Monday, June 4, 2012

Marge And The Spaceship

Last month, when the space shuttle Enterprise flew over NYC before landing at John F. Kennedy Airport, I was stuck at work.

I had literally been waiting for the event since the previous year, and it pained me greatly to see it on TV, miles and miles away, while I folded towels and got people ice packs.

The next day, I set out to Kennedy Airport to at least catch a glimpse of the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with Enterprise perched atop.  It was really a sight to see and only made me more upset to have missed its historic landing.

I nearly missed the next leg of its journey, which occurred yesterday.  I thought its voyage from JFK to a holding terminal in New Jersey was set to occur today, but my father had apparently heard about it on the radio and discovered it was, indeed, moving that day.  After doing a little research, I found out that it would cross underneath the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge around 5:30 PM, and I was NOT going to miss it.

And neither was my dog.

I had no idea there would be that many people spectating... I honestly thought that, for the average person, the space shuttle hype had died down.  Turns out it hadn't.  Fort Wadsworth was packed with photographers, families, dogs... and screaming children.

I was initially a little worried and regretted bringing Marge.  I'm always happy to help her through her fears and adjust my plans so that she could be comfortable, but, I won't lie, I was getting a little unnerved thinking about having to move out of my spot and missing the shuttle float by because something spooked my dog.

However, as usual, Marge proved me wrong, and was happy to hunker down in the grass in front of me, despite the small crowd of people I was standing near.  (There was a larger crowd that arguably had a better view, but there were so many big cameras and so many kids running around that even I wouldn't have been comfortable standing there, let alone my dog.)

Still, I wondered if the shuttle's impending arrival would bring a swarm of people that would freak my dog out.  I had my Grandma act as a bodyguard of sorts and stand next to me to prevent any one else from coming too close to Marge.

As the shuttle emerged in the distance, no big groups came.  They were apparently, much to my delight, happy with their present locations, and did not wish to give up their prime viewing spots for one or two alternative shots.

Of course, the occasion couldn't be completely drama free, and my dog, although unfazed by the crowds, instead decided to make a spectacle of herself by nearly falling over a VERY steep cliff, her back legs dangling over the side and her front claws clinging desperately to the ledge in front of her.

I hoisted her back over just in time to get a couple of decent shots with my not-so-great camera.

As Enterprise was once again obscured by the brush, I gathered up Marge's leash and ventured to a new spot so that I could snap it again.

The crowds were even bigger here at this point, but Marge was still OK, and soon a few raindrops fell and led to an exodus of roughly half the people standing nearby.  Though the comments about Marge's behavior were mostly positive (one person mentioned that they didn't even know a dog was nearby because of how discretely Marge stood with me), one woman asked me to move "the dog" because "she's afraid of dogs."

Though I am generally sympathetic to the needs of others, I'll admit, I was super pissed about her request, seeing as 1) I was in a public place, 2) there were lots of dogs around; YOU move if you don't want to stand near them, 3) my dog was reeled close to me and not all that close to her and 4) she had not looked, barked, growled, not even sniffed in this woman's direction.

I do wonder if it had something to do with the fact that Marge is a black, muscular, pointy-eared dog, but who the heck knows.

I managed to snap one shot of Marge with Enterprise in the distance before I heeded the grump's request to avoid conflict.

Enterprise soon began to appear as only a small dot in the distance, and although my sister with her fancy big-lensed camera stuck around for a bit more, I headed back to the car with my family and Marge.

Of course, the perfect outing had to have one little fear blip in it, as a large BOOM resonated through the air, perhaps the sound of a vehicle backfiring, and sent Marge scrambling to the car for dear life.  I was sad that we had to end the trip on this note, but, it is what it is.

I'm hoping to catch it again Wednesday, as it departs New Jersey for its final resting place, the Intrepid Museum.  The journey will likely take me in to Manhattan, so Marge will have to sit this one out. Guess I'm trying to make up for the fact that I missed the flyover!


Two French Bulldogs June 4, 2012 at 10:24 PM  

how cool and what a great exprience...too bad poor Marge got so scared...
Benny & Lily

Anna the GSD June 5, 2012 at 12:59 PM  

That is really cool! Well, minus the tool-woman (I agree, public space, you make the decision to move, not me and my person) and the backfire...but other than that, how cool!!

hornblower June 5, 2012 at 1:10 PM  

Oh I'm jealous about seeing the shuttle!!

& good job Marge for staying so cool in a large crowd!

Deborah June 5, 2012 at 2:30 PM  

That was so very cool. I would have love to see the Space Shuttle!
I would have told "that lady" that Marge was afraid of her behavior too! hehehehehe. Humans are weird...
written by Buffy!

Diana June 5, 2012 at 4:55 PM  

Very cool pictures!!

Dawn June 6, 2012 at 8:15 PM  

SO cool!!!!!!!! Glad Marge got to see it too!

KB June 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM  

Marge is amazing. She's come so very far.... I'm glad that she could see the shuttle with you!

As for that lady's comment, I find myself reacting the same way if my dog is behaving well. One time, I was in a very dog-friendly shop with K, and a woman saw K. She loudly announced that she was going to speak with "management" about dogs like K (who was standing quietly next to me). I ran to "management" before the crazy lady got there to give my account. They laughed and laughed, and said "no worries - crazy people like her complain all the time but we're not changing our 50 yr old policy of welcoming dogs". Whew.

Marge is the perfect example of how a fearful dog can be trained to be happy out in the world. It might be interesting some day for you to put together a retrospective of posts, showing Marge at her most fearful and then the gradual change that has happened. It's been so gradual that I can't put my finger on the "moment" when it all clicked.

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