Friday, June 4, 2010

When Dogs Fly

Last weekend we went to Club Pet to arrange for Julie and Grace's passage to Asia. Below is a picture of Julie's crate, which Grace claimed for her own.


At 40 pounds, Julie is not a large dog, but she's all leg. She takes after her parents. I am eight inches taller than the average American woman--I've never met a desk or table I could befriend. I am fully prepared to hear the word matangkad (Tagalog for extremely tall) as I walk the streets of Manila, where the average Pilipina doesn't reach five feet. My husband is 6'3", but as a man he's just mataas (tall). We love our height, but we're dreading the 16 hour flight, and are glad that Julie will not suffer from lack of space.

Airline regulations state that a dog must be able to sit down without her head touching the top of the crate, and it's very important to properly measure your dog before you buy your crate. You can't go by the crate company's estimation of weight--Julie needs a crate sized for an 80 pound Labrador. 


I hope there's not much turbulence during her flight--they don't install seat belts in there. 

Although we will be spending extra money shipping our "tall dog," as people call her, our 12 pound shorty fits nicely into a cat crate (don't tell her that). Dachshunds were bred to feel comfortable in small places, so Grace will be ok. With the ability to stand up and turn around, they'll both have more room than we humans. 

Most airlines place an embargo on shipping pets as baggage when the departure and/or arrival destinations are warmer than 84 degrees fahrenheit, and since both DC and Manila will certainly be warmer than 84 degrees in July, the dogs will take a special route to Manila. KLM and Lufthansa ship animals in cargo holds that have the same climate control standards as the human passenger section, which eliminates the pet's risk of exposure to extreme heat or cold. Julie and Grace will fly from the US to Amsterdam, where they stop for a six hour layover in KLM's airport "pet hotel." They'll be fed and walked, their crates will be cleaned, and they'll be checked out by a vet before boarding a nonstop flight to Manila. 

Safely getting our dogs overseas has been the most worrisome aspect of our decision to join the Foreign Service, so I am glad to finally feel comfortable with their flight plan. We couldn't travel much farther than Southeast Asia and still be posted on Earth, so our first flight will likely be one of the hardest. After this, traveling to South America or Europe will feel like a jaunt.



Grace vetoed this option.


1 comment:

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