Friday, August 2, 2013
When I was planning for Lola's travel to NYC, I was had difficulty finding generous amounts of info or shared experiences on other dogs flying in cabin with their owner. I had tried Instagram hashtags, Google keywords, forums, etc., and I wasn't able to get much. I sincerely understand the nervousness one can have before traveling on a long haul flight with their dog. So now that I got through with it, I'm going to make it a point to share my experience in case anyone who gets put in the same shoes as me comes across and can get some perspective.
^ i got this bag for Lola at a pet store when she was just a puppy, it just came naturally to use it for the trip over. i didn't like the waist part, it was just dangling since i didn't use it, but i liked the 'hook' part at the top, that was how i held it most of the time. but the bag itself is spacious and has a lot of pockets. i believe it belongs to a brand called 'outward bound'.^
^ i ordered the sleepypod air as her in cabin carrier. lola is a extremely long dog and skinny too, so in terms of width, the carrier could fit two of her, but in terms of length, it was too small for her, she was butt was bulging out and her face was pressed against the mesh. but we had no choice. i went to petco the other day and saw that the sherpa might have been a better option. but we're over that for now. ^
^ From left to right:
a. emergency blanket- thank goodness we did not need to use this
b. first aid gauze- again, thankfully this was not needed
c. rescue remedy stress reliever for pets- this, we used quite a lot during the flights. i didn't think i would use it, but it was a REAL life saver. i gave it to her about every three hours. i got it in whole foods here in nyc during my trip in march. i highly recommend it. and it's made with natural ingredients as well.
d. lola's dry dog food- well, for such a long journey, she had to eat.
e. her favorite treats bag- almost gone by the time we arrived at our new home, absolute must as well. used it during take off and landing to distract her, it worked 95% of the time.
^ the thundershirt. i think it helped a little bit. i would still buy it again but i won't say it helped a whole ton. it worked at first but she later got too anxious and nervous i think i just ended up taking it off her. but get it anyway, every little bit helps.^
^ starting a couple weeks pre flight, i started letting her practice with the carrier but having her take short naps inside it. as you can see her head pops out as she's too long for it. but prepping her help a lot, when the time came, i wouldn't say she loved the carrier but she was more comfortable than 'freaked out'.
^ on the plane, it was too hectic and frustrating for me to pull out my phone or camera for a shot but while we were waiting for our flight in shanghai at the lounge, i popped her head out like that so that she's a bit more comfortable. i basically did that throughout the flight and hid her head under a blanket as they were very strict about having the carrier completely closed.^
all in all, Lola was a good sport during our trip. i still can't believe she held on to her bladder for basically 24 hours and was confined to a carrier too small for her. and for a dog that stays at home all the time, she did a good job going on a plane, etc. by the end of it, when we finally arrived in the city, we took a cab to our new home, she didn't even shake on the car anymore(she used to every single time on the car), she was so accustomed to traveling in different ways, a car was no big deal to her. i am SO incredibly proud of lola.
emotions time. this is hard for me to express. but i felt extreme guilt putting her through this. i felt so guilty for taking her away from family she loves so much, for traumatizing her with a long haul flight, bringing her to a small apartment, etc. we're working on it. until today, i sometimes still cannot believe we made it here.
so take heed other travelers with dogs in cabin, it's not easy at all, it's very tough actually, but if you put your buddy as the number one priority the whole trip and push through with it, its possible. i got about half an hour of sleep on my 14 hour flight. i sat there in that same awkward position for about 4 hours in a row each time with a 20 pound carrier + dog on my lap, my legs and back were numb and in pain, but lola was finally taking a nap, so, can't move. i could only scream silently and build a well in my eyes lids. want to kick back and watch a movie? forget it. i had the path map on my screen the whole time just staring at it counting down. time, passes so slowly when you're not having a good time. breakfast time? dog's finally taking a nap, skip the breakfast. but now, with lola here with me in the city, it's worth it. i sure hope i don't have to do it again, i'm just glad that sector is over. i'm not trying to discourage or scare anyone from my experience, i would still do it again(i so wish i don't have to), but just be prepared, you need to be very determined and strong through all this.
anyhow, this is not bringing back good vibes or memories, i do not need a walk down memory lane for this particular one. so i'm going to end it here, but if you need help, just talk to me, i'd be happy to help.
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