Hi Friends –
I don’t always get out of the house, but when I do, it’s to do weird things.
The day before yesterday Mom was working on her laptop and Dad was on a call for work. Mom looked up and said to Dad: “Hey, Senator Sanders is going to be in Tulsa tomorrow night for a rally. Do you want to go? Dad said “I really do!”
Of course this means that all of the typical ground work needs to be done, and just some of the questions that need to be answered when you are taking your charges out in public are: Where is the event? Does it have parking? Will there be any concern for the ADA? Will there be other Service Dogs there? Can I keep Dad safe with such a big crowd? Well, the answer to those questions are that the event was held in the old Tulsa Civic Center, but in a convention space and not the main coliseum. The capacity for the room was posted as 3,600!? Okay… This means there should be plenty of parking. Mom called ahead and confirmed that they would be setting aside accessible seating for those who needed it; she said that there would be about a hundred or so seats reserved. Dad’s concern about other dogs is valid, but hey… we got this! This could be a historic event so we have to go and commit to the work.
Both Mom and Dad are passionate about the types of changes in this country that Mr. Sanders is proposing. To make it to the event on relatively short notice, of course, means that schedules needed major adjustments. The human puppies have a lot of appointments so Mom had to make some changes and call in some backup from friends so that the youngest pup didn’t have to tag along and be totally bored to tears. The oldest came with us, we think it’s important to show her that involvement in something larger than yourself can be a valuable life experience.
Mom picked up the youngest from school so we didn’t have to wait for a bus. Those things may be as big as a Dane, but they sure are slow! I had my dinner early and the youngest had a snack before we dropped her off at her appointment. The rest of the family ate dinner on the road. Not ON the road, that would be gross. They ate in the car while driving. Dad let Mom drive because she can multi-task slightly better than Dad, and she know Tulsa a bit better, too. I don’t like when she drives us because she refuses to use cruise control and tends to take corners a bit too hard, but it really doesn’t happen that often, so we let it go with just some good-natured ribbing. [Editor’s Note: They are such whiners!!]
We made it to downtown and we saw thousands of people lined up for what had to be at least a couple of city blocks. The wave of people all seemed to be heading to the same place we were. Mom and Dad questioned their decision for a moment, but sometimes you need to jump in the puppy pile and make your way to the front of the pack. We weren’t real sure where to park because no one saw the sky-walk that we heard connected the parking garage to the event center. Dad saw garage parking on the corner of the nearest block, so we called it good and paid our $5.00. We did find accessible parking by the elevator lobby, so we figured we had made it. Of course, our assumption was a bit off. We exited the elevator car to a dog-gone long line of people. The human pup asked Dad if we should get in line. Dad looked up ahead and saw the event center across the next street, and a path to follow, so he handed her my fluffy. Dad gave me a pet, said “walk on – with me – to the right.” That is what we all did. There was no way we would be able wait in line that long, Dad would fall a millions times in that line! BUT there was NO WAY we would miss this so Dad led us as quickly as possible right past the waiting people, alongside the building to the first set of doors. As we kept moving, he asked Mom to check those doors. She slid ahead, and said, “Nope”. Without slowing down, we kept trucking. We passed a set of concrete steps and headed for some open doors. Dad didn’t make eye contact with ANYONE! If anyone other than the family spoke, he didn’t respond. We were on a mission. [One volunteer asked me and the pup where we were going, but we just said we were with them and she let us keep going!] We made it to the doors and Dad heard someone from behind us trying to get our attention. He just said, NO! And headed for the stairs. Again, too funny. Mom stopped long enough and found that the gentleman was working the event and wanted to help point us to the ADA entrance. Mom thanked him, and we headed to an attendant flagging us in. [Editor’s Note: When Dan is focused on one thing it is hard to let other things in. Part of the rewiring the CP brain has to do to keep him moving.]
Success! Once inside Mom asked for accessible seating. The next thing I knew I had a personal escort to a private entrance. The attendant asked us to follow, as he moved the crowds and warned people to watch for a “big-dawg comin’ through!!” We thanked him as he pointed us to our entrance. Before we get to the doors there is a check point where they are checking bags and using a hand-held metal detector. These folks were as serious as a heart attack! Yes, they were REAL Secret Service, the real deal. None of us were concerned, we just handed out cards and told them about the blog! Of course, they were super nice, and told me they would be following our adventures. Quite fitting for a Secret Service Dog, if I do say so myself.
Now we are inside the event room and are handed off to a volunteer to find us seats. She finds me the perfect spot for my fluffy and dad sits, then asks me to ‘down-stay’. Everyone was so nice, and helpful and even offered us all water. (Even me, but I don’t drink often on duty so I respectfully decline. [He makes such a drooly mess we try to avoid it if we can.]) There was a bit of a shuffle of folks around us, but we kept our spots. There were a few folks that came in who requested a sign language interpreter. As they were being accommodated they sat next to us. Dad, felt a little lack in the communication department, when all he could do was smile and nod. They eventually moved to the front right corner, where the interpreter was. Our new seat mate was an older gentleman, who we came to find out, was in attendance for the civil rights march, Kent State, and many other pivotal social movements. He told us that this event gave him that feeling back; one he had not felt in quite a while. It may be that his presence is a sign from the Universe. He chatted with Dad all night about many different topics, but of course they shared their love of animals, especially dogs. He was quite impressed with my ‘down-stay’ and attentiveness to Dad. By the end of the night I felt so comfortable with him, I put my head on his knee.
We met so many wonderful people, an uncommon event in a crowd, for sure. We overheard Mom chatting about Salem, MA., Hex, and our friends in New England. Soon enough, directly behind Dad, a woman asks if we know about explore.org and the Danes on-line? Mom smiled and pointed to me, saying, that is where I am from. We gave her an SDP card and a Casper card! It’s so fun how you can run into people just about anywhere who know about SDP Danes! Mom and Dad say they feel like the entourage for a celebrity.
Mom says she has stuff to share about the rally, too, so I think tomorrow I will let her guest write a post for you guys.
P.S. By the way, this was really a cool event, but I was just a little disappointed when it was over. Mom had been talking about how it was almost time for my backyard bunnies to start visiting. When they said we were going to see Bernie I thought they said BUNNY. I mean, he was pretty cool, but he wasn’t backyard bunny cool!