Pet Travel Troubles

Yesterday I flew from California to Mexico and things could not have been worse. Let me set the stage. I had two check on bags, a tote that felt like it weighed 20lbs and my furry baby Sam pictured above.

The first leg: I am blessed to have a friend I’ve nicknamed Florence *&^ ¬†Nightengale. She’s Johnny on the spot for friends in need. She took me to the airport and helped me to check in my luggage. We both realized quickly this would not be an easy trip for me having a flight layover, customs, immigration….egads. Sam and I go through security and as I unleashed her, she made a run for it. Luckily, there weren’t many people and I was able to catch her quickly. Security done, now we wait. The waiting went well with the exception of Sam being a child magnet and she can be snippy. So it’s a lot of “no, no, no” on my part. “No touching”. She succumbed to her carrier pretty easily and we boarded the plane. It was a tight squeeze under the seat, but I smooshed her in. And then realized the seat in front was broke and was at a permanent extended lounge position. Sam freaked as it smooshed her more. I tried to calm her, but the back of the chair was about 5 inches from my face. I could not reach her without leaning into the chair (and passenger) next to me to try to console her. She finally calmed down and then the babies started crying and screaming. This too set her off. Again I was unable to console her, but did my best. Thank goodness the passenger next to me was very sympathetic. Thank you passenger! The plane was completely full so trying to change seats would have been an even bigger challenge. So we had to suck it up. Then we sat for an hour before the plane even left! I was aware of every minute.

We make it off the plane, Sam a bit frantic. Next was immigration which we made it through easily. I then get my bags to go through customs. It was a bit stressful as I have to leave her on the floor in her carrier trying to find and grab my bags. One eye on the conveyer belt and one eye on her. I get a cart, load it up and proceed to the line. After waiting in the line for approximately 30 minutes, we reach the agent. She tells me I need to clear Sam in a different area. Ok, fine. I go to the “dog clearing” area. I’ve travelled with Sam a few times now and have never had an issue. Well, there’s always a first time. They would not clear her because the certification did not show she had been treated for fleas. What!!! I just Frontlined her two weeks ago, but this time they wanted to see it on the certification. The true panic sets in, not to mention the language barrier. I’m not a beginner Spanish speaker, ¬†but in times of stress a lot of my knowledge goes out the window. I’m a mess now thinking my dog is getting quarantined. What about my next flight… am I going to have to stay in Guadalajara??? After about 30 more minutes, a man tells me there is a vet that will come and take care of this and gave me his card. I contact the vet who will come….another 30 minutes. We go into a room, he does a ridiculous exam of 10 seconds and sprays her with what must have been a flea spray, fills out the paperwork, and we give it to the agent. She then approves Sam and send me back to the customs line. The vet is with me so I can pay him. We go through customs and of course, we get pulled to the side so they can go through my bags. At this point, a man tells us I will not make my connecting flight. I’m disappointed, but it’s one less stress I guess.

After customs, the vet and I go to the check in counter of the airline to recheck my bags. She tells me I can make my flight, but I need to go quickly and directly to the gate as they are boarding now. The vet concedes his pay, but on the way we see an ATM and we bolt toward it. I get the vet paid, and Sam and I sprint to the gate making the flight. Me sweating with stress and Sam clearly traumatized from being bounced around in a carrier for hours.

In the end, we made it home. Me with the knowledge that I will NEVER travel with Sam internationally if connecting flights are happening. And I will ALWAYS be sure the American vet includes flea info on the certification. As for Sam, I’m pretty sure she needs therapy now.