Took the dogs to Dubai Kennels & Cattery (the animal freight peeps) yesterday to be measured for their custom-made travel boxes. We knew it would be tricky, they always freak out around strangers, especially if they think someone is going to hurt them. And some random guy with a tape measure in his hand was always going to be a problem.
It was about 45 degrees and 80% humidity, and we had to squash them all into this tiny rental car (don't ask) with rubbish aircon, only to find half the roads around the kennels were being dug up and we had to go miles out of our way to even get into the place.
Anyway, we finally got there and Andrew, the guy who has the supreme misfortune to be dealing with our case, was ready for us and took us and the dogs into the office to complete the preliminary paperwork. We knew an office full of people would bother the dogs and we were right. They barked at everyone, and Roxy, who is scared of men, was a bit nippy around Andrew. This went on for quite a while. They'd settle for a bit, but then someone would walk past, and they'd leap up and bark again.
To their credit most of the staff were very good and handled themselves with aplomb, but one idiot woman pointed at Bertie as soon as we walked in and shrieked: "Oh look, she hasn't got a tail." What an idiot. First of all, Bertie is a boy, doh, and second of all, it's true, he doesn't have a tail and we have no idea why not, he's a rescue dog, but did she have to point and yell like that?
A bit later, the same halfwit said something about how she wasn't going to come anywhere near our dogs as "once bitten twice shy". As if that wasn't offensive enough, she repeated it a bit later. Well none of our dogs has ever bitten anyone, they were just scared and behaving skittishly. She treated it as some sort of joke but we just thought she was a total MORON who would have done better to keep her mouth shut.
Measuring the dogs was tricky, as we knew it would be. We muzzled Roxy to be on the safe side and she was fine, if a little scared. Bertie did not need the muzzle but was also scared and kept backing into me. Daisy we muzzled just as a precaution and she was also fine, although terrified. It was difficult to get the actual measurements because the dogs were scared and hunched over a bit.
Anyway, onto Louis who was always going to be the worst one. I asked if it could be done outside as I knew he'd be marginally better with some distractions and without a bunch of office people staring at him. He did freak out and got snappy when the tape measure was near his head, but all things considered it went reasonably well.
The whole project took about 90 minutes, and was exhausting for everyone, especially in that heat. The boxes will be ready in about a week, at which time we'll get them delivered so the dogs can start to get used to them.
We also got two additional cat boxes for Spencer and Finlay, and have got 'snug rugs' (special snuggly, absorbent fluffy stuff) for all six cat boxes so that the cats can start sleeping on it now, get used to it and cover it in their scent.
And so the first step is all done. Huge sighs of relief all round.