Today our Service Dogs on the Town class rode the bus, My Ride Rock Hill! There were four dogs in attendance and a few people, too. Brad was there taking pictures, Scarlet came and helped with training and videography, Scarlet’s mom came to eat, I was there with Hestia, Barbara with Tripper, Cynthia with Kilo, and Phyllis with Avalanche.
After a little looking, we found the bus stop. Unfortunately there wasn’t a paved area there! Not very accessible, but Brad’s power chair can go on grass so it wasn’t a huge deal for us. Scarlet and I got some pictures together before everyone else arrived, and Hestia was very happy to see Scarlet again!
Then Cynthia with Kilo arrived. Hestia was VERY excited to see them! She kept standing up on her back feet she was so excited, which made me very very embarrassed. I had to keep walking away and refocusing her. Ugh.
Phyllis with Avalanche arrived next, she saw us waiting on the corner and turned right in. Hestia was excited to see Avalanche, but she is able to ignore her much better than Kilo!
Eventually Brad heard my phone ringing– turns out Barbara with Tripper was lost and had been calling me for a while! She was in a fluster because she was worried they’d miss the bus, but eventually we figured out where she was and how she could get to us. Hestia was again VERY excited to see Tripper and stood on her hind legs again– more embarassment.
We only had about 5 minutes to wait before the bus showed up. The ramp folds out, very quick and easy! Brad went on first using the wheelchair ramp, while Scarlet videotaped, then all the dogs went on with their people. Everyone went on very well.
When the bus started, the dogs handled it great! Until there was a quick acceleration and Tripper and Avalanche went sliding across the floor! Avalanche recovered quickly, but Tripper got a bit nervous. Kilo was a pro on the bus– he’s ridden it before but had a bad experience. Riding it with the other dogs seemed to make things easier for him. Hestia had a bigger challenge than usual because I stood up and made her stand up, too!
After two stops, we got off and gave the dogs a sniff walk on the way over to Panera to relieve the stress of the first bus ride for Avalanche and Tripper.
We hung out in Panera for about an hour. We spent a while discussing how the bus ride went for everyone, and everyone gave each other good feedback and tips for riding the bus. It was really nice to see how supportive of each other everyone was!
Then we talked about our upcoming airport trip, hopefully in February. We talked a lot about how to go through security. I got to tell my funny story with my first service dog, Sabrina. I went through security with her once, and she set off the metal detector. This means the TSA agent has to pat her down to make sure she’s OK. The agent was male, and he asked me if Sabrina was a boy or a girl. I told him she was a girl, and he radioed for a female agent to come and pat Sabrina down! I thought that was so funny, and everyone today thought it was really funny, too.
Eventually we made our way back to the bus stop. It took a while because we worked on heeling there. And it had gotten chilly out, so we were shivering while we waited for the bus. Unfortunately the bus was late!
When the bus finally came, all the dogs did a great job getting on again. This time every pup was more relaxed. This was especially noticeable for Tripper, who was really calm– we were all very proud of him! He and Barbara sat up front next to Brad, and Avalanche and Phyllis sat in the very back of the bus. Hestia and I stood up in the middle of the bus, and Cynthia with Kilo joined us! That was the first time they’ve ridden like that!
We had the most excellent bus driver! She was so kind to everyone as we got on and off the bus. But most importantly, she made sure that we were safe at all times. I had to go turn my medication reminder alarm off (it was in Brad’s backpack) and she told me to hold on when she was about to go and waited until I was holding on before she went. Another time Cynthia was bending over while we were stopped at a light, and the driver called out again that we were about to go so that Cynthia could hold on. She was really one of the best bus driver’s I’ve ever seen (and I have ridden public transit a LOT!).
When we got off the bus, everyone was really pleased with how all the dogs did, and really looking forward to the next class. It was so much fun! I was proud of Hestia, too! I knew she’d ride the bus just fine, but I was more worried about the dog distractions. Yes, at the start she was pretty distracted, but as soon as we got on the bus the first time she was all business and stayed that way pretty much the whole outing. Go Miss Hestia!
We shot a video that includes us getting on and off the bus, it is below. Below that are the pictures Brad took. Hestia is a small white and black Japanese Chin with a smushed nose. Kilo is a medium sized black and tan mix. Tripper is a light colored Golden Retriever. Avalanche is a giant Great Pyrenees mix.