Both excited and terrified for tomorrow.
I'm nervous because it is my first time picking up dogs from.... a Plane! Yep, the max on 3 that I might be getting are all flying in. I have no idea what the procedure is, where I go, etc but this should be interesting!
That being said, I am excited because yet again I will be hitting a new record: 40+ dogs transported and my sweet 16! yep, this is my 16th Transport. Not to mention, I get to meet 3 amazing dogs (and some of Holly's pups)!
The toughest part will be the absolute unpredictability of tomorrow. Weather could delay the flight or push it forward or even cancel it. I have a final presentation in the morning before the transport so I can finish my summer course and class after it so I can start my fall classes. Student, Rescuer, not to mention life outside of both, but sometimes, it's just a busy day. Can't wait for it.
UPDATE: Well, it's tomorrow (8/29/11) and the Transport has been bumped to Tuesday due to weather which wont allow them to fly. Tuesday (8/30/11) here we come. Probably a good thing because today is gonna be crazy.
UPDATE 2: Weather is not our friend... Bumped again to 8/31/11
Update 3: Can't catch a break... bumped to 9/1/11. Praying for great weather tomorrow.
Update 3.5: May or may not be on the flight tomorrow... weight restrictions?
Update 4: Our paws are off the ground!!!! WOO! (9/1/11)
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Second biggest Transport!
We'd been planning this transport all week, yet when the day came I felt woefully under prepared. In my head it seemed easy, fit 7 dogs/pups in the car. I'd done 8, why not 7? Well, 8 was easier, because the pups were smaller. These pups, were not itty-bitty 8 week pups, these were 3 to 4 months old!
I knew in my head, 1 adult in a cage, 1 shotgun, and then the puppies... I stared at my other large airline-style dog carrier. The terms "no way in hell" echoing in my head. 3 pups in one of those would be a tight squeeze... 5? The echo continued. I pulled out a wire crate Gisele had given me and began trying to learn how to assemble this (a first in my life). After several awkward attempts it finally clicked together.
I then began the slightly more awkward task of orienting it in the car. Should the door face the back? The side door? Which side door? Would the cage door even open like that? As I was trying to turn the cage, an older gentleman was walking past and said "you know the wire one fold up right?" Boy did I know that, he should have seen me 10 minutes ago trying to put it together! I smiled and mentioned that I was picking up a bunch of dogs. He nodded and continued on, occasionally glancing back to stare at the scene. Finally I managed to jam both the wire crate, and the airline crate into the back. Now I just had to pray the dogs would fit.
|Yep, that's right... 102... Shoot me!|
As I arrived in the parking lot where I was meeting Amy she was already walking each dog, giving them a chance to get some water and go potty. I hopped out and helped. Sure enough, the puppies were quite sizable but It looked like 5 would fit. Each of the pups practically had their little legs crossed and had refused to go potty in their crates (good puppies!!!). The minute they were on the ground they were either dashing for the grass, or in Bimmer's case, the minute his paws touched the ground of the parking lot.
Once all of the puppies had had a chance to go potty and get water, we loaded them in the crate. It was cute, the pavement was pretty hot for little paws and they tried to walk on their own but were darting for the nearest patches of shade. We carried them the rest of the way so they didn't burn their little paws.
|Here is the great flood, plotting to break through the flood gate.|
We also discovered, these puppies were much like a waterfall, and the door of the cage was the floodgate. Any time the cage door opened everyone tried to pile out at once. Good lord! So normally this involved picking up one puppy, making sure they were ready to go into the crate, opening the door, shoving them in, shoving the 3 that had piled out of the door (in less that 2 seconds) back in and shutting it as fast as possible. Transport is always interesting!
|Tiny Dancer enjoying her front seat placement|
Next it was the adult's turn. First was Tiny Dancer, who fits her name to a T. She was a little shy, and a little scared about what was going on. She would be riding shotgun, but from past experience I have learned you never let a dog ride unrestrained (lest you want to see what "great" drivers they are as they pop your car into neutral and turn the wheel toward the jersey wall... (thanks Charlotte!)).
So I used a carabiner (a tool of salvation) to hook the leash to the side of the car with enough slack for her to lie down, but not crawl into my lap. She seemed sooo happy to just sit on her little red blanket and just sat there while we loaded Lady Priscilla into the last crate.
I have to give Priscilla major Kudos, she was a dream to transport: not a peep, no fight getting into the carrier, no accidents, no drama. She is just incredibly easy going and friendly.
|Priscilla in her crate, better picture later on!|
|My rear-view (don't worry, there was 0 traffic)|
I occasionally looked in the rear-view mirror to make sure everyone was still breathing because I am so not used to silent puppies.
In fact, every puppy has made some sort of sound. One whine, a happy bark, something.
Not these 5, silent and stealthy.
I'd glance back and see Bimmer trying to fit one of his siblings in his mouth, or silently wrestling with Bingo or bongo, or chewing on Butterbean's foot, but no one made a sound.
Tiny Dancer stood most of the trip to Holly's. I think she was a little nervous and every time the tired made a sound, the windshield wipers moved, etc she would turn quickly to look in that direction and would stop panting. I would tell her it's ok, and she'd go right back to panting. She just needed that bit of reassurance that the sounds weren't bad. At one point, right over our car there was one huge clap of thunder. All of the puppies jumped up and looked around and Tiny dancer ducked. I patted her head and told the pups it was ok and soon we were back to the status-quo.
Once we were at Holly's we began unloading the pups. Tiny Dancer stood on the center terminal and looked back, watching to make sure everyone was ok. We noticed she seems to have been nursing pups fairly recently, and so she seemed to have semi-adopted these pups and would occasionally lick one through the bars. I can only imagine what an amazing mama she was.
So the great flood began again and Bimmer, Bingo, and Bongo pushed and shoved to be the first ones out. Butterbean was content to wait until her 3 rowdy brothers had gotten out before I reached in and got her. Banjo, on the other hand, now had the crate to himself, and seemed content to stay there until foster-daddy Glenn came to get him out.
I then switched Tiny dancer to the big crate with her blankie and she was very happy to hop in and curl up. I think the crate makes her feel a bit more secure. We traveled the last 45 minute leg and yet again, the car was silent. The girls were more than happy to just chill. When we arrived the girls didn't know there was a party waiting for them. Gisele, Megan, Maria, and Vicki were all in the back yard with their respective packs. Lady Priscilla waltzed right in and made herself at home, socializing with the other dogs and occasionally making eyes at those sitting at the table (with food) (but not begging, just looking pretty). Tiny Dancer was a bit more shy, but with some encouragement could be convinced that the others we're going to hurt her. I think once she has some time to recover from the stress of transport, she will come out of her shell and find her joy.
Gisele surprised me with dinner (which i am incredibly grateful for) which was amazing (better than I could ever make) and We spent about an hour, chilling with the dogs and enjoying good company. about an hour and a half after arriving I had to take my leave (it was almost midnight after all) and begin the hour drive home.
About 15 minutes in I noticed an orange light on the dash.... Congratulation! Your gas is almost out! I remedied the situation and around 1:20 am crawled through the front door, tired, but happy.
Seven little lives were settling in to sleep in what must seem like heaven compared to where they came from. Here, they would never fear for their lives, or wonder where their next meal would come from. The puppies will soon discover Holly's amazing chicken stew and will probably lick a hole in the floor for the last drop. Tiny Dancer will learn there is nothing to be afraid of, and Lady Priscilla will finally be treated like the beautiful girl she is and get the care she needs.
If you ever need a reminder what life is about,
watch a dog realize that this amazing new life isn't going away,
and their old life is never coming back.
and their old life is never coming back.
It will both break your heart and make your soul sing.