Well the papers finally came and we loaded up the moving truck. I had been a good girl and had made The List for Customs. We were not importing a vehicle.
What to do about the pets? Unfortunately Susie the Demented Doglet associated the car with a trip to the Vet and therefore with needles and things. I decided that I should try to get her used to the idea of travel. First we got her used to the pet carrier in the house. That seemed to go OK really. So then I tried her in the pet carrier, in the car. Disaster. She whined, she whimpered, she cried, I think she probably composed letters to her congressman complaining about cruelty to animals. And then she threw up.
I gave the problem some thought and decided to let her just sit in the car but not in the carrier. I mean, you see dogs all the time in pick-up trucks or cars and they all seem to love it. Tongues flapping in the wind, big grins on their faces, just like the average man watching the Laker Girls at the game.
I put Susie in the car and toyed with the idea of trying to secure her with the seatbelt. Made a mental note to investigate doggy seatbelt attachments and we set off. Susie stood with her front paws on the dashboard as I started the engine. She looked OK. Tongue hanging out, panting, picture of a happy dog in a car. Then I started to pull forward and she threw me a glance and yelped. As I pulled out of the driveway the glances got more pronounced and the whimpers were obviously saying 'Good God woman!!!! Do you know how fast you're going??' Then she crawled under the front seat and threw up. I decided that I would investigate tranquilizers.
Through trial and error I discovered tranquilizers work very well indeed as long as you remember one basic rule. You take them so you can't hear the dog whimper, because they appear to have no effect whatsoever on the dog.
During the months of waiting for our medicals to be approved and forwarded to our case file I practiced taking Susie out in the car and in all those months it never got any better.
Then I realised we had another problem. In the beginning we had anticipated one of us driving the rental truck with the furniture and the other driving our car into Canada. However, we discovered that our car did not meet Transport Canada's requirements and after much investigation we chose to sell that car to our son and to buy a new one after we landed in Canada. So that meant we were all going north in the truck. As it turned out we had to make our move during the coldest month of one of the coldest winters on record. I realised I couldn"t possibly put the pets in their carriers in the back of the unheated truck and there was no room up the front for me, Alan, our 11 year old son Elliot and both pet carriers. The animals would have to be 'loose' up there with us. In the end it worked out OK but you might want to take all this into account and maybe pay to have the pets flown into Canada even if you travel by road.
Church the Cat was a different kettle of fish.....as it were. She had no real problem with vehicles..... she tended to yowl a bit for the first few minutes but then she was a yowly cat anyway.
We did get her some tranquillisers too but, like SusieDog, they appeared to have no effect. My greater worry with Church was possibly losing her along the way.
I was faced with the problem of .... er ........exercise and the like. The dog would be no problem, she didn't care where she pooped and peed - unfortunately - but the cat was really rather picky about that and quite private. I was really worried that we would open the truck door at some rest stop and never see her again.
I finally came up with a solution of sorts. I bought one of those harness things you see on little yappy dog carried by ladies of a certain type. Our harness was bright pink. Then I got the longest extendible leash I could find and attached that. Then we put the whole thing on the cat.
Church was not terrible impressed but after some sniffing and nudging she settled down with the harness ok. The problems came at the rest stops. You can feel very very silly indeed 'walking' a cat who is wearing a bright pink harness on a 20 foot leash and trying to pretend that you are not looking to see if she is 'doing her business'. I am not sure that she ever did 'perform' but I can't believe she held it all the way to Winnipeg.....which can really set you wondering about what might still be behind the seat of the rental truck......
Incidentally, Church was so named because our eldest son is a Stephen King fan....and no I do not want to know the details..I haven't seen the film or read the book. SusieDog was so named because she was just so cute as a puppy for some reason the name Susie jumped into my mind (a brave jump for any thought).....My sister Susie has yet to forgive me for naming a dog after her......
There are a few things to know about driving a moving truck if you haven't experienced this before. First, they are very very noisy. Second they go through gasoline like there's no tomorrow. Third, do not attempt to eat or drink anything while driving......you end up wearing most of it....they are very bumpy.
After six and a half hours of solid driving...not counting the time spent attempting to relieve the animals.....we decided to stop for the night. We found a hotel but they did not allow pets in the room so we fed and watered both animals and locked them in the cab of the U-Haul. At 11.45 p.m. the desk manager called us to say that the lights had just come on in the truck. Alan dressed and went to investigate. Sure enough Susie was standing on the seat, staring out the window and wagging tail like mad. She had turned on the lights. Alan got her settled down again and early the next morning we set off again.
Go to Chapter Seven