Lift Off! Smooth skies with a little turbulence

I made it! I completed the 3 day globe-trot from sunny San Diego all the way to the breathtaking Mediterranean Sea. Right smack in the middle of the European, Asian and African continents. On the Island of Crete.

And I survived!

Don’t get me wrong, my 21 hour air travel was pretty damn easy. All I really need is music, bourbon and a pillow.

…and maybe a window seat.

Window Seat

What I survived was lugging two mini dachshunds by myself through 3 hair-pulling days of boarding 3 separate planes in addition to 3 crazy long layovers.

They say everything happens in 3’s.

Nonetheless, it was well worth it. These doxie’s are definitely the two most loving, happy and awesome pups around. I may be a little biased, in a motherly way. And they definitely act like prima donna’s when they want to… but I love them regardless. You would too, after meeting them!

Theodore the mini doxie
Theodore
Ringo the Mini Doxie
Ringo

Meet Theodore and Ringo.

These 6-year-old doxie’s are smart, loud, cheerful, and very loving. Theo is our teddy bear and Ringo is more or less a cat. He likes to be left alone most the time, whereas Theo’s all up in your grill.

It was a tough and long journey for these two, but they proved they were resilient throughout the entire time, all while keeping me great company.


The whole process of getting two dogs on one plane, let alone three, was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

Did you know there is such a thing as a Pet Passport?!

Well there is, and it consists of pages upon pages of documents verifying your pets excellent health, vaccinations, microchips, and pet-owner relationship – seriously. Which, of course, has to be filled out by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian in both English and the foreign language of the country you’re traveling to.

That’s not all…

Then you have to immediately mail the paperwork to the USDA with prepaid return postage so they can send the paperwork back to you in a timely manner. Hopefully it’s perfectly filled out, cause you don’t really get a second shot.

Everything – start to finish – has to be completed in less than 10 days prior to your travel date. One day late and you’re screwed. Thank God for expedited shipping! And for the lady who let me in the post office while I fought tooth-to-nail, literally prying my fingers through the halfway locked door 5 minutes after closing time.


TRAVEL DAY 1:

Move Abroad with Two Dogs

Leaving San Diego International Airport was fairly easy.

I’m carrying 30 pages of vital paperwork, my 2 dogs, their 2 crates, enough dog food to last a month, travel pop-out water bowl (these good-2-go bowls are SO cool!), lavender essential oil (you’ll see why), a travel pillow (which never seems to do the job they’re designed for), a toothbrush, a small duffel bag, my extra heavy suitcase (cause I’m an idiot), and 4 layers of clothing on my back.

My layover in Atlanta was nice since I was able to stretch my legs a bit (by a bit, I mean 5 hours); however, I have to say it got a little shady at one point. I mean, I almost had a full-blown panic attack…

Where’s the Xanax when ya need it?!

I’m not usually one to get into a panic attack at the airport, but when you travel alone with two breathing fur babies all the way to the other side of the world…well, let the games begin!

…Aaaand… This is where the lavender essential oil comes in (great calming effects). As well as the delicious ice-cold beer I had. And the glass of Makers.


I attempted to keep tabs on the boys in between flights, making sure they were well taken care of. I’m happy to say that every (well almost every) crew member reassured me they were alive and well and that we were all traveling to the same destination (wouldn’t that be disastrous!).

I’m pretty sure a picture of me has been emailed to every crew member warning them of the crazy dog lady, because Atlanta definitely got the memo.

After the first 7 hours of travel, we were finally boarding the last leg of domestic flights from Atlanta, Georgia to Norfolk, Virginia. It was here where I encountered a couple of “comedians”… to say the least. A horrible rendition of Dane Cook, and the original is bad enough as it is. Agree?

It was my fifth attempt asking the two flight attendants if Ringo and Theo had boarded; and alas, one turned towards the pilot asking if he knew the whereabouts of my dogs in a very sarcastic manner. They all stared at me and cocked a few jokes. 

“Oh,”

said the Pilot,

“In this tiny plane, everyone will know they boarded.
It will be a nightmare, it always is.
Are you sure you had to bring them?”

He smirked as he continued,

“Once they board, you’ll wish you got off. Thankfully its only a two-hour flight!”

Then the flight attendants immediately rushed me to my seat without any conformation that my two frightened pups had boarded.

woah…

BACK. THE. F. UP.

Seriously?! They blatantly said that?

Well, thanks Delta Airlines and bless your little hearts! You really made me feel comfortable and at ease knowing they are safe and sound. And after paying a pricey $550.00 one way ticket just for my dogs, you’d at least think the crew would try to pretend to be nice and make the customer feel comfortable.

These are breathing animals were talking about here – not a piece of torn up fake Louis Vuitton luggage that could mistakenly end up somewhere in Timbuktu!

Unfortunately – as much as I didn’t want to believe it – they were right about one thing. As soon as I shoved my carry on bag in the overhead bin, literally everyone on the plane could hear their howling. Poor little guys. You could even hear them after the engines turned on, until the plane was in the air.

The good news? Once we landed, I found them quickly in Baggage Claim – I know… baggage claim? Sounds so inhumane –  and scanned them thoroughly. There were no bruises, blood or wounds detected! Phew!

Ringo and Theo Landing in Norfolk

We spent the first evening in a hotel in Norfolk, VA.

After checking in and unloading our luggage, we went for a much-needed long evening walk around the city.

Norfolk, VA Streets

Norfolk, VA Streets

Norfolk seems to be a cool little spot.

It’s small and there wasn’t much open – but that’s probably because it was a Monday night. While walking around what seemed like a ghost town, we discovered some neat spots for dinner but quickly realized Norfolk is not very ‘dog friendly’. So we ended up walking back to the hotel and ordering room service,

which was unquestionably deserved…

Theodore the mini doxie and room service

then passed out like a boss.

Ringo and Theo pass out like a boss


TRAVEL DAY 2:

Since our next flight wasn’t boarding until 10:00 pm, we hung around the hotel while I made sure everything was in order.

I called the appropriate people I was told to contact early in the morning to make sure our two boys were confirmed on the flight.

And here we go again

The girl on the other end of the phone said I wasn’t going to be able to board my flight due to some technical miscommunication. She threw me for a loop for about 2 hours (2 hours of pure horrific hell) because here I am: sitting in Norfolk, 2 dogs, my cellphone service is going to be cut in 5 hours, and I can’t get ahold of Dan. If I don’t board this flight, I’m terribly screwed.

7 emails, 4 phone calls and 1 tissue box later,

everything was finally settled and all I had to do was wait around the next 10 hours to board the flight to Europe. The boys and I relaxed along the Elizabeth River until our cab picked us up. (Throughout this blog, you will find me referring to Ringo and Theodore as “the boys”)

Ringo and Theo along the Elizabeth RIver


TRAVEL DAY 3:

Travel day 3 didn’t really feel like a whole 16 hour day. It was just a bunch of mindless and numbness movement… boarding one plane to another… for me at least. Maybe not so much for the boys.

Norfolk terminal

From Virginia to Spain, Spain to Italy, and Italy to Greece… Man! What an experience! I still can’t believe I did it. But I did… and met a few friends along the way.

After 3 full days (including 21 hours of sleepless air travel) filled with many interesting – and some stressful – experiences along the way, all three of us finally stepped foot on Cretan soil at 12:00 midnight!

…and passed out like a boss, again.

Ringo and Theo the Mini Doxies