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By Puppy Raiser Bonnie Sloane
On a lovely spring evening, five puppies between the ages of 6 and 13 months from the “Puppies With a Vision” club of Ventura County, California boarded a shuttle bus heading for the Bob Hope (Burbank) Airport. We raisers and our pups had met in the lobby of the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel awaiting the shuttle, which had been provided for us by the hotel. The pups were going to the airport to experience its sights, sounds, and smells and begin preparation for someday leading a handler through an airport.
The dogs had no trouble boarding the shuttle bus and made themselves at home inside. After a short, pleasant ride, we arrived at the airport and were met by two representatives: Land Side Operations Manager Tom Janowitz and Public Relations Manager Lucy Burghdorf. They led us into a baggage claim area, where the conveyor belt was turned on and loaded with items. The pups cocked their heads at the strange noises, smelled the items moving past them, but showed no fear.
Tom and Lucy led us to the ticketing area where we wound our way through maze-like aisles to the counter. There Lucy pretended to check us in from behind the counter (such a shame we couldn’t really fly somewhere!). The pups got weighed at another check-in counter, and then we calmly walked by the rest of the ticketing counters. Needless to say, we heard over and over, “Oh! Look at the cute puppies!”
Our next stop was a second baggage area; this one having a revolving carousel. Again, Tom placed plastic containers at the top so they could come down the slide and fall onto the moving carousel. For a second time, the pups were not in the least put off by the noises and movements. Shortly thereafter, the passengers from a recently landed plane entered the area and their bags coming down the slide to the carousel again caused no fear in our dogs.
After a relaxing stop at the airport’s restaurant where we were offered cookies and beverages, we thanked Lucy and Tom for the very useful tour.