June at Masonic Home for Pet Therapy

June at Masonic Home for Pet Therapy

Monday, September 17, 2012

Part Three: June’s Trip From Phuket, Thailand to Los Angeles, California

June’s Trip From Phuket, Thailand to Los Angeles, California

Part Three

This is John Dalley, the co-founder of SoiDog Foundation holding June 
just before he takes her home that night before her flight.

Here is June with a SoiDog volunteer on her drive to the Phuket airport, 
where she will board a plane to Bangkok. 

June’s trip started Thursday evening, February 9, in Phuket, Thailand.  June arrived in Bangkok Friday afternoon, and she was met by other SoiDog volunteers and her flight volunteers, Tom and Lisa, who were returning to San Diego, after visiting Kate and her husband in Thailand. 
They escorted June’s crate from one flight to another and then waited to board the plane. 

Here are June’s flight volunteers, Tom and Lisa, on the right and Kate and her husband on the left, who live in Thailand, waiting to board the plane to Taiwan with June’s crate in the foreground.

Goodbye Thailand! Thanks for Everything! 
Here I Come California!

June and her companions flew from Bangkok to Taiwan, where they refueled, some passengers got on and some got off. That flight was several hours. The flight from Taiwan to Los Angeles was 12 hours, non-stop over the Pacific Ocean. Due to the time difference, they left Taiwan Saturday at noon and arrived in Los Angeles at Saturday at 2 PM. Weird! No wonder they looked exhausted when I saw them. 

I did make sure that I had plenty of time to get to the airport in case I got stuck in traffic. I left my house at 4 AM on Saturday. The flight was due in at 2 PM that afternoon. I got to LA around 11:30 AM. I had time to walk the dogs and get some food. I parked at a fast food place just outside the entrance to the airport, and at noon, I drove into the airport. 

In the design of the airport, they do make is very clear between arriving flights and departing flights, so that part was simple. I went toward the arriving flights. Then, this is where the fun begins. The arriving terminal is not divided into domestic and international flights. Instead, all the flights are centered around a horseshoe shape road with a multiple level parking lot in the middle and the terminals on the outside. According to my paperwork from Kate, I was supposed to go to terminal “TB12.” I kept looking for terminal TB12, but couldn’t find it. I drove around and around looking. Then I spotted signs for, “Tom Bradley International Terminal.” I figured I had found the right place. I pulled into the massive parking lot, and I found a parking spot, luckily, very close to the opening of the international terminal. I parked and made my way into the terminal, not having any idea what I would find. 

What surprised me was how small it was. I was expecting this massive and endless building that I would get lost in. Actually, there was a single area that was sectioned off with railings in a “U” shape pattern. I walked back and forth to confirm I had the right spot. I asked somebody if this is where international flights come in, and he said, “Yes.” Then I looked up and saw the “Incoming Flights” board, and I found the flight by EVA Air coming in from Taiwan. Yes! I was in the right spot. There was still over an hour for June’s flight to arrive. 

International flights were arriving every few minutes, so there was an on-going flow of people coming up the ramp from the planes off-loading to the terminal leading them to the outside and parking lots. I had a lot of fun just watching all the people and their reaction to see their friends and loved ones as they came up the ramp to their apparent long-awaited reunions. The giant “U” was packed with people two to three deep waiting for friends and family to meet them. While waiting for the plane, I did have a nice conversation with a gentleman waiting for his wife to come back from a vacation in the Middle East after visiting relatives. 

The other fascinating thing for me was observing all the different styles of uniforms that the flight attendants wore. All the flight attendants in the international flights were female, and the pilots were all male. Some flight attendants wore skirts, some wore pants and all were very professionally dressed in suits and ties, not like the American flight attendants who tend to wear polo shirts and khakis. 

The most fascinating flight attendant apparel was the outfits on the woman coming from Dubai Air. Though they were in tan plants and blazers, the woman wore bright red veils attached to tan berets on both sides of their faces that rested under their chins and then lightly wrapped around their necks. It was stunning!

Finally, I recognized Lisa and Tom coming up the ramp rolling a dog crate on a luggage container. I practically screamed! I ran over to the exit of the giant “U” for them to exit the terminal. There was June looking just like the photo on Facebook. I gave them big hugs, which was slightly bizarre since they were total strangers, but I had so much to thank them for, that was the least I could do. 

We wheeled the luggage cart with the crate out to my parked car. I took June out of the crate and immediately put on her slip collar with ID tag that I had made just for this occasion. I have heard of too many stories of dog becoming freaked out at airports and taking off, so I came prepared. 
I gave her a small lamb treat, and then we walked her out to a small green area, and eventually she did pee. June was very calm and very friendly. 

I knew that Lisa and Tom were eager to get back on the road for their long drive home to San Diego, so, after helping me load June in her crate into my van, I thanked them again and gave them hugs again and let them be on their way. I also wanted to get out of the parking lot since I was being timed and charged for each minute.

I had planned the trip to LA to match up with another dog event nearby, south of LA, so I got back onto the highway and headed south to San Marcos, where I stayed in a Motel 6 with all four dogs. 

Here is a photo of me and June in the motel taken by the camera on my laptop.

Here is a video of June in the motel room, 
playing with Rusty and chewing on a bone.

Early the next morning, we attended a UKC weight pulling contest, where eventually Dino did finally earn his third and final leg for his title. And, Rusty earned two weight pulling legs. We were finished finished by 10 AM, so I made the entire drive home back to the Bay Area that day. It was a long two days, but worth every minute!