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.