Bus training and lunch portraits

On Friday, Brad and I took Felix on the bus for the first time! We need to get him used to riding public transit so that he will eventually be ready to fly on an airplane. The bus today was his very first time on public transit. He’s been around busses and trucks before, and worked through a little sound sensitivity around them previously.

We were late leaving the house, so we were really rushing to get unloaded from the van and make it over to the bus stop before the bus came! We made it with maybe 4 minutes to spare. Brad got a few pictures at the bus stop while we were waiting for the bus to arrive. I am wearing my galaxy dress, and Felix has on his popsicle cooling vest with a purple service dog harness over top of it. He is a sable and white Japanese Chin. In all the pictures, Brad is using pieces of colored film, crystals, or prisms to create interesting rainbow and blurry effects around the edges of the pictures.

Brad got on the bus first. He backed onto the bus, which is very hard to turn that 90 degree angle going backwards! So he was facing forwards. I couldn’t back in, and I also couldn’t turn around because Brad’s wheelchair was in the way, so I just rode the bus facing backwards. As I boarded, the driver asked to see Felix’s rabies certificate. I told him that was not required, and he asked me two more times, but eventually gave up on trying to get me to show paperwork.

Felix did a good job! He was mildly stressed, but able to work through it. A little bit of yawning and lip licking, but not too much. Pretty much what I’d expect for a fist time on a bus. The bus driver was very jerky, so we kept being thrown around in our chairs, so it was a difficult first ride for him. Brad got some pictures of me being strapped in and us riding the bus!

When we got off the bus, we headed over to Moe’s for lunch. We had coupons left over from the convention, so we wanted to use them, and this was the perfect opportunity! It wasn’t yet too hot for Felix to walk on the concrete, so I did some heel training with him on our way to Moe’s. He did a very good job! Especially for being outside and in a place he hasn’t been before! Brad got a few pictures of us wheeling over to Moe’s.

Brad had to use the bathroom, so he headed inside. I decided to try using the door to Moe’s with Felix on the ground. This is something we’re working on—sending Felix through doors first, and then me following behind in my wheelchair. He did a pretty good job! But once we were in Moe’s, I put him in my lap because the line is quite narrow and I didn’t want to risk running over him. Brad got some pictures of us in line ordering our food and paying.

We headed outside to eat, and Felix did an OK job of staying on his mat and relaxing while we ate. He kept wanting to investigate interesting smelling pieces of concrete, though, so I had to remind him several times to stay on his mat. Oh well.

After we ate, Brad tried out some of his new color flash filters. They make the flash a particular color, and apparently somehow that I don’t understand, Brad can edit the pictures to make the background a different color than it actually was. Camera magic! Brad used an orange filter and a purple filter, and got several beauty shots of me and Felix.

We were there about an hour, and then had to head back to the bus stop. We went back inside Moe’s to use the restroom again, and I used the door with Felix on the floor again! This time Brad got pictures!

We arrived at the bus stop with 15 minutes to spare, but the stop was in full sun, so we spent 10 minutes at a nearby park taking pictures on their beautiful wooden bridge. We got pictures of Brad, too, wearing a red and white striped jacket. He has a black bowler hat on and says he was dress like a carnival barker! Also included are pictures of the fountain where we were eating.

With 5 minutes to spare, we made it to the bus stop. This was the same bus stop that our friend Sabrina went careening down the hill behind the last time we used it. We talked with Rock Hill (the city, not a landscape feature) and they made big changes to the stop. They made a really big concrete platform so there’s plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair, and they put railings around it so you can’t fall off the edge! We got lots of pictures there.

Then we got back on the bus to go back to our car. We had the same driver, and he didn’t ask for a rabies certificate again, which was nice. Felix was a little more stressed on this bus ride at first, because we had to do a lot of sharp turns as soon as we got on the bus. Still, Brad got a video of Felix riding the bus (yes, he’s a little stressed, but I don’t think too badly), and many pictures. Near the end of the bus ride, Felix really started to relax and took a little nap on my chest, it was so cute!

Overall I’m pleased with how Felix did. I think I need to do one more bus ride maybe just to be sure he’s really getting comfy on the bus before I plan to fly. But he did a pretty good job. He was a little stressed, but not overly so, and he did eventually relax. I call this one a win!

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