Friday, August 11, 2017

Bringing things up to date

Trooper ashore at Anchorage.
It has been a few months since my last post, primarily for reasons of sloth. This morning, however, I am experiencing an unaccustomed burst of ambition. And so here I be.

In June Debby, Trooper and I took a two-week round-trip Alaskan cruise from Seattle to Seattle aboard the Holland-America ship Amsterdam, in service of our 50th wedding anniversary celebration. It was one of those trips that went exceedingly well, with no unpleasant adventures.

Trooper in our stateroom. He would have slept on that bed—if we let him.

We had chosen Alaska because there was no need to obtain annoying veterinary paperwork to take Trooper ashore at foreign ports for a few hours' visit. Many countries, especially Caribbean island nations, require not only rubber stamps but also special immunizations, some of which are quite expensive. All we needed for Alaskan ports was a valid rabies certificate, and that is a state requirement—not a national one.

We did get a Form 7001, the classic International Animal Health Certificate, signed by our veterinarian—just in case U.S. customs and immigration decided to be difficult during re-entry to the mainland at Seattle. It didn't.

We took a constitutional around the promenade deck several times a day.

There was just one brief awkward moment when an Alaskan venue refused entry to Trooper. A young woman said "No dogs! No dogs!" at the door of the Baranov Museum on Kodiak Island.

"He's coming in!" said our tour guide.

"No dogs!"

Trooper's customized relief box on the stern of the ship.
At which the tour guide quickly proceeded to educate the young woman, who spoke with a Russian accent, about U.S. service dog laws. We suspect she may have been an exchange student doing an internship at the museum, named for the governor when Alaska was a Russian colony.

And that was that.

Baranov Museum, Kodiak Island.
There was one small incident in the ship's buffet restaurant that was slightly painful.

It was the height of lunchtime, and crowds were milling from serving station to serving station. I was trying to thread Trooper through the forest of legs to safety when I momentarily took my attention off him to apologize to a woman whose elbow I had jostled.

Just then a waiter pushed a multilevel cart of desserts past us. The bottom shelf, laden with pies and tarts, lay right at the level of Trooper's head, and . . .

There were witnesses, both passengers and crew. But the captain never did summon us before the mast for a tongue-lashing.

The lesson: Even highly trained service dogs are still dogs, and dogs will always go for the main chance if they think they can get away with it.