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Today is the day Daisy and Remington embark on their travel. I am excited – we are finally here!
I am nervous that my fur kids are leaving on their own and I wont be with them. And I am a little apprehensive about how Remy and Daisy will be in yet another new situation, away from ‘this’ new situation they are already adjusting to and….
It is what it is and I have to let the process be and go with it.
Moving with dogs isn’t hard when you go with them but I had a fair amount of uncertainty in the process of moving dogs internationally just a short time after we adopted each other.
Its six am. The transport driver calls and says she’s here.
Daisy goes out with little fanfare. She balks at the sight of her kennel going into a van with a – gasp – stranger. But after some petting and a good smell of the newcomer she gamely jumps up and gets in her kennel.
One down. Next up Remington.
Remington gets a smell of a stranger as soon as we leave the front door of the house and the barking begins (Rem is blind so he can’t see and new things trigger an immediate and large response).
He’s riled up and wants nothing to do with this situation. The driver gets it – she steps away from the process and lets me settle Remy and he gets into crate. The dogs are loaded.
Bags are packed – they have a pad in each kennel, a small blanket, Remy is in muzzle, and they have a bag of food each. Locked and loaded.
The driver reassures me that this is what they ‘do,’ all will be ok, and they will send me updates as the day goes by. We bark and say our goodbyes and away they go.
The dogs are being driven to Seattle. The aircrafts that depart from Portland are not large enough to accommodate the two large crates on a single aircraft, so for the dogs to fly together the closest option is to depart from Seattle.
I am scheduled to fly out at midnight from Portland.
In Seattle, the Baggage Supervisor decides that Remy is vicious and he wont allow him to board. Ummm, hello, the dog is locked inside a crate and what did you do to the dog to make him appear ‘vicious’?
According to the dog courier there was no real issue. Remy was barking.
They put his crate in a busy area with lots of movement around him, separated from Daisy, there were too many loud sounds, and he was scared = he was barking.
The courier service rep was told that maybe he can fly tomorrow, but he will require a special wood reinforced crate.
Remy gets boarded overnight in Seattle at a partner facility of the courier service.
The airlines wont confirm that both dogs may fly together the next day so it is decided that Daisy will fly solo to the original destination and she is on her way to Houston enroute to Florida.
Remy goes to the boarder where he is normal, quiet, eats his dinner, and plays in the yard.
The next morning he is taken to the airport, and the Baggage Supervisor (a different person) allows Remy to board and there are no issues.
No special reinforced wood crate needed.
However as this is a day later and a different flight, Remy gets routed through San Francisco to Salt Lake to Chicago where he will get connected to Florida to meet up with Daisy.
Too bad doggies don’t qualify for frequent flier miles….
Daisy makes it to Houston and connects to Florida and arrives as planned with no issues.
Remy eventually makes it to Florida, and the dogs are reunited and spend the night at the boarder there, have play time together in the yard and wait for the next leg of their journey.
We are back on track and although not as planned all is well.
The next day they are scheduled to fly to Guayaquil, Ecuador. The flight is delayed, then cancelled due to a mechanical issue.
I learn this while I am laid over in Houston. My rep says “don’t worry!”
Umm, ok – have we met????
Now I wait and practice positive thinking because the airline is known for schedule changes, cancelled flights without notice etc. It is a freight forwarder airline not a passenger flight and so they fly when they are full, or they don’t fly.
The dogs must arrive within a specified amount of days or the Customs paperwork will be null and void and they would be returned to Seattle. Period.
No extensions, no consequence exceptions.
When my flight is ready to go and is boarding I still don’t know if the dogs will fly. I make one last attempt to find out and then power off, wheels up, and off I go on my last leg to Ecuador
Don’t worry – be happy! The song repeats on loop in my head as I practice deep breathing…..
The dogs are kept overnight again at the boarders and I cross my fingers. The next day the flight is a go. The dogs are airborne and on their way!
I learn this as I am collecting my baggage in Quito having arrived in Ecuador at 11:30pm.
Woohoo! I breathe a very large sigh of relief.
It’s been a stressful couple of days.
The dogs make it to Guayaquil. All good.
They get boarded for a mandatory overnight stay and are to go to the Customs office the next day for the Ecuadorian Vet check, paperwork and whatever else they do to make them legal. I am missing my dogs – its now been three days since I have seen them.
The next day the dogs are taken to Customs BUT there is an earthquake in the town where they are. The Customs office has closed.
OMG! What next?!? Can you feel me deep breathing? Inhale….count to four….exhale….count to eight…..Inhale…..
The Customs office opens early afternoon and thank you Universe, the dogs are seen that day.
Papers stamped, and I am notified that the dogs are on their way to Cuenca. Yay! Happy Dance!
It’s a 3-4 hour drive from Guayaquil to Cuenca – I am anxious to see Daisy and Remy, relieved they are finally coming home, and curious to see how they fared, what they are like and praying that no emotional damage has been done.
My phone rings, the dogs are here. They are a bit travel worn and dirty, but fine.
The dogs are in their crates in the back of a pickup truck. The crates are barking and rocking side to side as I talk to them and approach the truck.
Both dogs jump out, try to get all over me and it’s about all I can do to get them through the driveway, house and into the yard so they can do their business and THEN we can do the tail wag happy dance to see each other.
I have my dogs back, they have me back, we have no weirdness or newness to re do, and it looks like other than needing a good bath we have no trauma or anything to get through. Just a new house, and a new life to embark on.
Since then, several people have asked if I would use a concierge service again. YES.
No question YES.
I can’t even imagine what would have happened if the dogs had been held on the tarmac, or refused to be boarded and then where would they go, how would they have been rerouted, how would a special crate have been found if needed and all of the other details that got handled. While I was myself on a plane traveling.
I wouldn’t have the contacts to deal with rerouted dogs to different cities etc. Or known who to contact at the various airlines. And all the other factors. It was well worth every penny.
Also, a big benefit to using a service is for the dogs comfort. Even if all flights had gone according to original plan, at the layover points, the dog handlers get to take the dogs off the planes and into special animal areas that we as passengers who ‘check’ our animals don’t have access, means to get to or time to do between flights etc.
The dogs fly in a pressurized cabin directly under the pilots area of the plane, they don’t fly in cargo. And during their journey, I received many emails, text messages, photos and short videos so I could see the dogs and how they were doing.
It was a HUGE peace of mind having a designated rep who handled all arrangements and communicated with me himself all the way through the process.
Now if I had a 10 pound itty bitty doggie that could go under my seat, I might just take the dog with me. I probably would.
But even with that, the concierge service handled the coordination and getting of the USDA vet paperwork, the paperwork required from my vet, the vet in Ecuador, the governmental paperwork and…..I wouldn’t have know where or how to do all that, not to mention having the forms translated, Apostilled and…..
Yes it was well worth every penny to have them do it.
Daisy and Remington are home safe, sound, happy and are now Ecuadorian’s.
You can read more about Daisy and Remington here:
It was all a big gamble – adopting these two just two months before leaving for Ecuador and then having to separate for a few days with travel and…. In the end it all worked out fine and both dogs are happy and have a good home and I have them and we are doing fine.
Would I do that agin? No way of telling. In this circumstance and situation it worked out.
Generally speaking I would say oh hell no I would not adopt an animal (especially a rescued animal with unknown issues) then move anywhere a few weeks later. Why would anyone do that?
When my dog Tally-Ho died just a few weeks before I adopted these two I was not planning on getting another dog until after I had moved and gotten settled. I was still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Tally was gone and not coming with me.
I had already packed her dog beds, toys and her clothes (yup I dressed her and she was adorable)
The Universe obviously had other plans for me – these two were brought to my attention and needed homes.
They both had several things going against them and the rescue centers where they were at had no prospects for homing them. Both are black (black dogs are statistically less likely to be adopted and are more often put down than brown or lighter colored dogs) and both dogs are handicapped. Daisy is a tri-paw and Remington is blind.
The thought of taking one was a lot but both of them?
Actually taking them both was absolutely the right choice. They are now a bonded pair and they look after each other – and me 🙂
All I can say is regardless of the challenges we went through getting acquainted, getting bonded together and as a 3 way unit, getting moved and getting here it’s all been more than worth it and it has worked out.
Clearly the Universe knew what it was doing
Have you moved Internationally or long distance with your pets? Let me know how you did it in the comments below 🙂