For my 35th birthday, Emily surprised me by showing up in a rented passenger van full of our best friends. She drove us all up the freeway to the amusement park Magic Mountain for a day of roller coasters and thrill rides. Now, if you know Emily, you know how much she hates driving, so hauling a big 12 passenger van up the I-5 during morning rush hour was pretty remarkable – 6 months pregnant. But even more remarkable were the t-shirts she had made for the occasion, which everyone wore the entire day – a screen printed silhouette of a picture of me at 17, naked behind an electric guitar, smirking carelessly into the distance.
It wasn’t until I stumbled off the first roller coaster that I realized how ironic the shirt actually was. That care-free 17-year-old on my chest would have yeeehawww’ed his way back into line for the next go-round, he would have scream-laughed through every death-defying, tummy-twirling ride until the park closed. 35-year-old me however, needed a long sit-down and a Dramamine suppository. Being bashed and sloshed and zipped around at high G-forces was something that my younger body loved, but now, middle-aged and out of shape, it felt like a torture chamber, like Magic Mountain was interrogating me in a black site about future terrorist plots I had no knowledge of. I wanted to barf and sob. I did my best to avoid going on any more rides that day, but was my b-day so I had to suck it up and enjoy the rest of the day with everyone. And with every ride I understood more and more the plight of kids who get stuck in tires as they roll down hills. It was my, like, least favorite feeling. Ever.
And I think that’s how my poor dog Oscar feels about any moving vehicle. So I’m writing for some help. Dog owners, where ya at?
We have to move our pups up to Portland in a couple of weeks and we’re stressing about which way is the best way to do it.
A little about the doggies – they’re one-and-a-half-year-old rescues who have some skittishness issues already, don’t trust many strangers, and are very co-dependent. Buttercup fares pretty well in a car, has never puked or whined, and she just lays down in the back or tries to come upfront with us. Oscar on the other hand, despises anything that moves, even anything in the vicinity of anything that moves. Like, he stops dead in his tracks when we get near the upper-upper steps of a dock, even when the boat is still fifty yards away. In a car, it’s like trying to wrangle a wild boar into a steam shower, and when you finally get him in, it’s like someone has opened a spigot of drool in the poor guy’s mouth, then he shivers and pukes the whole time the car is in motion. It’s so, so sad.
We basically only have two ways to get these fuzzballs up north with us – by car or on the plane. And I’d love to hear your advice. You’ve heard what happens in a car, I can only imagine what will happen on a plane. And we can’t register him as a support dog. At least as far as I can learn online.
I know that back in the old days, people used to fly with dogs packed under the plane no problem. This was back before every dog owner claimed them as “support animals” and were allowed to bring them on board the plane. But we have to take Alaska Airlines and they have really cracked down on what is permissible for a support animal and we definitely don’t have the official paperwork for that.
So. It’s either in a crate underneath the plane, which is about a two and a half hour flight (plus the hour-long drive to the airport, the hour-long check-in, and the half-hour drive from the airport home) or a three-day car trip, which would include two stops overnight on the way.
We’re visiting our vet on Friday to get some advice and anti-anxiety drugs, but I know there are a lot of dog people here on this site and figured I’d ask y’all if you had any experience with traveling with dogs and know the best/most humane way to do it.
Any advice is welcome, I really don’t want my poor little guy to feel like I did after getting off The Riddler’s Revenge. I want him to feel like he’s in high school about to shred a wicked solo on a knock-off Fender. Naked.