Thursday, May 20, 2010


Serena, Carly and I got back yesterday from our week long cruise to the Caribbean and it was awesome!! Serena has now been to Jamaica, Bahamas, The Cayman Islands and Mexico!  I had no access to internet on the ship so I couldn't update the blog so this is going to be crazy long.  I made all the pictures small but you can click on them if you want to see a bigger version!

We left out of O'Hare Sunday morning.  Serena was wonderful in the airport.  She impressed the TSA agents at security by staying on the other side of the metal detector while I walked through then coming when I called her. She didn't have a collar, leash or her vest on while going through since we had to put those in the bucket.  We entertained people at our gate with some of her commands and began the endless stream of answering questions that continued throughout the vacation.

We got to board the plane first and had the bulk head seats so there was a little more room for our carry on bags, Serena and our legs.  I gave her a busy bone to keep her busy while on the plane but this back fired the minute we got off.  Apparently it upset her stomach and of course we were the furtherest gate from the exit outside.  She had diahera all the way out of the airport.  We tried to get her out as fast a possible but she couldn't control it.  I was cleaning up poo all the way out of the airport! At the time it was horrifying and embarrasing but now Carly and I think it was hysterical.  Poor Serena.  She was so upset!

We took a taxi ride to the docks and had no trouble going through all the check-ins at the cruise ship.  No one questioned the dog and right on board we went.  I had to ask the front desk to show us where her potty box was because I didn't want to wander the ship looking for it.  They had placed it under a stairwell outside on the 7th deck.  It was filled with mulch and they provided us a bucket to discard her poop.  She went right on in and peed like a good girl.

We explored the ship some while waiting for it to leave.  Many people were shocked to see a dog on board and more questions ensued.  I was totally okay with people asking questions because that is expected but some of the ways they phrased their questions was horrifying.  I had many people come up to me and  just say "What is wrong with you?"  This was annoying because if I really did have a medical condition that I needed Serena for I wouldn't want to explain it to strangers.  But people are people and I know some didn't mean it like that so I would explain that she was a service dog in training and educate them about service dogs.  There were many nice passengers on the ship that I talked to for awhile.  I was able to hand out some business cards for My Angel with Paws and spread more word about the organization!

Unlike some of the passengers, the crew on the ship were amazing with Serena.  Many of the crew members are on the ship for 10 months at a time and almost never see a dog.  They were so excited when I would allow them to pet Serena or say hi to her.  When we did training sessions whoever was working around us would stop and watch and some would take pictures or video tape it.  It was really nice to be able to share Serena with them.  All of the crew went out of their way if Serena needed anything.  The ship even provided us with a doggie life jacket that was in our room when we got there.  So when we went to practice the emergency drill Serena got to practice wearing her lifejacket too!!

Serena settled onto the ship very nicely.  She was a little hesitant about the crowds but trusted me enough to not freak out.  When the ship left port we watched from one of the upper balconies and Serena enjoyed the breeze.

Our days with Serena were pretty much the same.  We would wake up and go down 7 levels to her box so she could go pee.  Then we would go up to the dining room and get breakfast.  If we were somewhere that day we would then take her back to the room and leave her in her portable crate while we went ashore.  I never took her off the boat since some of the Islands had strict regulations and also because I felt it would be safer for her to stay aboard.  Once Carly and I were done exploring we would come back and either take her for a walk around the ship or if it was quiet do a training session.  It is really good for Serena to get used to working for other people so a lot of the time Carly would train her while I gave her tips and technique help.  We would always have people stop to watch Serena perform which was great.  If the decks were too crowded we would train her at night and then run her around and have some silly puppy time.

During at sea days the boat was usually more crowded so we would just take Serena with us around the ship and such.  It was usually really hot during the middle of the day so Serena would stay in her crate in the air conditioning.

Our nights began with dinner in the fancy dining room.  The Maitre d' at the dining room would go out of his way every night to find us a seat where Serena could sleep out of the way.  The first night he put us at a table right by the front which had tons of room for Serena but every who went into the dining room could see her.  This led to people interrupting Carly and I having a nice meal to ask if they could pet my dog.  I told everyone no because she was passed out sleeping.  One lady tried to argue with me and said "but her eyes are open" and then got mad when I still said "no she is resting and I don't want to disturb her."  This lady said "FINE" and stomped away.  Oh boy!  After that night the Maitre d', without us asking, put us out of the way and in great locations every night.  He was awesome.  So was the dining room staff.  They all loved seeing Serena there and some of our waiters even would read her the menu.  Too bad I wouldn't let her have anything!  After dinner, the ship would have different entertainment shows.  We took Serena to a String Quartet performance, a comedy show and a musical play.  She was very good throughout all of them.

Only a few things freaked Serena out on the ship.  The first was the elevator.  She would go in and stay there but would try to run out every time the door opened.  I think it was because people kept crowding her  and trying to pet her.  But by the end of the cruise she stopped doing that and was very good about waiting till it was our turn to leave.  She also didn't like the salon.  Carly and I went to get a manicure and brought Serena along.  For whatever reason it freaked her out.  I think it was because it was very sanitary and maybe smelled like a vet or something.  Once she realized that we weren't doing anything to her she lay down and fell asleep.  This just means I will have to go get more manicure and bring her with! hahaha.  

One thing that I thought would freak her out but didn't was the massive luau they had onboard.  They were playing loud music and people were everywhere.  She just sat there and took it all in.  She even let the crew put leis on her and walked around in them!

The last night we went to the club on the ship to see what it was all about.  Serena didn't mind the flashing floors and smoke and everything else that was going on.  The DJ was nice and loved Serena.  He even let her "disk jockey" for a little bit.

We left the ship at 9 the last day.  We had to go through customs and Serena was very good.  The customs agent asked if Serena wanted to help him look for heroine.  She politely declined his offer.  After that it was another cab ride to the airport where we checked in.  We were supposed to then go explore Fort Lauderdale since our plane wasn't for 10 hours but I got very sick feeling and we had to stay in the airport the entire time.  Thank god Carly and Serena are wonderful.  On the plane ride home Serena slept most of the time.   She even was passed out through the takeoff and landing!  We got off the plane as fast as possible and really hoped she didn't have another airport poopfest.  Fortunately her stomach was totally okay and we made the super long walk out of the airport without any accidents.  Serena got home, played with her toy and promptly fell asleep.  I think she had a tiring vacation!

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing experience!!! Serena is SUCH a lucky girl and vice versa (of course).......can't wait to see her again - Auntie Karen


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