There is SO MUCH to tell you about our move! I’m going to do it in chunks, to devote sufficient time to every exciting detail.
Tui the Wonder Dog is heading to New Zealand a week ahead of us. It won’t surprise you to learn that flying a dog across the world is a mission (and hellishly expensive), but given that the alternative would be an epic road trip through several continents, we’ve all had to get on with it.
I’d always assumed (as much as I’d ever thimk about these things) that pets would be sedated before flying, but it turns out that this isn’t the case: sedation lowers one’s blood pressure, as does flying, so the combined effects are too dangerous and no pet is allowed to fly if it looks to be a bit doped and woozy. Instead, the Wonder Dog will travel in her own personal crate, built to give her just enough space to stand up, lie down and turn around. She’ll travel in a special part of the hold that is temperature-controlled and will be very dark – apparently, most dogs sleep for the entire journey. Is it just me, or does this sound like a pretty awesome way to travel? I wish I could fly home in my own custom-built bedroom. I suspect that it will be more comfortable than folding my lanky frame into an economy-class seat for two back-to-back 12 hour flights.
The only grim thing is that Tui will be sealed into her crate at Heathrow and won’t be allowed out again until she gets to Wellington, some 30 hours later. I was slightly concerned about this and asked about bathroom arrangements, having assumed that Tui would be allowed out for a scamper around at the halfway mark. But no! The dog shipping company suggested that we don’t feed her for 24 hours before the journey and take her for a decent walk beforehand, to let her do her business. She will have water on the trip, so she won’t be a shrivelled-up little puppy when she arrives.
To prepare for the journey we’ve needed to sort out medical records and blood tests. Thankfully, dogs travelling from the UK to NZ don’t have to spend any time in quarantine at the moment, but she will need to be under house arrest and avoid other dogs for the first month. My parents are going to pick her up from Wellington and take care of her until I arrive, a week later.
One of the hardest things we’ve had to do is tell Tui’s lovely dog sitter, Tina, that we were leaving. Lovely people, poor Tina was devastated. She has two dogs of her own, but she and her husband really love Tui. She’s had her for three days this week, just to soften the blow of parting, and she’s bought her a blinging new collar. Check it out:
Our taste in dog fashion is a lot more sober, but Tina decided to throw away Tui’s collar after buying this one… Tristan’s going to buy her something slightly more ‘everyday’ this morning, and this glam number can be kept for special occasions.
So, Tui is spending her last day as a UK dog today. She will be taken to Heathrow tomorrow afternoon and I will be a nervous wreck until I know that she’s made it to Wellington in one piece. I’ve written my mother an extensive Tui the Wonder Dog operations manual. We’re all set.