Friday, July 31, 2009

Breakfast in the boxes

We're stepping it up a bit today, so breakfast was served in the dogs' travel boxes. Bertie and Daisy were very happy about it, while Louis and Roxy would take a piece of meat out of the bowl and take it away to eat elsewhere. Didn't stop them going back for more though. They will LOVE those boxes by the time we're done with them!

Roxy even managed to get over her initial trepidation to sneak into Daisy's box to see if there was anything left. She cleaned up after Louis too. So considerate of her. If there's food involved, Roxy is always right there, first in line.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Progress Report

Daisy - after three days she's already lying down in the travel box with the door shut.
Bertie - goes all the way then backs all the way out again immediately.
Roxy - still tentative but now putting her nose halfway in and one paw in.
Louis - goes all the way in happily but was VERY unhappy when we tried shutting the door.

All in all, good progress for just three training sessions!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Daisy makes progress

Day One of training the dogs to use their travel boxes. Daisy and Bertie managed to go right in to get a treat, but Roxy and Louis only just managed to put their nose in, grab the treat and rapidly retreat. We've got one month to do this. Should be fine!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

At least the cats are happy

Spencer seems to like his travel box, even though he's a stray street cat who's never been confined in his life!

Step two

The dogs' travel boxes were delivered this afternoon. They look solid, and pretty cosy too with those red snug rugs. No one has ventured inside yet (except the humans to test them out!) but Bertie did carry out a brief inspection. He was unimpressed. 18 hours in one of those? You've got to be kidding!

Spanner in the works

Louis has had bad teeth ever since we got him out of the shelter two and a half years ago and his upper right canine finally gave up the ghost yesterday and snapped right off, having rotted right through. Hmmm, another visit to the vet with Louis was really just what we didn't need after his little performance two weeks ago for the vaccinations!

But anyway, off we went this morning and it went so much better than expected. Relief all round. We decided not to muzzle him as that totally freaks him out, and he did stay a lot calmer, even walked into the vet's with us, which he does not normally do. With a little firm but gentle handling and our highly skilled vet Malcolm (yay!) we got the pre-med done very quickly, then we just sat with him on the floor to keep him calm, till he passed out. Half an hour later he was anaesthetised, carried onto the table, the rotten tooth removed by Sara and the other teeth cleaned. No worries at all. He was back home by lunchtime, a bit nervous and shaky (and a bit cranky it must be said) but mainly tired and hungry. Hope we can find vets in LA who are as good as these guys. Oh, and here's the tooth (or rather, the root and a bit of rotten tooth)!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Step one completed

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.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Panic sets in

Am freaking out somewhat because a friend of a friend whose dog travelled with them on a flight to Munich a few days ago was discovered dead on arrival. Other animals who travelled on the same flight arrived okay though. How absolutely terrible.

The dog was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, 6 y/o, healthy but a bit overweight and stressed from the move apparently. His owners were made redundant, and had to leave in a big rush. So utterly awful for them.

Of our lot, Loulou's 'elderly', Louis's a nervous wreck, Jeffrey's a bit sniffly, Curtis, Spencer and Finlay loathe confinement in any way, particularly in a cat box... The list goes on and on. On the other hand, Alison took her seven dogs from Dubai to New York with no major issues, and we sent four rescues from here to New York earlier this year and they all arrived in good spirits. At the end of the day, there's nothing else we can do except keep the Barmy Army as stress-free as possible leading up to the travel date, then put them on the plane and hope for the best.

"Bracycephalic breed dogs should get approval from a vet before travelling. These breeds are especially prone to heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to stress or extreme temperatures, more so than any other dogs."

This includes Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which this guy was. Wonder if it had anything to do with it? So sad.