Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We are in Florida and Bought the Van

First, when we landed in Tampa Bay, Zooey was desperate to get out of the carrier so I held her as we walked through the airport. She was definitely stressed, shaking and panting. I felt bad for her. Seymour stayed in the carrier and just chilled. Once we got outside to the really awful pet area, they both walked around and she started calming down.

Steve and his wife picked me up in the Roadtrek and it looks good - on a scale from fair to excellent. It is old. I was hearing some grinds and feeling it sway when we were just stopped at a light. It needs work. But Steve and his wife were very nice and helpful. He drove me to get pet food and to get something to eat and he will be back in the morning with the paperwork signed by the sellers and then take me to the Dept of Motor Vehicles to get a temporary license plate.

The van is not as good as I had hoped but I will be able to tell more when I drive it. I do think I will stop to get the shocks and possibly anti sway bar repaired. I called my son and he gave me some good ideas on what could be wrong. He did say something positive "At least it sounds like the engine and transmission are good".

The dogs, in the mean time sniffed their way around the van but went back into the crate for most of the ride. We are now at the LaQuinta Inn in Clearwater and the dogs are sleeping beside me. I like that they allowed up to 2 dogs and don't charge any extra, but will charge if the dogs cause any damage. Fair enough.

More tomorrow.

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The dogs and I are on the plane and we should be landing in 30 minutes. I was pretty nervous since neither seemed to like the crate. But changing out the bottom, including the egg crate type pad with a softer one seemed to do the trick.

My daughter dropped me off at the airport and waited to make sure I could get both dogs on the plane. I did.

I had to pay for their reservation and then we easily went through security. I carried Seymour and Zooey and they only needed to test my hands, not do a full search when I went through with the dogs. Because I had dogs, I got a pre- boarding card so I am in the 3rd row. Luckily the flight wasn't filled so I put them under the middle seat while I sat on the isle. The crate sticks out a bit but no enough to be a safety problem, I guess. The dogs have been quiet the whole flight and have taken turns coming to the front of the crate to lay down. I was glad to see that because that meant they are still breathing. And yes, I am a bit of a worrier.

It is hard to see, but here is the crate under the middle seat. You can kinda see Zooey's white fur.

I would gladly fly with my two dogs again on Southwest. The price was reasonable at $75 a crate and it has been an easy experience.

Now we are hoping the purchasing of the camper is just as easy!

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Location:On Our Way - Thanks Southwest!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pet Carrier for our Airplane Trip

After much research, I found the SturdiBag Flexible Height Pet Carrier. I got size large which is the biggest size I could get for it to fit under the seat. It is 18" x 12" x 12" tall and is for dogs up to 25 pounds. My 2 dogs together weigh just over 12 pounds.

It comes with 2 rods that have to be inserted into the inside top of the carrier so that when you squish the carrier under the seat, it doesn't totally collapse. Those buggers weren't easy to insert! I thought I was going to break them as I bent them to fit, but I finally got them in. I sure hope I don't have to take them out for a long time. Below are the parts it comes with - carrier, hard foam core, a pad, the 2 rods and a tether. So far the dogs haven't been too thrilled being in this carrier and we have less than 2 days before we leave. I am thinking that the foam core might be the problem. I am going to see if I can remove it and possibly put 2 pads and a pee pad in the bottom, instead. We'll try that tomorrow.

If I can't get them both inside the carrier where they won't look like 2 sausages, one will unfortunately have to stay home. I am hoping for the best.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

First Planned Airline Trip With Seymour and Zooey

Our next adventure is starting sooner than I expected. I sold my camper van and purchased a new (old) one last week. I was in the "thinking about it" phase and the next thing I knew, it was done. The new van is in Florida and I am in Texas so I had to figure out a way to get it, within the next week.

I read Southwest's pet policy again and found that not only can 2 dogs fly in the same under seat crate, but it costs only $75 for each crate, not each dog!
Both dogs just had their annual check ups and immunizations, so they are good to go. The other good news is that Southwest also allows another carry on or personal item, so I can actually bring a suitcase. I scheduled my flight and then called to reserve a pet space for the dogs. Now I need to find a pet carrier that both dogs will fit in!

See Southwest's policy below.

Pet Policy
Traveling With Pets: General Information
Southwest Airlines accepts small vaccinated domestic cats and dogs. All in-cabin pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier, as indicated below and are subject to a $75 pet fare each way per pet carrier. The pet carrier counts as either a carryon item or a personal item.

Reservations for small cats and dogs can only be booked by calling Southwest Airlines at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). Pets will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached. The pet fare must be collected at the ticket counter, is nonrefundable, and may not be applied toward future-date travel if unused. Customers traveling with a cat or dog must check the pet in at the airport ticket counter and pay the pet fare before going to the departure gate. Customers can still secure their boarding pass online, at curbside checkin, the airport kiosk, or the ticket counter.

We maintain the right to refuse acceptance of a cat or dog exhibiting aggressive behavior or any other characteristics that appear incompatible with air travel.


Southwest Airlines does not accept pets (cats or dogs) traveling without a Customer.
Pets are not permitted to travel with Unaccompanied Minors.
Note: These requirements do not apply to assistance animals or emotional support animals accompanying a person with a disability.
More Information

Note: When passing through security, Customers will be asked to hold the pet and walk through the screening device while the carrier is x-rayed.

All pet carriers are subject to being searched by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), other airport security authorities, as well as searches by airline personnel.

Shared itineraries, or AirTran-only itineraries booked through Southwest channels, cannot be purchased for Pets. Learn More

In-cabin Pet Kennels:
Get your official Southwest Airlines branded pet carrier for $48 (tax included) at any Southwest Airport Ticket Counter or online (tax not included) at The Freedom Shop (not an affiliate of Southwest Airlines Co.). Pet carriers are nonrefundable.

Soft-sided and hard-sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable. The carriers must be leak-proof and well ventilated. The pet carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of the Customer and be stowed in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

Southwest Airlines allows only one pet carrier per ticketed Passenger.
The carrier may contain two (2) cats or dogs and must be of the same species per carrier.
The cat or dog must be completely inside the pet carrier and be able to stand up and move around the carrier with ease.
Pets must be secured in the pet carrier at all times while in the gate area, during boarding/deplaning, and they must remain in the carrier for the entire duration of the flight. Failure to follow this requirement may result in denial of transportation of the pet onboard Southwest Airlines.
The under-seat dimensions are as follows:
Window Seat: 19"L x 14"W x 8.25"H
Middle Seat: 19"L x 19"W x 8.25"H
Aisle Seat: 19"L x 14"W x 8.25"H
However, please keep in mind that some seats may be slightly smaller in width.

Please note: Pet carriers are considered either a personal item or a carryon item. A Customer may board the aircraft with either a pet carrier and a personal item or a pet carrier and a regular size carryon bag. A Customer may not board the aircraft with a pet carrier, a regular size carryon bag, and a personal item. The pet carrier must conform to all carryon baggage regulations.

In-cabin Pet Restrictions:
Customers traveling with a pet may not occupy an exit seat or a seat with no forward under-seat stowage.
Southwest Airlines will only carry pets in the cabin; pet carriers are not permitted as checked baggage.
Advanced pet arrangements must be made by contacting a Southwest Airlines Customer Representative at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).
There will be no more than five (5) scheduled pet carriers per scheduled flight. However, from time to time, circumstances may allow for more (or fewer) than five (5) pet carriers per scheduled flight.
Cats and dogs must be at least eight (8) weeks old for travel.
The animals must be harmless, not disruptive, odorless, and require no attention during flight.
Cats and dogs must remain in the carrier (including head and tail) and the carrier must be stowed under the seat in front of the Customer (owner) for the entire duration of the flight.
Southwest Airlines will not be responsible if a Customer misses a flight due to the need to take the cat or dog to an outside relief area. Flight departures will not be delayed or held in order for connecting Customers to take a pet to an animal relief area.
If the pet becomes ill during the flight, oxygen or other first aid procedures will not be administered.
In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask may not be available for the cat or dog.
Southwest Airlines assumes no liability for the health or wellbeing of carryon pets.
Southwest Airlines will not accept pet remains in the cabin of the aircraft.
*The Freedom Shop is not an affiliate of Southwest Airlines Co.
**Pet carriers are nonrefundable.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Austin Water Bikes - Pet Friendly!

My friend and I went on a water bike for the first time on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. The company is called Austin Water Bikes and I was delighted to see that they allowed dogs on the water bike with you. The bigger dogs would be best suited for this experience since they can balance on the pontoons. My little dogs would be in a carrier on my chest, but still, they could come if they wanted.

Here is a picture of me and my friend on the bikes. You can see how much room is on the pontoons and connecting stand. Also, it's not like you are speeding around on the water. You pedal as if on an upright bike and it makes the little propeller turn, slowly. It's a nice and easy experience for people of all ages - and their dogs! We had a blast.

In case anyone is in Austin, they are located behind the Hyatt and next to the Riverboat. It is also close to a leash free park. Their number is 512-200-6555

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Monday, April 1, 2013

New Website Glitch, Airline Travel and Fostering Dogs

Well, so much for an easier website to use. I understand that people can't find it. So, we are back to this one for now. Since I haven't been blogging much, I wanted to cover a few topics. We have been at home for the last few month but are planning a few trips soon. I have been trying to figure out how I could travel with Seymour and Zooey on a plane. I haven't found any airlines that fly overseas that allows more than one pet in an under seat carry on. But I did find that Southwest Airlines allows 2 pets in one carrier if they fit in the right sized carrier and weigh less than 25 pounds total. I really can't see how even one 25 pound dog could fit in the size allowed, but maybe if they are small and muscular! Anyway, both of my dogs total approximately 12 pounds. I have a number of carriers that I am going to try out for size and fit. They have to be able to stand up and turn around in it. Also, the cost of traveling with a bet in the cabin is $75 per pet, each way. This is good compared to our overseas trip 2 years ago. We paid $150 going to Italy and $200 coming home. I'm not sure why there was a difference but since I wanted Seymour to come home with me, I paid. So the Southwest charge sounds reasonable. I can't think of anywhere I want to fly in the USA at this point, but it is good information. Our next trip will be either by car or camper. Fostering - I recently went to an animal shelter with my daughter. She was turning in her application to foster kittens so I wandered around the place, looking at dogs. It is not a good idea to look at dogs that need homes. But I heard myself back from scooping up another little one. I was drawn to a chihuahua mix that was the skinniest dog I have ever seen in person. You could see all of his bones, including his hip bones. I held him and he was calm. I asked about fostering him and they told me to fill out an application. I went home and started filling out the application with that dog on my mind. I called an hour later to be sure that dog was available for fostering. I just wanted to put a little meat on those bones and I felt that my dogs would do ok with him. I was told, by a different person that they don't foster little dogs and that this particular dog would probably be adopted quickly. This shelter only fosters puppies and big dogs. So, I wasn't able to take that sweet dog home and puppies or big dogs wouldn't work in our home. But I think that even if you don't want more dogs, or any permanent dogs or cats, looking into fostering might be the ticket.