Walter became the newest member of our family back in late October. We had no idea that we would be moving to California at that time- had we known, we never would've agreed to getting him. It wasn't long before I was singing "what were we thinking when we got you" to Walter. We already had a dog and never had we discussed adding a second pet. Steve says he agreed to getting Walter because he was in too much pain at the time (due to severe headaches that were caused by a bulging disc); but nevertheless, he did agree and even said, "I think you need a puppy". And what a cute puppy I got!
It had been almost 13 years since our aging Kramer was a puppy, but I don't remember Kramer ever being as much trouble or as demanding as Walter. Our oldest daughter, Allison, encouraged us to sign Walter up for some dog training which we did, but we had to wait till after Thanksgiving because we thought we'd have more time. But as you know- by that time, we were very busy preparing for our move.
Walter attended the first training session. The next session was cancelled due to Christmas and the following session was his last group session. Two days later at Walter's private session, I'm begging the trainer to cram the next 5 sessions into a special "I don't have time for this, just give me the instructions on how to train a dog" training session. 30 minutes later Walter had received an honorary graduation diploma and I had received lots of papers about how to train a dog. And believe me, it was an honorary diploma alright- I couldn't even get him to sit to have his picture taken (which was the first trick he supposedly learned).
Just a warning for anyone wanting to fly with a dog- it's a very expensive and detailed process. Each airline has its own guidelines that have to be followed step by step.
- Your pet must travel in an airline approved crate large enough to allow your pet to stand, sit, and turn around without touching his head. Have you seen what long legs Walter has? The crate we bought was one step down from the largest (which he will need if he flies back when we return, but we will more than likely drive back). We were afraid the largest crate would eat up a lot of our precious 700 sq ft in our apartment. $$$
- Attached to the crate must be containers for food and water $$
- A visit to the veterinarian within ten days of your pet's departure $$$
- A health certificate $$
- A label on the outside of the crate with your pet's name, your name and contact number (free)
|Walter checking out the bottom half of his new crate|
The day of our departure felt like scenes I've watched from The Amazing Race- in fact, the whole week before felt like it. My friend, Lisa, kindly took us to the Orlando airport and we arrived 2 1/2 hours before our flight departed. Plenty of time, right? That's what we thought, so we got our tickets and went to the cell phone lot in order for Walter to use the bathroom one more time and I could administer his prescribed mild sedation. (I had given him a trial dose the previous day just to make sure he had no side effects.) We then said our good-byes to Lisa and began the lengthy process of checking Walter in. I wish I had pictures of him being checked out by the airport security guy. Steve and I made it to our gate within minutes of boarding.
WELCOME TO LOS ANGELES!
Knowing that Walter was riding in the cargo area wasn't easy on me as I slowly watched the outside air temperature drop to -45 degrees. I kept telling myself that airlines transport dogs every day and that he would be fine. But when we had to wait about an hour for Walter to arrive at the special baggage claim- that about did me in. I was quite relieved to see him again!
And that song I used to sing . . . well now it goes,
"I'm so happy that we got you!" I'm very thankful to have Walter to keep me company while Steve is away at work. I can't imagine being here without either of them.