On Saturday, two of our big dogs left the corral on their way to forever homes in the Vancouver area. After a change in their plans, our volunteer transporters Joanie & Adrian became available to fly two dogs but we had less than 24 hours to make it happen!
So, what does it take to “make it happen?” Twenty-four hours is about the bare minimum required and usually a few days to a week is better but the process is the same. First, we take the dog(s) out of the corral and take them to our home for a thorough bath, ear cleaning, tick/flea check. Since we put a tepetate surface in the corral and started fumigating, the flea/tick problem has been dramatically reduced but we still like to give a head-to-toe check.
In addition to the bath, a trip to Dra. Lhia is required for any necessary vaccinations (Saturday, Reina was totally up-to-date but Mona needed her Rabies vaccine) and for Lhia to prepare the paperwork for the airlines and Customs in the destination country. The requirements of different airlines vary slightly so we’ve all become experts at what one (Aeromexico in this case) requires versus another.
The day before travel, we get an appropriately sized carrier to our place and give it a thorough cleaning with diluted bleach and then leave it out and open so the traveling dog(s) can inspect it, smell it, get in it (or on it), and just get used to it.
Finally, the day of travel, we give the traveling pup a light meal and water. We line the crate with newspaper and pee-pee pads, fill a yogurt container or something with dry food, and provide another empty container that can be used for water. And, we take off their old collar and give them a brand new one to look sharp when they arrive at their destination. Usually, we even have a brand new matching leash for their new collar.
At the airport, we meet the transport volunteers with the dog and go through the check-in process with them to make sure everything goes smoothly and that the dog is checked-in and ready to fly. With dogs that travel in the cabin, the transport volunteers take them through security. With a dog traveling in cargo, the volunteers proceed through security but we are able to stay with the dog outside for a while longer. The airline representatives give us a “last minute” time when we need to have the dogs in their crates to be taken as cargo but until then, we are able to walk the dogs through the airport or outside where there’s a small garden area where they can do their business.
Our goal is to make the experience as smooth as possible for the transport volunteers and to eliminate as much stress as we can for the traveling dog. Usually the dogs acclimate remarkably fast to their new climate and surroundings and we love to see pictures and videos of them playing in their new home.
In the case of our transport on Saturday, all ended well but it was an epic journey for Joanie & Adrian. Their flight left Zihuatanejo on time, around 6:15pm. However, their connecting flight in Mexico City, scheduled to depart at 1am for Vancouver, was canceled. They were re-booked for a flight on Sunday morning and finally arrived in Vancouver at noon, west coast time. About 24 hours after checking in for their flight in Zihua! Fortunately, Mona and Reina were not checked all the way through from Zihua to Vancouver so Joanie & Adrian were able to walk them, get them water, food, and generally keep them calm. We are always so grateful to our transport volunteers but when things go awry like this, and they sometimes do, we appreciate them just a little more for their efforts.
In the end, Mona & Reina made it safely to Vancouver with Ciara who will be fostering them until forever homes are found. Thank you to Joanie, Adrian, and Ciara for making the trip for Mona & Reina possible. And thank you to Jeanie for virtually fostering Reina until we were able to find transport and a foster for her in Cananda.
~Mitchell, Patty, and the Amigos Crew