Posts Tagged: airport relief stations for service dogs

TSA, Panic and a Diabetic Alert Dog

I love adventure, especially traveling. Sad to say, my thirst for adventure has been dampened by the ominous ritual of removing my shoes during TSA screening.

Everyone knows that when flying anywhere, protocol demands adherence to strict rules.

For a diabetic with a service dog, going through security takes forever.

Besides taking off shoes and jackets and placing laptops, purses and carry-ons in separate bins, I must also take off a treat pouch, gather all my insulin bottles to be hand-inspected (since they can’t be x-rayed), and prepare to be patted down since I wear an insulin pump.

I was trained the way my dog goes through security, and TSA also has specific procedures for service animal security screening. But every experience, they tell me to do something different. Usually, what they ask me to do goes against the training my dog and I have received.

For example, they’ve asked me to:

…Have my traveling companion take my dog while I get patted down.

…Leave my dog with a security agent.

And, weirder yet, they’ve told me to have the dog go through the metal detector first and then I follow. What’s up with that?

Note the line on the TSA web page:

“TSA will not separate you from your service animal.”

Two years ago, I had a very bad experience that involved high blood sugar, a health issue that required me to use a walker. I was also traveling with my 89-year-old, wheelchair-ridden mom (handled by my sister).

The large security man accused me of insulting and trying to attack an agent while my brain was fuzzy. I experienced my first panic attack because he threatened to arrest me as they rummaged through my carry-on.

Within inches of my accuser, I tried to breathe while collecting my belongings. I gave in to my weak knees and sat on my walker-chair, a blubbering mess.

Fortunately, I calmed down, but not until after some retail therapy in the gift shops, a large chai latte, and some snuggle time with my service dog.

Whenever I go through security, I face serious anxiety and pray to get myself through those gates.

I recently learned about an organization that can help people like me get through the process. Although I have a diabetic alert dog who also keeps me calm, he can’t do what this organization can – assist me with all my special needs through security.

Aiden’s thoughts about service dog relief stations in airports: Where a Dog Does His Business

Where a Dog Does His Business

Traveling is always an adventure for me, especially flying. I don’t require a seat but curl up under the seat in front of Christy like a carry-on item.

I don’t mind because I’ve been trained to do it this way. Sometimes a whole row of seats is available, and we both get to stretch out.

Airports are getting better at having relief stations for service dogs. My favorite is at the Orange County John Wayne International airport.

It takes you outside, but you are still within a secure area. When we exit the plane, I know where we are and hurry Christy along to what I think is the perfect place for humans to take their companions.

I can run and play and take care of personal business.

There was a cool relief room in Houston:

However, Christy was disappointed because Nashville Airport had one area, but we would have to go through TSA again. (Christy told you how she feels about that in this month’s newsletter.)

She was happy I didn’t get a big breakfast that morning so we could make it to our next stop. It takes some planning and I feel hungrier than normal.

Speaking of hunger, can I just mention how jet lag affects my schedule?