Monday, April 28, 2014

Dogs on a plane - how Vicki travelled cross-country

Dogs in window 1
Montel and the women (Madison and Vicki)
Before I got married in 2009, I had to go from 3 dogs down to 1. Somehow, this occurred all within a week. I'm still not sure how it worked out.

This is the story of taking one dog, Vicki, on a plane ride. Vicki has since moved from my house to my sister, Ky, to my Grandma, and finally has settled in with my uncle.  She is no less trouble.

I prepared the best I could. I bought a travel carrier. I went to the vet and got medication to help calm Vicki during the flight and make her sleep as much as possible. I assured myself I could do this.

Vicki loved the airport. There were new sites and sounds and people to adore her and children to growl at. Everyone oohed and aahed over her. She was in her glory. She sniffed and snorted, growled and wagged. Finally, she got a bit dopey and settled down.

Of course, our plane was late and her drugs wore off before we even got on the plane.

At the boarding call for our first flight, I tried to get Vicki into the carrier I had purchased.

I had tried once before to put her in so she would be prepared for the trip. She hated it, so I decided not to traumatize her until the plane ride. So -- smart person that I am -- I am standing in the middle of the airport trying to shove a dog into a small bag.

At first I thought I could coax her.

Not so much.

Then I shoved. She put her little paws on either side of the carrier and strained for all she was worth.

Another passenger took pity on me and helped. I put Vicki's leash on her and threaded it through the bag. The lady pulled the leash as I shoved Vicki's bum.

Finally, I just tipped the carrier on one end and dumped Vicki in there. She was not happy with me, but it worked.

There is a time and place for finesse and patience. That wasn't the time for either.

We made it onto the plane with little problem. I thought "This will be a piece of cake." Then they started the engines.

Vicki peed.

She then tried to scratch her way to freedom through the mesh of the bag. By the time we took off, she had three good holes made in the bag. I spent the entire flight bent over at the waist with my hand in the bag alternately soothing her and pushing her paws away from doing any more damage.

This is when the man in front of me decided to lean his chair back all the way.

We stopped in Edmonton for 30 mins. I took Vicki out of the carrier for a bit and then went through the same process to get her back in. I gave her another dose of meds (praying I wouldn't overdose her) and went back on the same plane we had just left.

Once again, takeoff scared 3 years off Vicki's life. But she did marginally better for that trip.

Vicki flyaway hair
Vicki with "fly away" hair

The lady sitting next to me realized I had a dog with me and took the carrier onto the seat beside her. She then unzipped it and spent the rest of the flight giving Vicki kisses and saying "I wish I had known you were giving her away!! I would have taken her."

Um, lady... we just met.

The crew gave us a little bit of grief for having Vicki out, so I put her back on the floor and the lady spent the rest of the flight in the same position I had been in for the first flight.

While we were in the air, they announced we were going to have yet another stop over. They felt they did not need to tell us this prior to the flight as most of us wouldn't be getting off the plane. So, my little flight with my jumpy dog turned from one stop to 3!! Had I known I would not have picked that flight.

The third flight was a lot less problematic. A guy who looked just like David Crosby sat next to me and made small talk while Vicki slept. The meds had finally kicked in and she was stoned as a hippy. We made jokes she needed Doritos.

Finally, we landed for the last time. Vicki was alive and the carrier was all in one piece.

Also, we determined that the dog can pee at least three times in the carrier without it smelling until after you take the dog out. This is important information.

Victoria 292
Vicki a little dopey
(pic by Ky)

Vicki's eyes finally cleared from the meds about 7 hours later. She settled into her new home and seemed to enjoy it. However, the cat from upstairs came to visit (at the window) and Vicki made her unhappiness known. She spent the next few hours on cat watch and shaking.

After a couple of months, my sister's landlord asked that Vicki go live somewhere else. Her decision to bark for hours and hours while Ky wasn't home, made for an interesting soundtrack to their life.  She went to live with my Grandmother and made the next 3 years a joy for all the old ladies in the complex.

Grandma and Vicki ready for Grey Cup!
Grandma and Vicki 2013 Grey Cup

Vicki now lives with my Uncle and is spoiled rotten (yet never better behaving). She goes on sleepovers with Grandma every once in awhile at the care home and looks foreword to her half of everything Grandma eats.

I will never take a dog on a plane again.

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