Kennels and Wing Nuts

It’s been an interesting, year-long process preparing our pets. As with everything, we approached the logistics about the move with their well-being front and center, and way ahead of our own.

To begin with the task of packing up the house. Our oldest dog, Nyx, has always been very nervous at the sight of a suitcase. All of our pets are rescues – cats and dogs – and went through some sort of trauma with abuse and/or abandonment. In that light it seemed important to make them part of everything, rather than hide it.

Which is why we decided to sort and pack gradually throughout the year. Our prep literally started by going through drawers and cabinets one by one, throwing things away and splitting out yard-sale items from the things to keep (for now). We did an initial sorting through clothes and books. The books we wanted were packed. This got the dogs and cats used to cardboard boxes around the house. They joined us as we worked and it wasn’t a big deal, although from her pleading looks and increasing fear, we suspect that Lillie knows what packing is.

We cleared two rooms of most furniture and stacked the yard-sale stuff in one room, while putting the boxes to be shipped in another.

As the months marched on, empty bookshelves were used to sort through more things, and two weeks before the advertised moving sale they had slowly filled with items for sale, ready for pricing.

We went through our clothes about four times to get a clear picture of what we needed to replace before departure. Good clothing is expensive in Europe and it made more sense to hit the sales in the States.

Throughout this very gradual process, the dogs have stayed calm.

We waited as long as possible to introduce the kennels into our home but the truth is that the acclimatization is crucial for one very important reason: they shouldn’t feel like a punishment. The cats have been using their carriers already. Sherpa pet carriers are Delta- (and other airlines) approved and they are very nice. We put them out as playthings, little holes to hide in.

Seven weeks before our departure, the medium and XL dog kennels arrived. Contrary to what we’d read, airlines may not sell them at all, let alone second-hand. Delta Cargo told us they are only available for sale in case people arrive at the airport without airline-approved kennels or with defective ones. We ended up buying ours on Amazon, but whether second-hand or new, shop around not just for the best deals, but the best fit for your pet and airline compliant, and make sure they’re in good order. Otherwise you’ll have to buy them twice.

plasticwingnutsA noteworthy detail: wing nuts! The kennels are two halves to be assembled, and are likely to be sold with plastic fasteners. Order aluminum screws and wing nuts right off the bat to avoid issues at the airport. A giant kennel may also require extra ventilation, so ensure it’s completely in compliance, and then drill enough air holes without compromising the integrity of the structure.

The new kennels will live among the dogs until the last one arrives. It’s a good initial step in getting them acquainted. When the giant kennel gets here they will be assembled in the bedroom, and hopefully, day by day, the pets will learn to trust it’s a safe place to sleep.

We have seven weeks …

Here I blow a bubble filled with trepidation. I hope we’ve given everything enough time.



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