We made it to Bellingham, WA in time to get a decent dinner at some place that had probably been at one point or another, a Longhorns, Chiles, or Applebeeâ€™s. Full with food in my belly, I deal with the dogs and pass out. The next day we cruise through border crossing without a hitch, although for some reason all three of us are nervous and slightly sweating. I have never been to Canada which seems strange being that itâ€™s so close. We make it through without a hitch and pass into what seems clean, fresh air. We wind our way up through the mountain, and are all extremely eager to get out of the RV. It's been 3 days and although itâ€™s really easy to sit in the back of an RV sleeping and reading, itâ€™s also kind of stressful because of the bumps, motion and tight quarters.
The real purpose of our trip to Vancouver is to secure press on NBC. Weâ€™ve already had one big story on the local NBC affiliate Channel 4. http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports/Olympic_Snowboarding_Bulldogs_Los_Angeles.html
There is a mountain in Vancouver called Grouse Mountain, where the dogs will be snowboarding. Up until today we have only one confirmed press appointment with City TV Vancouver. Our job is to secure more press once in Vancouver and promote Natural Balance â€“ which basically requires us to be publicist as well as dog trainers â€“ but weâ€™re up for the challenge.
Because itâ€™s the Olympics media is strapped and so we are basically here to hustle; a skill I excel in. There is also zero snow and where we originally thought we would be snowboarding, we canâ€™t access the Mountain (no extra snow for us apparently). So, we are going to do what we do best; skateboard. The group rolls 5 deep â€“ Ron and myself, along with Darryl, Betsy and Steve. Ron and I work well together, we have that cool way of mind reading so before you ask itâ€™s answered.
We skate for TV and the crowd goes absolutely wild. There are a lot of factors involved in having a bulldog skateboard for a crowd. First of all the dogs go absolutly berserk when the boards come out; Tillman can even smell it without seeing it. People think â€œoh dogs â€“ skateboards â€“ cuteâ€. No, not cute people, hard core and somewhat dangerous, so back it up and donâ€™t approach a skateboarding bulldog whose coming straight at you flying 20 miles per hour. Itâ€™s fun and crazy to see how excited and mesmerized people get when they see the dogs rip â€“ I sometimes forget that what I see on a daily basis, some will only see in their lifetime once.
We end up skating around Vancouver, basically shutting down major city blocks. The cops donâ€™t seem to mind, they just watch and smile and try and chat me up. They kind of feel more like Olympic Tour Guides, telling people where to find bathrooms, restaurants, and bus stops. I am amazed because if we did this in the US weâ€™d probably be thrown in jail. But, here in Vancouver with the Olympic energy wafting through the streets, people (cops included) know something amazing is about to happen.
We wait for the intersection to turn red. Itâ€™s funny how a crowd can tell when something is about to happen. Their energy mixes and mingles creating an enchanting feeling, and people can sense that something is a brew. There is a subtle murmur, people are buzzing now, wondering whatâ€™s happening. Maybe itâ€™s the 3 camera men who are moving in ever so slightly for the best view that clues the crowd in, or maybe it is the bark of Tillman as Ron makes his way into the frozen street.
We only have about 15 seconds until the light will turn green again and mid-day traffic resumes. Ron sends the board out and Tillman cascades for it, at which point the 300 people, who moments before were standing around clueless, now ALL try and lunge forward into the street. Iâ€™m on crowd control shouting â€œout of the streetâ€ â€œback on the curbâ€ â€“ nobody listens. But, Tillman is a pro and avoids them like a champ. He nails the ride, we secure Tillman and our team is out of the way, but people are totally entranced and donâ€™t see that they are in fact standing in front of a bus stop that is about to welcome in a huge moving bus whose brakes may or may not work. We shout again â€œBUSâ€ and finally the zombies wake up and barely escape decapitation by side view mirror. No one is injured and we repeat this somewhat risky show several more times.
While this is all happening Darryl notices that there is an ABC crew not too far from where I am standing. My nick name on the trip has become â€œbaitâ€. Some could be offended, but Iâ€™m slightly flattered because my job is to sweet talk and charm the male camera men. I think it's hilarious. I make eyes with one who is actually pretty cute, and he smiles and notices the dog. I see my opening and approach to learn that our shenanigans actually interrupted a recording of CNNâ€™s 20/20 days before and they were more than anxious to talk with us about what the hell we were up to. Next thing you know, I have a microphone down my shirt and am being interviewed for ABC Nightly News (which BTW is national).
Our gorilla efforts continue for the next few days. Itâ€™s fun and thrilling, but also exhausting. We are all having a blast running around Vancouver, but we're also pushing Natural Balance like nobodyâ€™s business, so it is tiring too. We work all day and hit the city by night. The streets are packed with thousands of energetic people from all end of the earth there to support their favorite teams. Itâ€™s usually a 2 hour wait to eat dinner in a restaurant and the bars are beyond packed. As crowded as the city is, it remains organized, clean and safe feeling. I am still amazed that we are a part of the Olympics - even though we didn't see any events - we are here in the middle of it all.
By the end of the trip we have done the best we could do nailing footage for ABC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Russia TV, Local Canada TV, CTV, The Vancouver Sun, and TMZ. Itâ€™s a dog eat dog world out there, but somebodyâ€™s got to do it. In the end we are know for the top 5 things you might not know about the Olympics...pretty cool.