Sunday, June 30, 2013

I met an ESA this weekend!

It was a road trip weekend! My mom and I headed to Minneapolis to see Tom Petty in concert, and unfortunately Charlie had to stay home with a dog-sitter. I hate to be separated from her for any amount of time, but luckily this would only be for 24 hours.

Minneapolis is REALLY big compared to our small town of Wausau and while I enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere - diverse people-watching, tons of food options, beautiful cityscapes - I know I couldn't live in a city that size; it's too much constant input and not enough nature. But I did happen to find some "rocks" in this metropolis - even if they were man-made!

We had a great dinner at Mason's Restaurant consisting of burgers and homemade potato chips (that were AWESOME!) - and beverages served in mason jars, of course. So cool. I had my very first mojito and I can tell you I'll definitely be enjoying more of them this summer.

The concert had it's good and bad, but we made the best of it. I had gotten seats that were definitely "nose bleed" seats - we were in the 5th row down from the very top. I had never been to the Target Center before and was not prepared for how "vertical" the seating was. It was borderline dangerous, in my opinion. And I had forgotten how seriously afraid of heights my mom is.

We got there early and were adjusting to the seating, but neither of us were comfortable. The seats were extremely small and close together, there was no leg room and each row seemed to be stacked on top of the other. As the lights went down and the backup band started to play, Mom started to have an anxiety attack - the height combined with the darkness was making the whole arena sway and she was afraid she'd fall forward and tumble all the way down. I helped steer her out of our row and down the stairs, one at a time. I quickly realized that we were not going to be able to go back to our seats and was afraid we were going to have to leave. Mom was having none of that. So we hung out in the concession area while the backup band played and when Tom Petty started, we stood against the stairways just inside the arena doorways on our mezzanine. Unfortunately the "ticket helpers" were determined to get everyone in their seats and keep the entrances clear, which I completely understand - it's a fire code safety thing. But because I wasn't going to make her go back to our seats and risk her safety, we played this "cat-and-mouse" game and retreated to the concession area or bathroom every time they came through to clear people out of the area.

We grew tired of the game after awhile since the ticket helpers were getting more direct with their enforcement, so we left early. Even though we didn't get to see the whole show, we had fun and enjoyed the time we were there. It was only 10pm when we left and the city was alive with sights and sounds. The air was warm and breezy so we took a leisurely stroll back to the hotel, people-watching the entire time. Along the way, we came across a street musician with a dog. I'm a sucker for dogs - everywhere I go I'm constantly pointing out dogs and asking if I can pet them. So, of course, I asked if I could pet his dog... and as I did so, the dog got up and came towards me as if it knew what I had asked. I crouched down to pet the dog and talked to his owner.

I asked the usual questions - how old is he, what's his name, etc. So when he told me the dog's name was "Deathrow" and I gave him this look that I'm sure he's seen a million times before when people learn his dog's name, he showed me the rectangular ID card on the dog's collar that identified him as a Service Dog, Name: Deathrow, Type: ESA. I had just learned about Emotional Support Animals (ESA's) last week through a favorite blogger of mine, Gigi Griffis. Her dog, Luna, is an ESA. Also I had heard a radio program on NPR last week about airlines using ESA's to comfort passengers waiting for flights in airports. How fitting that I got to meet one this weekend!

When I asked what kind of dog Deathrow was, the man replied, "he's part Cowardly Lion and part Luckdragon." I told him that I could totally see both those traits! I wondered how many people would know what a Luckdragon is. We put our donation in his guitar case and received a song in return, but the real reward was being comforted by this ESA while being separated from my own dog.

Sometimes you just need to hug a dog.