Poodle Forum banner
121 - 140 of 142 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
734 Posts
Discussion Starter · #130 · (Edited)
I’m sufficiently rested and have had my share of yummy Korean food, so I’m ready to tell our tale. I’ll break this post up since I’m addressing two different topics.

Since most of you have already noticed, I’ll address Happy the service dog.

Back in march I learned one of my VA recognized disabilities met the threshold for a service dog. I researched training and executed. I kept quiet about this as I didn’t know if I was going to meet with success. Anyway, the airline requirements for travelling with a service dog seemed pretty straight forward, just two DoT forms + plus health certificates for international travel. US government travel regulations required our trip be ticketed on a US carrier. This mostly worked out since Delta and Korean Air are code share partners. This allowed us to get on the non-stop between Dulles and Incheon. The problems began when I contacted Korean Air to find out what needed to be done to get happy to Korea. Korean Air was extremely helpful, but since we were ticketed through Delta, we HAD to process everything through Delta. I spent hours on phone calls with Delta trying to get Happy’s travel squared away – both as a service dog and in checked baggage. Every time I spoke with Delta, it seemed it was the first time they had delt with dog transport. I never got the same answer twice. Meanwhile, Korean Air kept telling me it was easy. Delta just had to send the travel over and they’d take car of it. If you remember, we were supposed to leave two weeks ago but was delayed due to covid. Well that turned into a blessing since Delt never forwarded my request and there was no room for Happy on the aircraft – as checked baggage or service dog. I think submitting two types of travel requests (service and checked) may have complicated things and led to Delta dropping the ball.

While it was my intent to fly Happy as a service dog, I had no experience doing this and feared something could go wrong and keep her from flying. Flying Happy as checked baggage was always my back up plan sine getting her to Korea was most important. The second time around, I only submitted the checked baggage request. After several hours on the phone, I received confirmation Happy had a place in the belly of the aircraft. I also made multiple trips to the airport to meet with the Korean Air counter personnel – with Happy in tow. The KA staff said my paperwork was in order and should get her in cabin. The nice KA lady went on to explain all flight were extremely full and, since I hadn’t submitted a service dog request in advance, there may not be physical space in the cabin for Happy. She said we’d work it out on fly day, but at least Happy had a place with the bags. I’ll mention that by now, Happy was known and loved at the Korean Air counter.

Fly day: We arrived at the airport fully prepared to check Happy as baggage. Even though we got there early, the line was already long. We had lots of bags plus Happy’s crate. That’s when Devine intervention kicked in. The supervisor who I’d been working with spotted us and told us to follow. She put us in a separate area and went to work. Over the next several minute the KA staff took care of our and Happy’s paper work. We were in! We we’re reminded Happy would need to remain in the floor at our feet, but I think this was only a formality. Despite her service vest, Happy received a lot of attention by both ground and aircrews. Happy maintained perfect composure throughout the process.

This was one of the most stress events of my life but, in the end, it worked out perfectly. I’m going to wrap it up as this is a long post. I’ll follow up shortly with a part two covering the flight and way to the hotel.
 

·
Registered
Tyler
Joined
·
325 Posts
Really happy you and your family and Happy and your Korean counterparts have made your move so awesome. Rest some more then travel outside of the Post with Happy and your camera. Your time in ROK is clearly going to be awesome with Happy. ❤
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
I can certainly understand why you were so stressed. I felt stressed just reading about what you went through! Korean Air sounds like a gem; Delta not so much. I'm so glad that everything worked out well in the end.

Happy is a rock star! First, she won over the staff at the hotel in the U.S, then the Korean Airlines personnel. Can hardly wait to hear about all the Koreans who become enamored with her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
734 Posts
Discussion Starter · #140 ·
Travel saga part II:

I'm hammering this out on my phone, so please excuse typos and misspellings. I already covered some of the difficulties of getting over here, so here's the Happier side of the story:

Travel day started early. Happy seemed to understand we were on the move again and was eager to cooperate. We walked our established morning route and visited Duncan Donuts one last time. Happy rode with me to return the rental. She boarded the shuttle like a pro. At the airport, she maintained perfect composure, patiently waiting while the wonderful ladies at Korean Air processed our paperwork and saw us on our way. We breezed through security and made it too the gate with ease. During the whole process Happy approached everything with confidence. From the terminal tram to the security apparatuses, no fear or hesitation. That said, Happy has no interest in the escalator. It's the one thing she really doesn't want to do - no problem, we take the stairs or elevator. Happy eagerly boarded the plane and made her way to our seats, clearly loving being at the center of attention.

Happy spent most of the flight at our feet and occasionally in my lap. I put a diaper on her about two hours into the flight but, to my amazement, she held it through the full 16+ hours of travel. I walked her to the back of the plane every 3 or so hours so she could stretch her legs. At the back of the plane, I allowed her to interact with the adoring flight attendants. Happy show zero anxiety during take off, landing and through turbulence. The only time she stirred was during meal service. I'll add Koean Air serves up some great chow. The flight crew commented to my wife several times on Happy calm and disciplined behavior.

Arrival: Happy arrived in Korea to the usual smiles and compliments. I think it was the first time many had seen a SPOO, and one in a Miami cut at that. Customs and Immigration were a breeze. We met Happy's mini-me while waiting on our bus to Camp Humphreys. It was close to midnight before we were in our room.

Happy was amazing through the whole trip. Up until yesterday her Korean experience has been limited to the Airport and Camp Humphreys. Today we're at Korean grandma's house (will be addressed in a separate post). We already found a really nice house near the hills and with a nice yard. We should move in in a week or so. I'll continue this thread until we move in. After that, Happy's Big Move will be complete and we'll focus on the adventure.

Happy says thank you to her PF family for your kind words and support during her move.
 
121 - 140 of 142 Posts
Top