanted to play. My clock is getting reset a lot quicker than Bretta's. I woke Mom up for Breakfast then left went back to bed until a reasonable hour.

Thursday, Feb 28th

We decided to take the bus again to try to get some stuff done that we didn't get around to yesterday. Dad has this checklist of stuff. He also had some sort of test he had to go take after lunch. The bus driver was about to give Mom a hard time, but she flashed my ID and he stopped mid-sentence. We got off the bus at the Dragon again and walked down this big hill to another building. Two of the things there were closed until after 1PM, so we went to check the mail. Mom sent a total of 10 boxes before we left. I hope they get here soon; there are toys and all sorts of good stuff in them including Mom's super-duper dark curtains. No mail. So we went to the hospital for medical intake paperwork. The hospital is where all of the doctor appointments are done as well as being a full service hospital. The staff was really nice and all wanted to see me.

We taxied back to the Dragon for lunch. I did the revolving doors like a pro. While we were in the restaurant, Dad heard someone talking about us. Mom asked if we were being the "Freak Show" again. Nope, someone was explaining to one of the natives what I do.

Mom had one of "those" moments while eating lunch. Here she is an American now living in South Korea, eating in a Mexican restaurant. She's also feeling very much like we are a "Freak Show". She's starting to think it is going to be a rough 2 years. Dad put us in a cab for the ride home while he went to take his test.

Oh, I almost forgot my big breakthrough. I'm starting to alert to scents. There have been a couple of places where I've hurried her along because it has either smelled like someone has marinated in perfume or they have sprayed stuff all over the place. I'm staying on her not to be in it too long. I know it can give her an instant migraine. Mom worked on fine tuning my alert a bit so that I'm communicating very plainly with her and not being obnoxious with how I'm doing it.



We get home and Mom notices that Bretta has scratched a really nasty spot on the back of her neck. She's more upset that she doesn't have all of the stuff here that she needs; the proper meds and what not. It isn't bad enough for a vet visit, but it is bad enough to need a proper cleaning.

This not being able to control the heat really sucks! Mom has opened a window in every room in the place. Plus, she has to do something to kill the fresh pain smell. It isn't helping her head.

We went to bed really early again. Mom had a dual headache last night. Dad got me (and B) out for the last time then carried me back into the bedroom to have Mom undress me. I've been wearing a sweater every day since we got here. Dad isn't the greatest when it comes to sweaters. He does try and has gotten good at dressing me; it's undressing me that gives him a hard time.

Oh yeah, silly Dad doesn't know the difference between a double bed and a queen size one. He thought the loaner bed was a queen. It isn't. We are all sleeping kinked because they brought us the wrong size bed.

Friday, Feb. 29th

This fine Friday morning, I'm laying on the back of the chair overlooking the little glassed in porch and looking up towards the Hyatt up on the mountain. That's my idea of "roughing it". Mom wants to take a series of pics of the city via our bus ride. We pass some really old classically "oriental" buildings in severe disrepair. Our sense of direction has been thrown off a bit, but it is coming back. It's really quiet around here this morning with no TV and no internet. Mom hasn't picked a movie to put on loop for Bretta to listen to for the day. The work crew next door seems to have finished all of their noise. (It was bad yesterday.) We've had to vent the porch windows because they were painting and our porches share some air.

We had the bedroom window more open than before and we both slept better. Mom is kicking herself this morning for not getting Destry's Mom's phone number before we left. We thought we'd be able to send international text messages to an e-mail addy, but we can't. Mom is determined to get to an internet cafe this weekend or else. She's also kicking herself for not having Bretta an ID made like mine. That will have to wait until the desktop computer gets here. Neither Mom nor Dad have photoshop on their new laptops.

Dad is off to Osan to pick up his "Chem Gear". Mom has a doctor's appointment. Her neck is giving her fits. We know we can catch the bus OK, but Mom isn't soo sure about catching it back. We can always catch a taxi.

Speaking of taxis. These people drive crazy. The ride yesterday was like a roller coaster. We went down this really steep hill and around a curve that Mom thinks would make for a kewl luge ride.

Mom did her calling around about getting us "registered' on base. We can stop by any time next week. Bretta doesn't have to be there. Mom was thankful that an American answered the phone. She's been having a little bit of a problem with being understood. Her extreme southern drawl is hard for the Koreans to understand.

We saw another dog. It was a German Pincher and it was wearing a pink coat. We've seen a couple of dogs on base.

Mom is trying to figure out how we are going to manage long term without a car. We can't get my trailer and Mom's bike on the bus. We will have to figure out the straight shot so Mom can be a bit more independent. Dad said he walked it before we got here. It is mostly uphill. Thank Dog Mom just got a 21 speed bike. Mom is worried about how much walking I can take with all of the hills. I have to trot to keep up with her walk. She is scared she's going to hurt me because of my legs. My trailer converts to a jogger, so that will be a plus.

We hustled over to the bus stop with time to spare. I was charming while Mom had to explain why I was allowed; that I am not a pet. The ride seemed quicker. I was a good boy while the Korean Army guy checked Mom's ID. We got off at the right stop. We had time to go to Dental In-processing before Mom's appointment. Back across the street to the hospital. Mom couldn't find "Family Practice" on the hospital map. One of the people working at the Information Desk was nice enough to actually show us where it was.

I charmed the doctor, the nurse, and everyone who saw me. Mom and I were having a very synced day. I went under the chair and laid down without her asking. Very awesome. Mom was given a referral to a specialty group that should be able to help her neck. Her sinus headache is due to dryness. Dad found Mom a fan, but no humidifiers.

I had a toddler throw home cooked food at me while we were waiting in the pharmacy area. Mom only had to remind me once to "Leave it". A piece of corn landed on my foot. I knocked it off and slid backwards about 6 inches. The kid's parents were impressed. (Mom says the backward slide is my way of avoiding temptation.) We took a cab home since the next bus was over an hour away.

Mom has realized that Koreans are fascinated with blonds with blue eyes and redheads. They want to touch them (like Mom's red hair). They also want to touch me. I'm not big with having strangers touch me. I HATE to be PATTED on the top of the head. Rubbing is ok; patting is out. Mom isn't quite sure how to broach the whole "it is bad manners" thing with the Korean people. She's ready to get me some patches in Korean to put on my vest. She's thinking a Stop sign with DO NOT DISTRACT OR PET in both languages. I bet money she won't have the same kind of problem with Bretta in public.

We went to bed early again. Mom has sore spots on her shoulders from sleeping on her sides (and toting the backpack with our stuff).

This place is going to take some getting use to.

 

Our First Weekend...or How I'm a better SD than Dad is a SP- (service person)

March 8th 2008 3:07 am
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Saturday, March 1st.

Mom put my new soft sided crate together. Not one of the dinnerplate ones, but a sturdier one. It is a miniature version of Bretta's. She placed it under the loaner desk in the bedroom with one of my restaurant pads and all of my toys that she managed to pack in her luggage. I've been napping in it.

Mom woke up early. She got a few chores done then I decided to drag out of bed for breakfast. We took a taxi to base since the bus doesn't run on the weekends. Dad finally remembered that parts of the Dragon had wi-fi, so we sat down so Mom could dig out her laptop and get online and send messages out to my Snoop's Big Brother, Bernie and to Destry's Mom, Sabrina's Mom, and a few others.

Once Mom was done, we took another long walk to the PX. We walked through another area first. Mom found a bedspread she wants, but it has to be special ordered to fit our bed. It's a chinese-y silk brocade with dragons on it. I can't wait for Mom to order it. I'm just giddy at the idea of rolling on it. I can't wait until our bed gets here. Three of us in a double bed is cramped; I mean, gees, sometimes three of us in a California king is cramped. Makes me really glad Bretta doesn't sleep with us.

Next we went to the "store" where they sell outdoor stuff. I don't understand why they don't have everything under one roof. All of the dog stuff is there, along with BBQ stuff, bikes, kid's toys, ect. They even had fishtanks. Mom grabbed a new leash for tethering Bretta in the living room. That is working out well. She's become calm and not so OCD. We finally made it to the regular PX. The pawrents found humidifiers. They grabbed two. I know they will help Mom's head and nose. There were no fans to be had. We took a taxi home.

Mom and Dad decided to go walking off base...without me. I was mad. Dad had to be Mom's "Service Person". She was miserable without me and kept telling Dad that she felt naked without me. She did take the time to tell me about the walk.

She picked up a few trinkets for Grandma Pat and Uncle Steve and picked up a Tae Kwon Do outfit for me. It has a Korean flag on the back. She saw a guide dog. It was a heavy-boned yellow lab. She walked close enough she could have done a "drive by petting", but being Mom, she didn't . She was impressed at how he didn't even turn his head. The Korean handler was standing in the middle of the sidewalk talking to someone. Mom would have liked to have asked him a few questions if he hadn't otherwise been engaged.

Dad cooked. So if I had any questions about this being "home", that answered that. Home is Dad's mac and cheese.

The pawrents wondered off again on Sunday. They brought home a stroller. Until they can get all of the info together about my status off base, I get to ride. It is a real baby stroller; very nice. I can get really comfy in it and Mom can do all the work. Mom found a specialty store on her walk that we will have to check out together. It's a dog store. She also walked past 3 or 4 embassies that she wants to take my pic in front of the gates. Crazy woman.

Mom has warned me that tomorrow will be a busy day. We've got to get the rest of the stuff on Dad's checklist done and a few things for Mom. She wants to sign up for a Korean language class and then plans on signing up for online college classes this fall.

 

The longest week ever

March 8th 2008 5:48 pm
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Monday, March 3rd.

I woke Mom up late. Well, late for me anyway. She got me brushed and dressed and got herself together. She, Dad, and I caught the bus. The bus seats are made for two on each side. Since both Mom and Dad have been carrying backpacks (with paperwork), and Mom has me, they sit across from each other. There were two women sitting behind Dad and they were talking about us instead of being polite enough to talk TO us. The one started with "There's a dog on the bus." Well, yeah. Then she starts (to the other one) about not wanting a dog around her baby. Mom was waiting for her to throw out the "A" word. (Allergic). Mom was going to have fun telling her that we have equal rights and that since we were sitting there first, maybe she should move. Fortunately, it didn't come to that.

We split up and it was soon apparent that Mom wasn't having the best of days. She had forgotten copies of Dad's orders. We had to stop what we were doing and catch a taxi to meet Dad (who happen to have extra copies on him).

She decided not to go back with the paperwork, but to go ahead and taxi to the vet's office so we'd be legal. It was like going up a mountain to get there. It is on the one corner of the base. Mom wasn't impressed with the front desk staff. Part of registration is so that if there is an evacuation they can account for the animals. Anything under 25# can evac out with their people. Mom made a point of letting them know that Bretta isn't a pet and that in an evac, she HAS to be allowed to go with us. He didn't get it. It wasn't like he was Korean and there was a language barrier. He also asked why Mom didn't bring the hard copies (file folders) of our records. At Ft. Meade, you had the option of keeping them so that you'd have them in cases of emergency. Mom prefers that. She did provide him with copies of our international health certificate, our regular health certificate and our rabies certificates.

Since she was feeling bad on top of it being one of those days, we headed home early and laid down until Dad got home. That was the best 3 hour nap.


Tuesday, March 4th.

We all woke up late (again). This jet lag is a pain. Mom had been up about 30 minutes and had gotten Bretta and I taken care of when Dad told her we had 12 minutes to catch the bus (or wait for the next one). Mom went into overdrive to get out the door in time. That is when I decided that I really needed to go poop.

Mom has a theory that deep down I sincerely believe that the fate of Western Civilization as we know it rests on where I decide to cop a squat. That is why I take my sweet time finding the perfect place. Dad told her that this morning it seemed my need to take my time was in direct proportion to how little time they had to get to the bus stop. Either way, it keeps them on their toes.

The bus driver did try to give Mom a hard time. She's beginning to wonder if we are going to have to go to the base commander and get them to issue a memo stating that there is now a SD team living in the compound and have it issued to the company that supplies the shuttle bus drivers and to the PX. The greeter keeps wanting us to wait for the manager to "approve" us. I don't think so. Mom is to the point she's going to complain to the PX company since the manager doesn't seem to want to do SD training for the 2 greeters.

We got off at the Hospital stop and managed to turn in the paperwork we had problems with yesterday. We then set off walking. Mom was miserable. I could tell she was about to cry so I tried to be a clown to make her laugh. It didn't work. She started telling me that she wants to go home. I don't think she meant the apartment. It got worse when we got to the "busy" sidewalk. (It is one that is off one of the really busy "main" roads.) I got her to stop at the Dragon for a rest and something to drink. (She always carries a cup and water for me.) It gave her a chance to regroup and let me rest. It was a really long walk.

Mom had to consult her map to double check where the building was at. When we walked back outside, it was starting to snow. So we stepped up the pace and finally wind up at these really, really steep stairs. Mom can see the building is at the bottom. She really got upset. See, Mom has bad knees and all of the walking had her hurting. She can walk up stairs pretty much ok, but going down the stairs really, really hurts. They were steep enough that I was having trouble. We took our time and made it inside, only to find out they had screwed something up when they put Mom and Dad into the system. No Ration card today. Mom was upset. She started crying after we walked out. We went back to the Dragon to meet Dad and have some lunch then caught a taxi to check the mail and go home. Our packages still haven't arrived.

While they were eating lunch, Mom came up with a new word. SNAIN. It was both snowing (huge flakes) and raining at the same time. It was strange looking. Then it went to raining hard, then back to snowing. All while they had lunch.

Wednesday March 5th.

Mom has been sick all day with a left side headache. I've been snuggled up with her. The phone company came by to install our phone service and then another phone company man came by to install our internet service. Dad hooked up our wireless stuff (that Mom had packed in her suitcase...smart Mom). So we now have access.

About 10PM, Bretta really made Mom laugh. She and Dad were taking us out for the night. Dad had B; Mom had me. Bretta barked (once) at this guy standing around talking on his phone. Mom just looked at her and Bretta dropped her head; she knew she shouldn't have done it, but I guess he startled her. Mom told her that she wasn't being ladylike.

Thursday, March 6th.

I got my first excursion off base. We rode the bus there and got done early. The pawrents didn't want lunch, so they decided to walk home. The base is divided into two sections. Normally to get from one side to the other, you go over this bridge. This time, we walked down a short little hill to a guard shack. There was this weird metal-bar revolving door that had a really small space to stand inside. I wanted to try it like a big boy. I don't see how Bretta will do it walking beside Mom. She's going to have to get in it behind Mom or something. Then they had to walk through two heavy metal doors and pass through part of the guard shack.

It was a long walk home. Mom wants to get a pedometer so she can measure it off. We passed at least half a dozen of the "Riot Squad" as Mom calls them. They walk around the outside perimeter with these canes that they have been known to use on protesters. Mom hasn't seen any protesters, but Dad says they come out every so often and these guys keep them in check. Mom wants to get my picture taken with them. They have cool uniforms.

We got up to about the half way point and we had to cross the road. Like 8 lanes total of heavy traffic. Thankfully there are places where it is safe to do it. That is about the half way point. I was doing fine, except I didn't like being close to the traffic while we waited to cross. I've never been in that kind of congestion before.

We got closer to the house and the sidewalk started getting really crowded. Vendors (interested in attracting as much American business as possible) have stuff overflowing onto the sidewalks and souvenir vendors set up at the edge of the street. It gets constricted. We got to this corner and a guy on a scooter (IRONY) scared me by coming up on the side walk. Scared me bad enough that Mom had to pick me up. I'm VERY wary of anything motorized with tires being very close while the motor is running. It is one thing if it is the Pawrents' vehicles, but this was totally different. As soon as he got off the sidewalk, I was fine and Mom put me back down.

Men kept trying to get my attention. I ignored most of it. Occasionally one would use a new sound - stuff that Mom's never heard - that made me turn my head. Mom told me to "Ignore it" so I did. I'm not real fond of some of the metal stuff on the sidewalk. Mom is fine with that since she knows in the summer it will get hot. She's pretty good about stuff like that and making sure I don't have to step on it. I'm learning to hop the 9-12" wide grating that is found in places on base and sometimes on the street.

My impression of Itaewon (the street/area name) is that it is sorta dirty, but has lots of interesting smells. I had to have my feet completely, washed when we got home. Mom was really careful of where I walked too. We have to watch out for pigeon poop. Mom and Dad took turns carrying me down some of the steeper hills. I was getting tired and I just wanted to go home. Mom also had to pick me up when we saw this loose dog. He was, by Mom's standards, cute. Some sort of terrier. He was about 10" tall and was rust, black, and white with his face having one eye with a large black patch (and the other rust). His hair looked like he was a cross between one of the wiry coated terriers and a yorkie. I didn't get to greet him and he went on his way without bothering us. Mom looked at Dad and he was all "NO. I'm sure he'll be fine." Sometimes I wonder what goes on in her head.

Dad made supper. He pan fried a couple of T-bones. Now Bretta knows the rules. If she's a good girl, she will get something. I guess she got antsy because Mom had already given me some veggies. Dad took her out to potty because Mom was going to give her a bath (then if she was good, she was going to get her treat). She took off for the kitchen as soon as Dad unhooked her leash. She grabbed part of Mom's steak off the counter. Dad caught her before she could eat it, but no one wants Malinois chewed steak since she slobbered on it. At least she was wise enough to "Drop it" when ordered. I thought about grabbing it for myself, but Mom saw me and told me to forget about it. Bretta won't be getting any people food treats for awhile. Mom is back to square one about her counter surfing. (We know WHY she does it. She was taught to do it for narcotics training. That doesn't mean she can do it now.) She's less stinky now. Mom gave her a good bath and said I get one tomorrow (Friday).

I had alerted Mom to a headache while she and I were in the bedroom. She decided to see what Bretta would do, so she stopped by her before going into the kitchen to take something. Bretta alerted. She's not real subtle, but she's very clear. She put her feet on Mom (sorta hugging her, but not quite; it kept Mom from really moving without making B get down). She then took her time sniffing both sides of Mom's head before whining (loud), licking, and gently nosing. Mom gave her a hug and Bretta got down and tried to herd Mom towards the couch. Mom gave her a lot of praise then went and took her meds. It was a rough night. Mom was up and down alot. The headache wasn't completely stopped by the meds and Mom's neck was still bothering her alot which means the left side of her head was thumping. I got up with her to keep her company; even if it is just curling up beside her in a chair.

I almost forgot. Dad's boss called. Seems that there has been a communication problem between the compound managers (who sit in an office somewhere - probably on base; Mom isn't sure) and the compound manager who actually sits in an office here on the compound. He's been getting all of these calls that we have 2 dogs. The boss gave the guy Dad's cell number and told him that the we aren't pets. The guy hasn't called. I think this is stressing Mom out a bit. They gave Dad a bit of a run around when he told them initially that we would be accompanying Mom. At one point, they had thought about putting us on the base. Mom isn't holding her breath, but she really wishes that is what they would do. Right now, it would be an easy move because we don't have much here. Our furniture won't be here until the end of April.

Dad also found out they have a job assignment for him until they get his Clearances squared away. That was supposed to have been done last year, but someone, somewhere else dropped the ball. Dad took his polygraph last week. So until the get done with the rest of it, he's going to work in the motor pool.

Friday, March 7th

We got to talk to some of our Snoop friends! Yeah! Mom has been trying to figure the best time to do that with the time difference. We even got to talk to my Snoop Big Brother, Bernie. He's the best Big Brother a little beagle could ask for.

Bretta made a big point of checking Mom out again. Then I got in trouble. Mom went to take Bretta out to potty and I misunderstood what she was doing. I thought she was leaving (since she had put on her trench coat). I stood at the door and whined and carried on loud enough she could hear me in the elevator. Mom sent me to my crate for a time out.

Yes, it is a form of separation anxiety. Mom thinks most medical alert and PSDs tend to have it to a certain degree due to the types of bonds needed for the job.

I'm a little peeved that I got the time out, even it she doesn't shut the crate door.

Bretta got to listen to the radio through Mom's laptop while we were gone. Another doctor appointment. Mom talked to a Marine wife at the bus stop. Mom hopes they can become friends. Mom also addressed the "White Elephant" once we got on the bus and the whispers started. Sometimes I don't know what gets into her, but it was worth it.

She announced, "Yes, there is a dog on the bus. He's a service dog; not a pet. This means that under Federal law he is allowed to go everywhere I go, except into a sterile surgical area. This also means he is allowed to live in No-Pets housing. The other dog I have is also a service dog." She got a few questions and everyone stopped whispering.

I was Awesome at the doctor appointment. The doctor didn't even know I was there until Mom picked up her purse and I came out from under the chair. Then Mom had to sit through an additional 15 minutes of questions because we were the first SD team this Korean doctor had ever seen. She was interested in HOW I detect. Mom directed her to the UF study from several years ago. No one is sure how we (migraine and seizure dogs), but there are a few theories.

Then we walked. The furniture store is almost to the Dragon. Mom has been wanting to see what they have to offer. They had rugs. Room size (12X15) carpet rugs. Unfortunately, the one that she really liked was the most expensive. The ones that were on sale were in teal and mauve. Not colors Mom wants. She found a smaller one that she liked and decided she wanted a foot stool/ottoman for me to use to get on and off the bed. She called Dad and since he was getting off work, he headed our way. While we were waiting, they unloaded some new rugs (6X9) and Mom found several she liked.

Dad informed her the shop next door was open. It is run by the Spouses' club. They have all sorts of Asian furniture, clothing, pottery and other cool stuff. Mom has been wanting to do the guest room in Asian inspired stuff. She found some furniture she really likes. She told Dad she needed a job so she can do up the house. He said there is a place that tries to find jobs for the spouses if they want one. Mom's seriously thinking about it.

So we came home with 3 big rugs, a smaller one, and my ottoman. The taxi ride home was fun. The big rugs were too large for the trunk, so they laid down the passenger seat and they took up one side of the back seat as well. We squeezed in. I took a nap. All the walking has me tired out.

I love carpeting. No more sliding on the floor. Now I have to convince them to buy enough to span from the bedroom to the living room. Mom has mentioned that she wants to go back and get another big one for the spare room. She said they had one that will go with the comforter and valances she has for the room.

I got a bath. I have to say, the tub is narrower than what I'm use to; and a whole lot deeper. Mom could fill it up and I'd have to swim. I do like the shower head. It's on a hose. Neither Mom nor I have to contort to get me completely rinsed. Mom had also washed all of the bedding and the linnens on the borrowed couch. So everything in clean. I love the smell of freshly laundered sheets. I like to roll on the freshly made bed. Mom has gotten use to it, so she just laughs at me.

Mom's head was pretty bad by 8PM. The left side was throbbing. She put off taking something until it was almost too bad. Dad finally convinced her to lay down. I went to bed with her. We had the one bedroom window (towards the foot of the bed) open. We kept hearing this dog barking. At first Mom thought it was coming from down the hall, but we finally figured out it was outside the compound walls. Mom told Dad we need to keep track of when we hear it because she's worried someone will try to say it was Bretta. Mom was up and down again for a little bit last night. I finally snuggled up against her chest and got her to go to sleep

 

I love my Stroller

March 9th 2008 9:37 pm
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Saturday, March 8th

Dad was a lazybones. I woke Mom up at 6:30. She took us out and fed us. I went back to bed, but she stayed up. I got up at 9. Dad didn't roll out of bed until after 10AM. We almost went in there and jumped on the bed to wake him up. Silly Daddy.

Mom is happy that the bedroom stays a bit darker than the one at the old apartment. We (she and I) think it is because all of our windows face North. That is good news for her headaches; especially since our curtains haven't gotten here yet.

The crazy woman left me! OK, I admit I'm sore from two days of distance walking. Mom is even sore. But she left me. She got dressed and they put B in the spare room. I went up to Mom and asked her "Hey, aren't you forgetting something?" I even walked over to my leash and work collar. Mom just picked me up and told me that I needed to stay home and rest; that we'd go do something when she and Dad got back. Then she took me into the bedroom and made sure my crate was in order before putting me on the bed and handing me my kong. I took it and just went to my crate. I was still in it when she came home.

I did the "You've been gone for too long" greeting with lots of light vocals and dancing. It gets her every time. I also gave her a lot of kisses. She was true to her word. She put my harness on me and loaded me into my stroller. I spent part of the excursion facing Mom and the other half facing forward watching the world go by. Yes, I could even keep tabs on Mom. A lot of that is just plain communication. She says I'm very straightforward with making myself clear; especially when I want to check her.

We started up the big hill; the one Mom thinks would be fun to street luge. Past the Thai embassy is the store Mom has been seeing. It is a vet clinic/grooming/supply store. They had some kitties that were up for adoption. One was huge; looked like he easily surpassed twenty pounds. Very big boned and Siamese-y.

When we left, we went downhill. Mom found a flower shop she wants to go back by and get a few things. Maybe on Monday. They had purple lilies...or maybe they were some sort of tulip. Bulb-based; so maybe Mom won't kill them. We passed several places that sell Sushi. Mom was amazed by how much food was on the 5,000won (roughly $5) plate. Dad and I may have to order a couple of plates. We also passed a restaurant with a big tank of live crabs. They didn't look like Maryland crab; more like short legged king crab. Mom let me watch them for a few minutes.

Evidentially, we made for a funny sight. Some of the younger bunch walked by and giggled or pointed. What? No one has ever seen a beagle in a stroller? The gate guard had a hard time trying to keep a straight face. He asked Mom why I wasn't walking today. (He saw us come in the other day; when I was walking.) Mom told him I was sore. He just shook his head when he scanned her card. She asked him if it was fair to make a sore baby walk. He said "NO." So Mom told him that I was a hairy baby and I needed a break.

So, the pawrents have been giving me some light massage to help. Like I said earlier, Mom is sore too. Her left knee has been squishy. She can soak in the tub; I can't (and I don't think I want to try). I like the stroller. Mom has told me we can use it more, but only off base. Mom and Dad also discussed working Bretta into Mom's schedule. If Mom knows she will be doing a lot of walking, then maybe taking Bretta instead of me. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

 

I'm a working dog; not a pet....Don't blame my parents for- your poor choices.

March 9th 2008 10:14 pm
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Monday, March 10th 1:13PM

Mom and Dad decided to take us out to PLAY. There is an area by the softball and basketball courts that is fenced in that they thought would work. With the gates shut, Bretta could be allowed off-lead and well, I'm not, but I can follow my nose (which is why Mom put my harness on instead of my work collar).

We were on our way over there when this car goes by, the window rolls down and this woman yells that we aren't allowed here. Mom calls back, "Service Dogs." We go on our way. Mom and Dad had taken turns throwing Bretta's retrieving kong and making her work for it. Off lead heeling exercises before being released to go get the kong. Recalls before being released, ect. We've been playing for almost 20 minutes when here comes the woman. Bretta was about pooped.

Her tone was aggressive and WAAAYYYY out of line. "This is no pets housing."
Mom> "These are service dogs; not pets. They are allowed to live here."
Her> "WHO do they service?" (yeah, her tone was quite frosty.)
Mom> "Me."
Her> "Both of them" (disbelieving statement)
Mom> "Yes."
Her> "What's wrong with you?" (She was eying Mom up and down)
Mom> "I have a medical condition that they alert to." (Mom was waiting for her to push the issue, Mom wasn't going going to provide her with a complete medical history. Dad had to suppress a smirk; he knew what Mom would say if the conversation went that way.)
Her> "That's not right. I had to give up my dogs." (PROBLEM PINPOINTED)
Mom>"These two are not considered pets. They are allowed by law to go everywhere I go, including to the hospital."
Her> "I don't care." (Fine, we get it. You are pissed that you had to give up your dogs. You could have chosen to live off base and keep them, but instead, you chose to give them up and now want to take it out on us.) Then she starts with "It isn't fair to the kids that live here. Who is going to explain to them why you are allowed to have pets." (Dad calls it the "Think of the children bullcrap")
Mom> "Under law, they are not considered pets. As far as explaining to the kids, the parents can do it or I have been when they ask."
Her> "I'm going to the housing managers."
Mom> "Why don't you do that. They are well aware the dogs are here."
Mom is then accused of interrupting the woman's rant. Dad then tells her that she's way out of line. She starts with it not being right that rules are being bent for us. Then she DEMANDS to know if Mom and Dad have been cleaning up behind us. Times like this it is good I can't talk.

The pawrents carry bags with them all the time. Dad keeps them in his jacket and Mom carries them in her jean's pocket. Mom also carries them in "our" bag along with baby wipes and disinfecting wipes. Mom bought a big package of them the other day since our boxes haven't arrived.

This crap is why Mom would rather they had given us a place on the main part of base (with all the brass). We aren't trying to get something over on the complex managers. Mom needs us; both of us. Bretta isn't done learning all of my skills and there are things she is doing for Mom that I can't (due to my size). As far as the kids go, Mom has let Bretta visit with several since we got here. She takes the time to explain that we have an important job (and aren't pets). These kids then sometimes ask questions, which Mom is happy to answer. The kids ask before they are allowed to pet Bretta and she has to be given the command to "visit". Mom also takes the time to explain to them that I am very fixated on work and not interested in visiting.

If the 3-year-olds at the bus stop can understand that I have a job, then why can't this woman?

 

Ups and Downs...homesick, a new friend, and just getting out- of the apartment

March 11th 2008 10:16 pm
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Tuesday March 11th

Poor Mom is about fed up with this place. She'd throw a screaming fir it it would help. We have to share our glassed in porch with a set neighbors that just moved in. There is a partition, but it leave about a 3-4 inch gap at the bottom and at least 6 inches at the top. They are smokers. Mom is allergic to the stuff; asthma attack allergic, plus just a slight whiff is enough to give her a migraine. We can no longer open our door going out there and crack the window for fresh air. Dad had to show Mom how to turn on the AC unit (which sits out there, so if they have their door open, they get to listen to the loud hum). She's already pretty ticked that anytime we walk out into the hallway it reeks like an ashtray because the neighbors on the other side smoke like a 5 alarm fire. We didn't bargin for this crap.

Mom's also sorta in a "bad place" mentally and physically. She's trying to get off of some long term meds that are giving her a fit. Weaning and stopping cold turkey are about the same as far as the side effects go. She and Dad are pretty sure this medication has been making the left side of her head hurt. Plus, they have been talking about adding a two legged baby to the family, so Mom has to be off of this stuff. Plus, she is missing Florida and her friends. I've got my paws full. I'm not real fond of this place either, but just being with Mom makes me happy, so I'll do what I have to do.

Wednesday March 12th

Mom and I went to base to meet an e-mail friend at the Dragon. She and Mom started corresponding back in November when neither could get any information from a military spouses group about accompanied tours. She came over in December and has been keeping Mom informed on what stuff is like and places to go. She's nice. We are going to go to a big flower market with her next week or so.

After she left, we walked down to the thrift store to see what they had. Mom is always on the lookout for sheets to cover the borrowed couch or stuff to give Bretta as bedding. They didn't have anything like that. Just lots and lots of very unfashionable clothes that someone much, much older might be interested in wearing. While Mom is in no way a slave to fashion, she was surprised.

The nice gift shop/oriental store was open. We browsed for a bit. Mom found a couple of decorative plates that she really wants to go back and get. One has a Chinese style dragon and the other is a phoenix. That's my totem.

We made a quick stop at the shopette to grab a drink for Mom. She earned that one. She had to do some major blocking to keep this little kid off me; he didn't want to leave me alone. He had a coloring book in one hand that he was waving wildly about. His Dad wasn't watching him at all. Mom was very firm when she told him he could not pet me. He kept his hands to himself, but was still trying to invade my space (book still flapping about). I turned my butt to him and kept an ear cocked. I don't like being hit in the face with stuff. I don't like being hit period, but getting hit in the face is the worst. Mom had my back.

We actually caught the bus back to the compound. Mom was a little worried that the bus driver would refuse to pick us up. Some guy was there to catch it as well and he let us board first. Mom was very thankful. It is weird, you have to get off at the main gate to the compound to get your ID scanned. We got off, were scanned, Mom put up her card and put me down (the steps are too steep for me to climb). We were stopped by one of the guards we've seen before at the gate to the base. She's scanned our IDs several times.

Mom is unsure if she was trying to tell us "No Pets" or trying to ask about me. Big communication problem. Mom went with the "No Pets" and was trying to explain that I am allowed. The woman kept trying to get my attention. Mom really hates it when they just don't understand that I am not going to listen to them, follow their commands, ect. To make it worse, she bent over trying to get in my face. I gave her "the Butt". It is just what it sounds like. I stuck my butt in her face and ignored her. Mom said, "Let's go" and I fell in step.

It is warm out today. Mom has turned on the AC in the living room and the bedroom. We are going to take a nap; Mom and I both need one.

 

Down time, elevator rides, and Mom being stubborn

March 15th 2008 2:29 am
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Friday, March 14th

Mom still isn't feeling well and Dad has been having some sinus issues; maybe a cold. Mom and I snuggled up under the covers until nearly 11AM. They have some sort of crow/jay looking birds around here and those things are noisy. Mom would love to put out a hit on the ones right outside the window.

There was a LOUD siren that went off twice. We were all in the living room the first time. The second time, Mom and Bretta had gone outside. I was laying at the door waiting on Mom when they came back. Mom happened to be on her cell phone with Dad when it went off the second time. He told her it was the civil siren and that they test it quite often, though this is the first time we've heard it.

We went down to the place by the softball field so I could snoop around and Bretta could do some work and play a bit. Mom tethered me to a fence post since she's not sure what's on the other side of the area. There was some kid playing on the basketball court. He acted like he'd never seen a dog like Bretta. Mom does this thing where she has Bretta walking off lead at a heel, tosses the retrieving kong over her shoulder, tells Bretta to "mark" it as they continue (Bretta looks at where it landed, but keeps on walking), before she releases Bretta to retrieve it. Sometimes she even puts her in long down/stays and walks away (over to me or just plays around) before releasing her. Bretta enjoys it.

I don't like the old women who clean the inside of the building (doing the floors and stuff). They tend to stare at us really funny. Plus, from what Mom has learned of the culture, they are in the age bracket where they've probably tried my kind at least once. The good news is that Bretta intimidates them. We got stuck riding down in the elevator with them this afternoon. Bretta immediately just didn't like the situation so she stared them down the entire ride. Mom was trying really hard to keep a straight face. Bretta generally thinks, because of her police training, that she must go through the door first. She did a complete 180. She waited and I went first, then Mom, and she brought up the rear.

Dad brought me home a fifteen foot cable tie-out for our excursions. That will make things a bit more fun for me while Mom is working Bretta. Mom is hopeful to find out more info about my exact off-base status shortly. She found the website for a local guide dog school. Samsung sponsors them and a lot of contests for military working dogs over here. She's e-mailing them to see if they can point us in the right direction.

Dad has to go into work for a couple of hours tomorrow. Then they are talking about going across the river via the subway to see about getting us some more food. Mom says we must keep me in EVO. I'm missing my RAW. Mom hasn't been able to locate a butcher shop let alone one that deals in organic meats. She's not had Chicken since we got here and is actually craving it. The closest NV dealer doesn't carry the pre-made RAW. The next closest is in Japan. They don't have prices listed.No Orijen around here either. Mom is going to look at ordering it from the states; Bretta loves her Orijen 6 Fish.

Mom knows the question is going to come up at some point. It is only natural that other pups are going to want to know. Have we seen a dog market? So far (and Thank Dog) NO. We will let you know if we do.

Saturday, March 15th

They did it again. They left me. Not to go in search of Evo goodness. Unfortunately, that place never would answer their phone. Mom spent part of the morning looking up places that will ship to us. Instead, they went out walking. The plants that Mom had looked at last week were 4X as much this week. So, they stayed at the flower store. That is a bummer. I do think Mom learned her lesson about using Dad as a Service Human/Person.

She did say that if she got to feeling better we'd go take pictures in front of the Harley Davidson store. She wants to send them to a couple of people as well as post them for everyone here.

 

A trip to the commissary....a visit with the MPs

March 15th 2008 3:44 am
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Saturday evening...around 5PM

I went with Mom and Dad to the mini-commissary on base. Dad could have gone by himself, but Mom feels that it is best that we are seen. Otherwise, the message isn't getting out. Bretta and I are here, we are authorized, and we aren't going to sit in the apartment and hide. She's also trying to desensitize the workers at the commissary so they will stop "Heey, you cute puppy" at me every time I turn around.

We got several stares as we were walking toward the store. Mom didn't think anything of it. She knows it is going to happen. We go inside and the baggers say "Hello" to all three of us. (They are getting the idea; Mom realizes it will take time.) Mom and Dad are on the pasta aisle having a discussion about not having a strainer when here comes two American MPs.

"The dog can't be here." They addressed Dad, not Mom. Ok, yes, it is obvious, Dad is the one in the military, but still.
"He's a service dog." Dad has the answer down pat.

They look at me. Really look. Then they get this kinda confused, not quite sure of what to do look. That is when Mom says, "He's allowed everywhere I go; including the hospital."

"Thank you. Have a nice day."

Mom would really like to know who decided to step over to the guard shack. She found the e-mail address for the compound newsletter on our way back while we were waiting for the elevator. She's thinking about writing them a nice little piece and sending them the links to the Department of Justice information. If we are going to be stuck living around these people, they can get over themselves.

BTW, the pasta in a garlic tomato sauce with mushrooms was outstanding as was the piece of fig newton.

 
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