Friday, January 26, 2018

Motels and pets

Pet friendly motels, now there is a subject I know a lot about. Fifteen years of traveling with animals, I know about every pet friendly hotel in the country.

Since we transport pets around the country via ground, our larger vans are ideal for travel. Their are outfitted like a motor home with perks for ourselves as well as the pets. It's equipped with extra generator, ac/heat, electricity, bed, like a mini hotel room with lots of kennels.
Good thing about trips with the big van is all my own personal stuff stays put. No need to drag my bags, kennels and pets into a hotel after a log day of driving.

There are times when the large van is not the right fit for the job. So we utilize mini vans to keep expenses down. Of course by keeping expenses lower we can keep the price of our service down. Problem with using a mini van is we loose the comfort and ease of traveling.
Yes, we transport peoples pets but we also have to remember its a round the clock kind of job. Which means at the end of the driving day, after the dogs have been walked and fed, cats have their little boxes, we still have to finish with taking care of our own personal needs. Mini vans just don't give any kind of amenities needed for personal care. So off to the motels we go.

Everyone knows there's a fat line between pet friendly hotels and "pet friendly hotels"
Anyone ever make a reservation at a motel that listed themselves as "pet friendly", is told at check in by the front desk about your pet. "Oh, there's a $50 pet fee non-refundable fee". LOL!!! That is NOT pet friendly. That is buying a room at a hotel for your dog.

Kiki, my dog and I were heading up I 95 one night after finishing a job. It was late, and I had enough of pounding up the race track trying not to play bumper cars. Pulled off to a hotel that offered rooms for $59 dollars a night. Not bad, was only spending six to seven hours there. I walked into the front lobby asked if they allowed pets. Yep! Room was $59, pet fee was $100. That was not a deposit, that was the actual charge for Kiki that night. So for me to sleep its sixty bucks, my dog to sleep a hundred. I think that fool behind the desk thought he was either funny or thought I was an easy mark. I would sleep on the ground before I would put up with that kind of scam.

I'm not exactly the smooth talking kind of person. I tend to call a fool a fool when I see one. They say if you hold in your anger it will give you heart problems. Well no heart problems that night.

Typically we have more than one pet when we are going into a hotel, some of the chains will say oh yes, we will accept your reservation, but its $10 for each pet. Well again for us that racks up to almost as much as the room cost. Kind of defeats the low cost expenses. Its usually when we end up on a one horse town, where there are little to no major chain hotels where we run into the take out a second mortgage to pay for the hotel room for the night to accommodate the pets.

These are my favorite. The hotel was built when I was born. The furniture in it looks like something that came out of my parents home. The carpet is so thread bare you can see the flooring underneath. The comforter on the bed is orange. Seriously who using orange, my great grandmother.  They charge me more than the value of the entire building, then on top of that give me attitude about "having pets with me" Like the pets are going to destroy their chic retro dump.

After fifteen years we've been able to find the various chains that are true pet friendly hotels. They set aside rooms specifically for families that are traveling with their furry family members. They don't charge a pet fee. Its one price for the whole family. That is a true "PET FRIENDLY HOTEL".

All chain hotels have a pet policy. Most are pretty standard. Don't leave your pet in the room by itself it the biggest one. Which unless you bring your meals with you or you can cook in your room pretty much means you starve because you have a pet with you. Feel like your chained to your room might as well stay home.
I've been to a few that ask that you crate your pet if  your going to be out of your room. This hotel is a true pet friendly hotel. They understand if your in a motel, you have to go out for food, some times you have to go to the store, and sometime you are going to a local attraction. They are asking you keep your pet secured, while keeping the hotel safe also.

In my eyes this is a proper deal. I have the means to go out and get done what I need to without the worry of my pet sitting in the vehicle. The hotel staff can do what they need to do without worrying about my pets running out the door. As much as you want to believe that when you tell hotel staff not to go into your room the language doesn't always transcend.

On one particular trip, we had put the no service sign on the door. We came back to find our hotel room door hanging wide open. We had let our cat Zoe out in the room believing no one would be entering the room.
When you spend you life traveling you begin to run you life around the idea people and companies will pretty much ignore anything you say or ask.

There is one other major thing pet friendly hotels do that trips my trigger. The thought process that goes behind this, well there is no though process. These are the hotels that insist on booking all their pets onto the 4th floor or top floor in general.

I was moving a few senior dogs across the country. One was being delivered into Roswell, NM. The other older dog going to CA. The dog was so incontinent, as soon as he stood up the dribble started. Getting him out of the mini van was simple enough. I just put potty pads on the floor and he dribbled going out the door. Changed the pads every day. The issue was getting him out of the motel in time.
I delivered in Roswell after dark. This was my stopping point. The main office booked me into the local Motel 6. Not my favorite hotels but cheap. At check-in I'm informed we are on the 4th floor. Now, I've been driving all day, dealing with a dog that needs to stop every two hours, its cold, late, windy enough to keep the flags straight. Just a long miserable day, I was finished, then I find out I have to cart two #500 kennels, compute pack, luggage, and pet bags to the 4th floor. That would be the easy part, in the morning I would need to get this incontinent dog from the far reaches of the hotel, down the hall, into the elevator, down to the first floor and out the back door. And he is suppose to hold it.

I have trouble holding it in the morning and the bathroom is less than ten steps away. I'm going to ask this senior dog to hold it while we walk for 15 minutes to get him outside. NOT! I think its the first time I was so upset I walked out. Reservation or not, I was not dealing with the stupidity of the hotel policy and trying to get this poor dog outside in time.
That night I ended up down the road at a LaQuinta. My first question was, "Do you have a downstairs room?" I explained the situation with the dog I was moving and needed to be as close to a door as possible. That beautiful woman put us right beside the back door. Stated she understood that putting a senior dog upstairs didn't make any sense at all.

For some reason beyond explanation the new trend is to put the dogs up on the highest floor, and charge a major deposit. I walked into a room the other night with at least a dozen pee spots. Like I'm suppose to prove one of those pee spots wasn't caused by my pet. The hotel decides to keep that $100 deposit. Good thing I take pictures on every room I enter and leave.

Point of this blog, if your traveling with your own pets ask questions when you make that reservation. Is there pet charge? How much? Is that charge a deposit or is it non-refundable? Listen carefully, as some will say, " its a $50 non-refundable deposit."  Ask what floor will you be on. If you have a senior dog that requires help getting out of the hotel in the morning you don't want to be anywhere but on the ground floor.
Also remember to take pictures upon entering your room. If there are stains on the carpet, chew marks on the furniture then go immediately downstairs and report the issue. Tell them you will not be held responsible for the conditions already existing. TAKE PICTURES, TAKE PICTURES, TAKE PICTURES, make the front desk aware you have pictures of the conditions.
Protect your pet, protect yourself. Safe Travels!!!
#movingwithpets, #petsinhotels, #travelingsafelywithpets, #travelingpets

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Labels, they define, confine and bind.

This country is all about giving things a label. Everything has to have a label. We don't know how to understand something unless it has a label.
The late 70's early 80's seem to be the start of really putting a label on things. It gave purpose and reason to things that otherwise would have no logic.
Over the years the labeling has taken on new meaning. We go so far as to give it a hash tag. In the "old days" that hash tag was a pound sign. Now labels are used to create worldwide movements, and the labels give meaning and purpose. A chance to give us understanding.

Truth is that is not always the case. Labels can be used to define a situation, confine a person to perception, and bind a person to society's beliefs.

My formative years were through the 7'0's-80's. I ended up with the dreaded "f" word label. Yep, I was a foster child. People during that time period seemed to feel everyone had to be exactly the same. Cookie cutter families, in perfect homes, with perfect parents. Anything outside that garnered you a label. That meant there was something seriously wrong with you.

At that time being a foster kid was an anomaly. Very few had ever heard of it, let alone understood why a child didn't live with their parents, which left the meaning open to imagination. People can be so cruel when they don't understand a label, most have the fortitude to restrain their mouth from their thoughts. Kids on the other hand tend to blurt what their head is thinking.

 Many kids had no problem telling me on a regular basis I was a foster kid, so there was something wrong with me. One girl even went so far as to taunt me in front of an entire class how my parents didn't love me, that was why I had to live with another family.
Feeling like someone had just shoved me into a box and nailed the lid shut, I exploded. Yep, went ballistic in front of the entire eighth grade class. I felt such shame that day, like a stain had been etched into my soul. Her words did exactly what she meant for them to do. She labeled me, explained the reason for the label and the consequences of why I was such an unfit person in society.

Very few understood that living with my family was a life threatening situation.  It was easier to live with perception of what people thought of me being a foster kid then explain what really caused the strange family dynamics. I eventually graduated high school and left that dreadful past behind.

Years later I was once more reminded of the label that was bestowed upon me years earlier. Only this time that label held a different meaning and outcome.
I had spent a great deal of time remaking myself after school. I became a normal person, with a husband, kids, business, business owner, a person about town I was. Gone was the stigma of being a foster kid. I could make things happen. I was a productive person, with ambition. Someone that was going places.

Then out of nowhere poof, someone decided to remind me of my roots. My stepfather had died and I was expected to attend the funeral. Doing the proper thing I attended. I walked in as a business professionals and saw the other business owners who I knew from working with them in a business setting. The looks on their faces was priceless. All wondering why I was standing there. Complete shock set in when they realized "I was the little girl the family had that had disappeared more than ten years ago". Some told me they thought I had died.

Nope I'm right here. Not dead. Well where have I been and why didn't I tell them who I was. Again, here came the cuss word again, I was a foster kid. Didn't live with them. Didn't want to be associated with them. None of their business.

What brought the whole situation home was the day the bank president walked into my office and proceeded to grill me on who I was. Like I had lied to him or something. Nope never lied, never changed my name, just didn't want to deal with the labels or what they meant. I didn't want special treatment, pity, or anything else. I just wanted fair treatment, equal footing, a level start just like everyone else.

That day changed everything, once again the battle was on. Those that realized who I was and what had happened to me as a child either ignored me, or gave me that pity stare. All of a sudden the one that was ambitious was not quite good enough. I wasn't entitled to the same chances. I didn't have what it took to be a leader. Again someone actually had the balls to come into my office and tell me that.

Something very painful occurred to me that day. I was never going to out run, work hard enough, do enough of the right things to shed this coat of a label. That label society had given me, defined me as a person, and were intent on keeping me where they thought all foster children should conduct their lives. Really who was I to decide I was better than my background. The only why to shed the label was to leave and start over. That is exactly what I did. No labels, I was just some poor slub making my way in the world just like everyone else.

I despise labels. I get angry every time I hear someone feel then need to describe something with a label, giving an action a purpose or meaning as if it can never be changed.

We've heard a lot over the years when people describe their pets to us. Some are just so funny. We can see the pet's personality in what people describe to us. Like our own pets we see the funny in how pet's live their lives mixed in our own family. How pets ingrain themselves into our family fabric.

Sometimes we hear the label. One person described their dog to us as 'used pet' that needed moved.
Like they were telling us that pet wasn't worth as much as a pure breed. So that dog wasn't entitled to the same care, love and comfort as a new dog.

Maybe the inclination was the cost of transport should be less because it was a used dog. Not that the dog required the same space, care, walks, and feeding as the regular dogs. Still others will describe their dog to us a rescued pet. Yes, most people have the absolute best interest of the pet at heart. What many don't realized by using the label "rescued" every time they describe their pet, a certain mental thought process goes with that label. It may be unconscious but most of the time its still there.

 I understand the fear, anger and uncertainty that rescued pets have and yes there are things you have to keep your pet from doing or going while they are acclimating itself to your family.
 Animals don't go around thinking oh I'm a rescue. So I'm entitled to potty in the house, bark excessively, bite, have more treats., jump on people. because I'm special. What they want is to feel safe, secure and know their needs will be met. Everything else we give them is gravy in their eyes
Look at your pet just as you do any other family member you love. Not where it came from or what it went through, no labels. Yes, keep it in the back of your head why a pet may react a certain way. Training and reprogramming a rescued pet is a topic for another day :)

A pet that has been labeled doesn't have the ability to get up and walk away to get a fresh start. They are depending on you to give them that fresh start.

When you introduce your pet as a rescue what you are saying is he's different, damaged, please be gentle. What its interpreted as by others is, what's wrong with that pet. Is the pet going to hurt others. Should I be worried?  Because there is a stigma in society that says a rescued pet is a damaged pet, unwanted animal, not worthy of main stream wants and desires.  All the pet feels is the unexplained anxiety from the new person.

The word rescued is a verb not a noun. Someone rescued the pet, vetted it, gave it shots. You adopted the pet. The pet is now a member of your family, who just wants the same love, attention and care as everyone else with no labels.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Pet Parent Jealousy or Hurt Feelings

We all like to believe our pets have eyes only for us. Its a hit to the ego when we first witness our pet's first fling and that fling is not with us.
Transporting pets we witness pet parent jealousy first hand. The first time I can remember witnessing a pet parent nose become skewed we were relocating an Akita named Rex. As we were going over our usual paperwork we notice the dog was missing. Since we typically get ambushed at the front door by the dogs. It was noticeable the dog was missing. 
The client proceeds to tell us Rex doesn't like anyone else. "We were going to have issues with Rex doing what we wanted. Probably will have trouble getting him onto the van." 
Jill and I exchange glances. I'm thinking oh great we have a mean dog getting on. Humm, I'll let Jill handle Rex. Jill in her normal casual nonchalant manner turns around, "So, where is Rex." 
"Oh, he is in the bedroom upstairs." I'll have to go get him for you". The client says.
I continue with the paperwork, load the other pets and their belongings. Jill in the meantime grabs a leash and heads up to the bedroom. Three minutes later she come strolling out the door with this beautiful bounding Akita, who appears to be wearing of all things a smile. Rex is just bouncing beside Jill out the door, down the driveway and poof into the van. I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I was expecting a growly, snarly, skittish hulk of a dog trying to back out of his collar. Nope, bouncy boy leaped into the van and right into the kennel, with this dorky grin on his face. 
Kind of like. Wahooo! Where we going? He kept that same attitude the entire trip. He was on some great adventure, and we were his tour guides. 
Right about then the pet parent  walks out and says, "I'll go get Rex, are you ready for him. This will take some time." Urrr, well he is already in the van, Jill says. For a split second absolute shock crossed the pet parents face, also what appeared to be jealousy.
To our client's mixture of utter dismay and elation Rex had a blast on his trip. Arriving happy in AZ a few days later.
Its hard to remember every pet that rides with us. But some really stand out. On another trip, I was picking up seven pets out of West Virginia and taking them to southern California, the desert. As usual we get the cats loaded first, and work our way onto the dogs that think that bus outside is for them. Oh that's right it is for them.
 Last but not least is one shepherd mix, Shelby, giving me the stink eye. Not a chance in hell she was getting on that vehicle. If those others want to go for a ride, well bully for them. More half an hour later, daylight burning, I still have to get out of these mountains before dark, the owner and I finally get her into the van and settled into her crate. Off we go, into the winding, bending, hills of West Virginia, Even I wanted to puke after getting off those mountains.
As with any trip we have this twenty four hour window of flight time with any dog, especially one that is pissed we took them away from their known digs. When its time for potty breaks I like to start with the dog that has been on the longest and rotate from there. Since they all got on at the same time on this trip, well I started with the dog that was the happiest to see me.
Rotation almost complete I get around to Shelby, its time for her potty walk. Nope, not going anywhere near me or out that van door. Not wanting to stress Shelby out I gently closed the door and off we continued. Over the first twenty four hour period Ms. Shelby decided a potty break might be in order, as long as I didn't expect anything else from her. Fair enough, taking our time and giving her space she warmed up to us. Treats helped thaw that edge. Four days into our journey we had reach the outskirts of CA where there is only scrub brush and thorns.
Potty breaks here are always a challenge. Knowing where to walk the dogs and where to avoid because of prickly burrs.  It was a learning process those first few years. We would walk dogs and all of a sudden they would start limping. We had to stop and feel around their paws to get the burrs out. After which we would pick the dog up and carry them back to the van. Not too bad if the dog weights twenty five pounds. Its the fifty and above dogs that about broke our backs.
By this point of the trip even though Shelby was not impressed with the scenery she still allowed me to check her over and carry her to the van.
Over the years we have found small oasis on the west coast to walk dogs.
This was going to be Shelby's new back yard, and front yard, don't forget the side yard. Yep, all desert. Arriving mid afternoon to a small ranch, unloading was quick and easy, as usual. Having had the pet parent sign off and a few quick tails of our adventure we made our way back around to the van to go. I opened the side door to secure loose crate, up jumps Shelby. Well that was a change from our first experience. The pet parent looks please her dog has come around in such a short period of time and is showing such loyalty to us.
A few minute of laughing and joking about her wanting to stay on the van we all start to shoo Shelby out of the van, its time to go. Shelby on the other hand reverts back to her previously life and growls. Not a chance in hell is she getting out of the van. What started out as cute and charming quickly becomes awkward for both us and the pet parent. By this point in time Shelby has ensconced herself into the front seat. Both of the front doors are open and she Shelby is bearing all teeth. Nope not moving. Took us almost twenty minutes trying to get Shelby out of the van. It was clear the pet parent was a bit mussed over her dog dissing her so openly.
Now it was time for my nose to get twisted out of joint. You all know my dog Kiki. If you don't know here look around on our website or facebook, you will meet her. Kiki has been my side kick since we got her, about six years ago.
She will go bounding up and say hi to anyone. But she only has eyes for me. Should I say had eyes for me.
A yearly tradition has been for us to take a van load of pets to Florida. Our snowbird pets, that leave right after Christmas. We have spent the last few years in Florida for New Years. Nothing more awesome then spending the New Year in eighty degree weather instead of being up to our nose in freezing temps.
We hired a new pet sitter recently, after some serious issues with the last sitter. The new sitter came the day before we are set to pull out to get the general rundown.
"Well, isn't she getting a bit porky." The pet sitter says. "We will have to run some of that fat off of her, won't we."
The angels came down from heaven and sang in Kiki's ears, "WE ARE GOING TO PLAY ALL WEEK." NO ONE TO STOP ME. WEEE"  This is a dog that makes it her lifes mission to play. Life is grand if one can play.
 Never mind the "fat" comment. Kiki needed to drop a few pounds to keep her hips in shape.
The evening we pull out the pet sitter shows up to spend the night. Poof, off Kiki goes into another's arms. Kiki was sitting on the pet sitters lap looking at me like "Its ok with you, isn't it mom?"
Not that I think she really cared.
We walked out the door and there she was sitting beside the sitter, looking at me with a look that said,  See yah mom, I"m gonna play all week." Not bothering her I was heading out without her.
As we are heading down the road Jill says to me. "Whats wrong with you? You got your nose out of joint, the way Kiki tossed you over."
I was absolutely devastated she preferred the sitter over me. She was having a fling with another person. That chewed in my craw all week. It finally dawned on me how people feel when their pets go off with someone else. Its even worse when they go off with their tails wagging and they forget to look back.
One thing is for sure. Dogs will gladly have their fling. But their true love is always their pet parent.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Another year draws to a close

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was a very quiet one. Gone are the days when the house was loaded, full of life. Kids bouncing down the steps in the morning, laughing and excited. As teenagers and early twenties, breakfast was a rush of loud exchanges of laughter and fun.
One year we got our kids laser tag. At the time they were 17, 16, 14, and 12. Since we let the kids open one gift Christmas evening they all chose the BIG GIFT. That evening the kids had a blast. They starting playing in the house and quickly migrated outside where there were trees and buildings to hid behind. Less chance of getting tagged. They played until 3 am, when finally we got a call from the neighbors asking the kids to quiet down. Fair enough, people have to sleep sometime. Since tomorrow was Christmas, it was a short night.
We were a blended family, and these times were all to special having everyone together. The kids looked forward to seeing each other as much as we looked forward to it.
We would head off to the grocery store hours before everyone's expected arrival. Hundreds of dollars later spent to fill the pantry and frig for four teenagers. First thing out of everyone's mouth as they can walking in the door dropping their bags on the way into the kitchen, "Whats for dinner?" Everyone took turns planning a meal and cooking. The love and fun we shared in the kitchen and around the table was truly memorable. The discussions around the table were uncensored. To most newcomers this was shocking. But to our kids it was home, comfortable, warm and loving. A place where they could hang their hat for a few hours and just be themselves. No one judging, yelling, telling them what they should or should not be doing.

Over the years the house has grown quiet for the holidays. Kids are grown and off doing things with their own families and going to the in-laws houses. Now its the two of us rattling around the house with the two cats, Samson and Titi and our dog Kiki.
Christmas was not a rush to the tree, no more mass tearing of Christmas paper, no banding in the kitchen to decide who would make the eggs, bacon, toast.
Instead we were late to rise, fed the animals. Its just another day to them. Its hard when you feel the rush be then realize the actions just don't match the feeling.
The big rush this year was Kiki getting her gift. No wrapping paper, I just sat the toy under the tree. For her that is saying something that she didn't run off with it before we had a chance to give it to her.
I walked into the living room calling Kiki after me, "Oh Kiki! You want to see what mommy got you." In she came tail wagging, eyes shining, ears perked. Well of course I want to see what I got, her expression says. Don't leaving me guessing. Sometimes this dog is too much.
For three minutes we have that rush one gets when there is some excitement happening. It took all of thirty seconds for Kiki to realize the thing under the tree was for her. OMG!!!! ITS A FRESEBEE!!!!. If that dog could talk, she would have hugged us. Barely time to get the tag off it, she jumped up snatched it out of my hand and headed for the dog flap. After smashing fresebee and herself in the wall all we saw after was her swinging backside out the flap.
It was cold as snot that day. Too cold for me to want to stand out there and fling this thing through the yard. So she spend the afternoon having a free expression play day. For Kiki that means she gets to bury her toy in the leaves and then dig, dig, dig, and puff look what I found mom. A FRESEBEE!!! WOHOOO!!. Problem is this time she lost it in the leaves. That toy lasted all of four hours. By dark, it had disappeared and its yet to be seen. Hard to believe as it was florescent green.
As some point she will either stumble over it while diving for something else or I will end up moving over it, or burning it. I've found toys a year later in the strangest places.

For now as our kids make their own families and create their own holiday traditions we look to our pets to fill that need for the holidays wonder and excitement. 
Pets help fill the want to lavish love and joy during this festive time of year keeping us connected to that string of life. 

As we roll into 2018, if you received a pet for Christmas, remember its a living breathing thing. They take hard work, patience, and understanding. Puppies and kittens are like kids, knowledge is not by osmosis of where to potty, or what is appropriate behavior. You have give them time, training, discipline and love. In return they will give you laughter, excitement and companionship.
I hope you experience the same insane fun time with your pet(s) heading into the New Year. 

Happy New Year from all of us at Precious Pets Transport, LLC.
Safe Travels!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Getting home before the holiday!

Christmas, the most wonderful
time of the year. For puppies
and Kitties getting new homes. 

I missed last weeks rattle.Left on Saturday for a week long run around the east coast. Uph! Off to the panhandle of Fl then to Mississippi.
Had only two pickups. A Shiba Inu named Sheezu and a Schnauzer named Toby.
Weather was a bit of a mix. It was nice to head south for a few days. I left my house and the weather was cold, wet and rainy. Patches of sun filtered through the clouds on the way south. With a one day of solid warm sun.
Every time I leave my house to go out on a run, runs being anywhere from  five days to up to 14 days, I try to mentally run my days to give myself a target date of when I think I should be home.
 Its a catch 22 feeling. Part of me wants to get out of the office and spend time on the road, the other half of me wants to come home every night and crawl into my own bed. Have had to teach myself to pace the trip. Try not to over due it to get home that one day sooner. Nothing worse then coming home and needing three days to re-coop.

This particular run was an easy one compared to my last run. The last run was to the west coast with 8 dogs. One dog prone to seizures. His meds didn't do much to ward off his seizures. Most seizures ended with him needing to be cleaned. That not being the only issue. One of the little dogs would go on a barking rage, his kennel right at my ear height. Five days into the trip with the little one barking in my ear,  causing the other dogs to get onto his bark wagon, I wanted to have a seizure.

It was a pleasure having just two little dogs on board. Sheezu going from Fl to upstate Maine. Troy a short timer got on in Mississippi,his ride took him to Maryland.

The first night out was a quite night in Georgia. I never really sleep well on that first night. Early am comes fast and back on the road it is. By this time I'm starting to get into the swing of the trip. I finally push off the home feeling, emotionally and mentally settling into the routine of the trip. Doing a quick math calculation realizing I can shorten my trip by one full day if I can get the first dog on board early. Yes, I"m a day early but its the holidays and getting finished early would be great. Two days of calling the pickup location, getting no answer, a terrible diet the last 24 hours leaves me with a screaming headache. The desire to push on goes out the window. Finally getting the right number for the pickup, still no answer, the decision is made to take it easy today. Booked myself into a hotel early. Its Sunday I tell myself, I've worked all week,  its ok to take a bit longer and sit still for the evening.
7 am and its time to get moving. The travel gods were with me, both Sheezu and Troy were picked up and northbound we were heading. The one thing I always forget to factor into my day is when its time to stop in the evening. Getting one person into the hotel room is easy. Getting animals into the hotel can be a bit more of a challenge. Where the challenge comes in is having a serious migraine, needing to eat, tired, dogs are wining, where is my hotel room, second floor no elevator. Crates and luggage have to be dragged upstairs. Dogs need walked, dinner served. All before I can think about my own needs, all except using the bathroom myself. Sorry that trumps everything.
These two little ones are pretty subdue. Quite, Sheezu with an aloof expression, Troy acts like he has had a few too many coffees. Some exercise and food they both settle into a quiet night.
Day 3, is nothing but driving, stopping for breaks and more diving. Not getting to Troys home until late night its decided Troy will spend one more night at the hotel with me and delivery will be early morning. If we can get through traffic.
Getting to Troys home he is so excited. Troy runs up to the front door and starts barking. You can just hear him, 'Mom, Mom, open up I"m here." Unfortunately mom is not hom. Troy looked so crest fallen when I asked him to get back into the van. We didn't have to wait for long.
Off we head to the North Pole, or better known as Maine. Its winter, snow is always expected. Question is can we get in and back out before being snowed under. Having experienced a snow storm in Maine its not a bucket list kind of want.
Timing is everything when traveling into the Northeast. Most of the time one can plan to add an additional two hours to a trip north. On a bad day you can add another 3 to 4 hours. You really have to enjoy sitting in your vehicle. Luck was with us that day we hit the Maine just after dark.
The lower part of Maine is like any other city/state. Lots of people, lights, tolls are the surroundings.
Its not until one passes Augusta one sees the difference. Its feels like the land in the book called The Shining. By day its peaceful, and quite beautiful, feels like your having private time with God. By night, traveling alone, you may think a ghoul will crawl out of the woods and stop you along the highway. Maybe not a ghoul but rather a moose may visit the side of the road. Knowing your along on a long dark highway, to keep ones fear in check, audio books are the choice of listening. Just not horror books.
We arrived at the hotel, temps are a balmy twenty five degrees. Sheezu gets dinner and some yum yum so he will eat. Apparently it was yummy, after eating it was time to find the tail. Sheezu spinning in circles until he bites his tail. Yep its still there.   
The next morning temps at eleven degrees creates one cranky, Lin. Thirty miles from drop of, Sheezu and I made a mad dash to destination. Snow and ice are on the menu for the next day. I'm just not a snow, ice kind of gal, so dropping and running south is the priority for the day.
Our main event ends with Sheezu getting of the van into two feet of snow, eleven degrees, meeting grams and family for the first time. Taking a few minutes to introduce her dog with Sheezu, nose to butt. In time they will get along. Just may take a bit more than ten minutes.
Twelve hours from home with no traffic. Sixteen with traffic, the goal get below the well advertised snow line that is expected the next day. Thoughts of home whistle in my head. Reality is getting home tonight is a no go.
Just happy everyone is home this year, safe and sound. Now its my turn to get home for the holidays.
For every pet, pet parent, drivers and all Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from Jill and Lin. May your holiday be a bless and happy one.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Planning for the "What if".ever happens

www.preciouspetstransport.comWhen we started our pet transport business it gave us such freedom. We could travel the US without much of a care, except our pets. At the time we had two cats, Tiggy & Samson and a dog Rosie.

At first it was a bit of a quandary trying to figure out what to do with them. Then the light bulb went on! What else to you do with a pet transport business, we took them with us!

Every other Sunday we loaded the van with our personal possessions including our own pets. Tiggy loved it, she was a New York kind of girl. She loved the night lights going down through Times Square and she would jump onto the dashboard and stretch out. Her little eyes just glittering at the lights.

Samson, not so much the world traveler.Our first few hours were filled with his beautiful singing, starting out at a low baritone rumble and building to his highest soprano pitch in a crescendo of a wail, or until Tiggy had enough and smacked him. Wait 2 minutes. Then the repertoire would start over, and so it went on for the first 24 hours or until the first family was picked up.

Rosie, our ever so calm happy hound, grew into the perfect protection dog. She let any pet on and off the van no problem. Kept an eye on the van when I went into use the bathroom or pay for fuel.
Sat with pets that were crying and nervous. For the five years she was with us after we started the business Rosie went on almost every trip.

At first we all rode in the van together. As the business grew we separated into two vans. We split the pets between the two of us. And so we went for another few years. Finally the business grew to where one of us had to stay home to answer phones, answer questions and just generally handle the business.

Samson applauded first, he was ecstatic! That was great but occasionally either a trip came up that was just too much for one person or we just wanted company, so we would team up and ride together. We tried taking Samson again but he showed his true displeasure by peeing on the drivers seat, not once but twice. Problem was I didn't realize my backside was wet until I stood up. Then I could smell my new perfume. "Ode to Cat Pee"the new fragrance, sold in the cat isle. LOL!

We tried re-homing Samson with my son. The first thing he did was to pee on my sons bed. So back he came. After much frustration with trying to sort out what to do with him while we were on the road taking care of other people's pets we decided to hire a pet sitter to come to our house and care for the cats. BINGO!

So to the point of this blog. One of the forms I had to fill out was a "Next of Kin". I was a bit horrified when I saw the form. The pet sitter in her most professional manner said, "what happens if your in an accident. What do I do with your pets." Now that was a thought that never crossed our minds. What would happen with my pets? The pet sitter didn't know my kids names, addresses or phone numbers.

Over the last 15 years of being a pet transporter I've seen more and more where this is such a necessity. New families will be getting new pets for Christmas Its a time of fun, love and festivities and this is such a dark unhappy subject that no one wants to think about it let alone discuss it.

We transport many senior clients and their pets. Too many to count over the years. Some clients have become true friends and we talk about family, their pets, work, even politics. Its has become something special to us. However, the one thing we have learned to do is have an honest discussion about their pets future, as uncomfortable as that talk is.

What do you have planned for your pets in the event something happens to you?

Two and half years ago one of our long time clients who we had been driving his car and cat to Florida and back twice a year, his health started failing, so we had that discussion about his cat.

At the time no one in his family was willing to take TT. Realizing this was a heartbreaking moment for the client, we talked about it and put it out there, we would adopt TT if he wanted.

Early this year we received the awaited email. Our client was coming back home early, only this time we were to bring TT home with us. She is now a loving part of our family.

Over the years we have done many heartbreaking bereavement transports where the pet parent has passed away unexpectedly.  One person went in for surgery, did not make it through. Another never made it home from work that day. Many other sad heartbreaking not just stories but sad events. Events that changed not only the families life but the pet's life.

We went on vacation overseas this year I sat with my son and daughter to specifically discuss what to do with Zoe, TT, Samson, and Kiki in the event something tragic happened to us.

Its important NO MATTER WHAT AGE YOU ARE if you have a pet or are planning to get a pet, make arrangements for your pet(s) in the event something happens to you.

Many times over the years we received phone calls from attorneys of clients to inform us we were to relocate a pet to a new family member or friend. Those people understood life does not go on forever. They did the responsible thing and made plans for their pets.

Whether you have one pet or many more, make plans for them. Remember being a pet parent means making responsible decisions for your pet even after you are gone!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Times have changed, so has how we love & care for our pets.

When I was young, some 45 plus years ago, yes add a few years to make me a wee one. We had pets. Or rather we had dogs and cats running around the farm. Our cats lived in the barn, their diet was whatever little vermin they could catch. By day you would see them coursing about between the house and barn. By night they would huddle together somewhere in the loft keeping each other warm.
Our dogs had their own house outside, better known as a dog house. Since money was tight and dog store bought dog food expensive, the dog's diet typically was the same diet as ours. If we had soup that night, the bowls were scrapped into the dog bowl, one scoop of dry food and presto. That  what the dogs were eating. When it was time to butcher. Well that was treat time for the dogs. Bones and left over meat was boiled, frozen and saved for later. Yep, ready made dog food.

I know some of you are completely horrified by this. And yes, at this time of my life I would never think about cleaning my plate off into Kiki's bowl every night and expecting her to live off that. Ugh!, just the thought makes me want to yark. But, that is how may of us were raised.

As a kid I wanted to take those little kittens in side and put them to bed. I wanted my dog at the foot of my bed. Oh, that was so not aloud. Animals were meant to be outside! And that is how we lived.

Then we became adults. Yep, we tried to follow what we were taught. Until we saw those puppy dog eyes, looking inside that warm house. OK, its cold outside tonight, come on in, we relented. So started a revolution of how dogs went from living in dog houses owning our house.

Today we spend an insane amount of our budget each year making sure our pets are happy, healthy but most important making them feel like they are apart of our family. We go to the pet store, spending a half hour arguing over what food it the best to buy. it competing on which get priority, the dog or the mortgage. When Kiki first become a member of our family I know we spent over $100 in one month buying just toys. That was addiction that had to stop, or at least toned down.

Our cats, well they have their own habits we contend with and twist too. Today we feed our cats according to what they prefer. One point we had three cats. Each had their own preferred food. Zoe could not eat the preferred wet feed. It took us six months to figure out what food to feed her. Her favorite was tuna or salmon from the human packs. Samson likes the fishy wet food and TT came with her favorite food. Making a list for the pet sitter was like writing a book.

Gone are the cave men days of how we love our pets. We talk about them like they are our children. because in most cases our children are grown and gone. As we roll into our senior years we take the time to spoil and love our pets the same way we love our children. I guess since our kids are not around as much we have to spoil someone.

My daughter says, she wants to come back in her next life as one of our pets. So with that, I'm off to play with my dog. She's bored and I feel the need to entertain her. Maybe her entertainment is my!

If your getting a new pet this holiday, remember they don't come with instructions. Love is not enough and dogs don't come ready made perfect pets. They take energy, time training, loving and lots of money. If you don't have enough of any of the above, then wait a little longer. When you do have all of the above, you will make a great pet parent.