In any given year, about 40 million Americans move – as the Brits say, they “change houses.” (And “moving” is the #1 reason people give for why they are surrendering their pets to a shelter!)
The vast majority of people move within the same county (67%, or about 30 million people each year). These are generally moves of 50 miles or less. They rarely – if ever – involve plane travel. (Not that people always travel safely in their cars with their pets, but that’s a topic for another time!)
Another 10 million people move much farther distances – either within their state (in large states like California, Texas and Alaska, this can be almost a thousand miles!!), or between states.
In 2011, Karen Pascoe was one of those people. She moved from New York to California with her cats, Jack and Barry. And as everyone who follows this blog knows, the results were disastrous.
Karen’s move involved her flying from New York City to the Bay Area of California. Karen flew, and because Jack and Barry were large cats who wouldn’t fit under the seat – and because there were 2 of them – she flew them as “checked baggage.” Jack never even made it onto the plane due to the airline’s neglect – he became lost in JFK Airport. 61 days later he fell through the ceiling in the Customs & Border Patrol Office at JFK, and lived for 12 more days before the effects of malnutrition and the wounds from his fall became too much for him, and he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
And so our movement was born. We work to make sure what happened to Jack won’t happen again.
Of course, since then, we’ve heard many more tales of airline incompetence and neglect – some (like the recent case of Crystal Box and Boo-Boo) involved moving, though many did not. But now we know more — and we know that whether one is traveling with a pet because of a move or just for a vacation, our pets are definitely at risk when they fly.
So much has happened in the last 2 years — Karen adopted Milly shortly before Jack was found (Barry was so lonely after 2 months without his best buddy). Milly loved Barry so much!! But Barry was an older guy – and his health began to fail. Heartbreak – he too crossed the Bridge, reunited with his buddy Jack. But Milly was not designed to be an only child, so Karen adopted Essex. And now Milly and Essex live together in a state of mushy, sappy, sweet loving kindness!!
And Karen has been a rock star for the company that brought her to Cali. And now, that company is moving her back to the East Coast! Not back to NYC, but to New England.
THINK SHE’S FLYING???
Well, YES. Yes, she is flying.
But there’s a difference this time – UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL MILLY AND ESSEX LEAVE HER SIDE.
And not just her side, but my side as well.
Milly and Essex will be flying under the seats (as “carry-on luggage”) – but because each person is only allowed one “carry-on” bag, and because each bag can only contain one kitty, there needs to be two of us.
And so I will fly to Cali, then to Boston with Karen and the kitties, then back home. Because this is what it’s going to take to get Milly and Essex to their new home safely.
Karen’s already done excellent prep work: she immediately went to the DryFur website – which carries ONLY the highest quality pet travel equipment!! (And no – we don’t get anything for saying that. But we want you to know that reputable retailers who care about pets really do exist!!)
Karen purchased the TSA Fast Pass Leash & Collar so Milly & Essex can get through TSA screening safely (though of course each of us will also be requiring private screening). She also bought the Airline Soft Carriers and has been letting the kitties get used to them – they will travel safely and as comfortably as possible!!
Bottom line: moving with pets can be done, and it can be done SAFELY. A little preparation, careful thought, time & energy can make it happen. We know this!!
We want to share our experience with you – check into our Facebook page on Sunday and Monday (August 11 & 12). We’ll chronicle the journey and let you know if there are any glitches!!
Karen and TEN MILLION other people will do a long distance move this year. About 3.5 million of those will move with at least one pet.
Karen, Milly and Essex have this under control!!
And Where is Jack? Inc. is here to help the 3,499,999 others!!